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The Low Carb Fallacy
I know many people who swear by this fad diet commonly known at the Atkins Diet. I know people that have lost weight going on this diet as well, and all those people stopped loosing weight after a few months where weigh loss plateaued and you can even begin to gain weight back. The fundamental problem with this low carb diet, is that it is not nutritious. When people want to loose weight, I really don’t think they need to get on some kind of diet. I just think they need to eat nutritiously. EAT TO LIVE.
The low carb diet consists mostly of eating animal products, and staying away from carbohydrates such as fruits, breads, and starchy vegetables. If anybody gets anything from this post, I think it should be:
Carbohydrates are not the enemy.
They are simply part of the 3 essential nutrients we need: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbs are a source of energy, fiber, and contain many vitamins and minerals. The enemy is always calories. Loosing weight boils down to simple math. If you consume more calories then you burn, the body stores that as fat. When considering a low carb diet, understand that animal products are primarily high in proteins and fats. So you will be consuming more fat in your diet then a typical balanced diet.
Fats have more then twice the amount of calories per gram then protein and carbs. These diets are also higher in saturated fat, cholesterol and exceed the amount of protein that is recommended. Dr. Campbell in his 30 year study on diet and the effects of animal based food( The China Study), found that the amount of dietary fat consumed is associated with the incidence of breast cancer, large bowel cancer, and heart disease. Three of the biggest killers in the west. Eating an all animal product diet will dramatically raise your cholesterol levels. In rural China their cholesterol levels (127) are about 100 points lower then the average Americans (215), so consider the statistic that Americans men are 17 times more likely to get heart disease then rural Chinese men, and the death rate from breast cancer is 5 times more likely. Dr. Campbell also found that animals given a higher percentage of casein (protein from animal products) in their diet begin to form cancer cells, but when switched to lower doses of casein their cancer cells resided. All of these factors points towards one having an unhealthy body in an animal based, low carb diet.
“In another study: The 1997 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, entitled Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer, concluded that, based on available evidence, diets high in red meat are probable contributors to colon cancer risk. Studies of large populations published in subsequent years arrived at similar conclusions,” (AtkinsDietAlert).
Dietary fiber is found exclusively in plant based foods. “So what,” you ask? There are a myriad of benefits in a high fiber diet. When considering a diet, and trying to consume less calories, eating foods high in fiber will help you win the fight against overeating. Foods high in fiber keep you full longer, by slowing the process of food leaving the stomach. Fiber also collects carcinogens that make their way into our body and carry them out the intestines. High fiber diets are associated with lower rates of cancer and lower levels of cholesterol.
“The body eliminates cholesterol through the excretion of bile acids. Water-soluble fiber binds bile acids, suggesting that a high-fiber diet may result in an increased excretion of cholesterol. Some types of fiber, however, appear to have a greater effect than others. The fiber found in rolled oats is more effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels than the fiber found in wheat. Pectin has a similar effect in that it, too, can lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood.” (Colorado State)
Fruits, Vegetables, & Whole Grains
Fruits and Vegetables are low in fat, and calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, and water to keep you full. Try to have at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day for adequate fiber intake. When you are eating large amounts lots of red meat you are increasing your fat intake cholesterol intake, and doubling your caloric intake. None of these things are good for your health. When eating an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables, you increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and go ol’ H2O Neither are these pose any real threats when consumed in high amounts. In fact, referring back to the rural Chinese peope, whose diet consists of a high fiber, low protein diet, their risk of disease is significantly lower then in the western diet. If you are looking to loose weight I would avoid a low carb diet, which inherently has more calories, and try out a vegetarian diet. Or at least try to cut out the red meat which is higher in cholesterol, fat and calories then poultry.
Robert Atkins claimed in interviews that, despite his having followed a fatty, high-cholesterol diet for decades, he did not have artery blockages. The net result may be that dieters believe they can safely disregard well-established contributors to heart disease. After Dr. Atkins’ death, his widow and his personal physician revealed that Dr. Atkins had indeed had coronary artery blockages, although they have maintained that these blockages had nothing to do with his death.
Check out this related post over at Happy Cow
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health