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The Atkins diet: everything you need to know

The Atkins diet

The Atkins diet is a diet model that aims to limit carbohydrate intake as much as possible. Although this has several benefits, it also has its risks. Here we detail what it is and what aspects should be clear.

The Atkins diet was created in the 196s by a cardiologist. It is mainly based on limiting carbohydrate intake, prioritizing the consumption of protein and fat.

Through this eating pattern, not only is a weight reduction promised, but also a reduction in the risk of suffering some type of cardiovascular disease.

The importance of limiting carbohydratesThe Atkins diet

The doctor, based on scientific articles, defended that the high carbohydrate intake was related to being overweight and the appearance of diseases in the medium term. An example of these is diabetes, which also conditions the development of other more severe pathologies.

Even though this type of pathology is mainly associated with the consumption of simple sugars, this cardiologist also discouraged the intake of whole grains. These have a significant amount of fiber. Supplementation is recommended to meet the needs of this nutrient today.

No need to count caloriesThe Atkins diet

Another highlight of this diet is that it does not focus on calorie balance. Because fats and carbohydrates play an important role in promoting satiety, the doctor assumes that it is difficult to exceed the daily energy needs by feeding only on these macronutrients.

For this reason, the only count it performs is the carbohydrate count. Since vegetables and fruits contain a certain amount of sugars in their composition, the doctor devised a system to account for their hydrates and thus not exceed the recommended maximums.

Exercise is essential

Atkins also relies on regular exercise to supplement food. He maintains, affirmation supported by the scientific literature, that regular exercise is one of the best methods that exist to control body weight.

It does not recommend any particular type of exercise. However, today we know that muscle strength training can have a significant impact on daily caloric expenditure. In this way, it is an effective method to lose weight and to avoid gaining it again in the medium and long term.

Atkins Diet RisksThe Atkins diet

This type of diet with such a strict limitation of carbohydrates can bring with it a series of side effects. In the early stages of it, when the body begins to go into ketosis, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue

These situations will reverse as time passes. However, there are a large number of patients who fail to overcome these side effects. In this type of people, ketogenic diets are contraindicated.

Health benefits of the Atkins diet

Today we know that ketogenic diets that restrict carbohydrates can bring health benefits. They are recommended, for example, in cases of refractory epilepsy, since they manage to decrease the number of crises in more than 50% of cases.

Also, in healthy people, they can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and other pathologies associated with being overweight. A low carbohydrate diet has not been scientifically proven to produce greater weight loss than a low-fat one, as long as the caloric balance is similar.

Anyway, for many people, it is easier to follow a plan that limits the intake of sugars since it allows them to be less rigorous when it comes to accounting for the amount of food allowed. This supposes a point in favor of the regulation of the appetite-satiety mechanism.

Atkins diet: What should be clear?

The Atkins diet is based on carbohydrate restriction and has certain medium and long-term health benefits. Despite this, not all people adapt to this eating plan due to the side effects that appear during the first days.

In any case, the practice of regular exercise together with the diet is recommended to maximize weight loss and to improve body composition.

Despite this, it is necessary to affirm that a varied, balanced and well-structured diet can be perfectly valid for losing weight and promoting health without the need for restrictions. Only by limiting the intake of certain foods can we achieve great benefits.

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