Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Atkins Diet -- The Final Verdict


Supporters of the Atkins Diet claim that a low carbohydrate diet is a safe and effective method for losing weight. This article evaluates the low carbohydrate diet and specifically the claims made about ketosis.

The Low Carb-Ketosis Link

By severely limiting carbohydrates in your diet, the main energy source used by your body, glucose, drops to low levels. In return, insulin levels also drop. With low glucose and low insulin levels, the body turns to alternative sources of energy.

Because of a significant change in your body's chemistry when on the Atkins Diet, certain metabolic pathways are turned "on" that are normally not "on" or run at very low levels. One such pathway involves the breakdown of fat, called Beta-Oxidation of Fats.

Now, normally fats are broken down to produce energy when your body senses a need. But in the context of a low Carb diet, the normal breakdown pathway of fats is altered and an alternative pathway kicks in. This alternative pathway produces what are called ketone bodies.

Ketosis is the term used to describe when ketone bodies are circulating in your bloodstream. The ketone bodies can be used as alternative sources of energy by, most importantly, your brain.

In case you might be curious, the three ketone bodies produced by this alternative pathway for breaking down fat are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. These ketone bodies are formed in your liver and then are transported to other tissues, mainly the brain. In your brain, they are converted back to a form that can provide direct energy during times of starvation.

Here is the whole process...

  • Atkins Diet lowers glucose and insulin (the body's main energy source)
  • Alternative pathways are turned "on" to provide energy
  • One alternative pathway breaks down fat and produces ketone bodies
  • Ketone bodies represent the state called ketosis
  • The brain uses ketone bodies as an alternative source of energy
  • So, the Atkins Diet (and any low Carb diet) produces a low energy state (low glucose) that causes the breakdown fat using an alternative pathway that leads to the development of ketosis.

    So far it sounds pretty good. By limiting Carbs in your diet, you can essentially force your body into breaking down stored fat, the very thing you need to get rid of to lose weight.

    But there are problems...

    Atkins Diet and Toxicity

    Ketone bodies are toxic. Many supporters of low Carb diets claim that ketosis is safe. They state that they are natural byproducts of fat breakdown and even babies have high levels of circulating ketone bodies.

    First, they are not natural by-products of fat metabolism. The normal beta-oxidation of fats does produce ketone bodies but these are incorporated into the normal cycle of energy production, called the Krebs cycle. When ketone bodies are circulating in your bloodstream, it signals an abnormal physiologic state, called starvation. They are not incorporated into the normal energy cycle, the Krebs cycle, and spill into the bloodstream.

    Just because your body has the ability to transport ketone bodies to certain tissues and then use them for energy, does not make it a normal process. It is an alternative pathway that turns "on" only when your body is faced with depleted levels of the main energy source, glucose.

    Secondly, babies are not small adults. A baby's liver and brain tissue are made up of different chemicals and pathways, specifically geared to handle the high fat diet coming from mother's milk. These pathways change as a baby grows and starts to eat other foods. Eventually, the normal adult pathways are set up and the infantile chemistry used as evidence to support the safety of ketosis, stop working.

    But this is not even related to the fact that ketone bodies are toxic. In medicine, the three ketone bodies mentioned above are classified as toxic acidic chemicals. At high levels, they can cause your blood to become too acidic, a disease state called ketoacidosis.

    Granted, this is rare because most of the ketone bodies will be used by the brain as an energy source. Ketoacidosis is usually seen in type 1 diabetics. It is a medical emergency.

    So, is ketosis dangerous to your body? Yes and no. Yes, ketosis represents a state of starvation. Losing weight when the body thinks you're starving is the best way to guarantee weight regain. The weight will come back and come back as fat. No, ketosis will not cause ketoacidosis in non-diabetics. And as long as you have a large storage of fat, your brain will not starve for energy.

    The Final Verdict

  • As an alternative physiologic state, ketosis is not dangerous, assuming the levels of ketone bodies do not increase to acidic levels.

  • As a diet plan, ketogenic diets are not recommended because of the state of starvation they create. Your metabolism will eventually slow down setting you up for weight regain in the near the future.

  • Ketogenic diets, like the Atkins Diet, may also be dangerous not because they cause ketosis, but because they promote high protein and fat intake. High protein diets, unless you're body building, increases urea production and can damage the kidneys. Supporters claim that this just doesn't happen, reporting that no kidney damage has occurred to the millions of dieters on Atkins Diet or other ketogenic diets.

    However, it is well known that microscopic damage can occur to the kidneys effecting their ability to filter the blood. But clinical signs of this damage may take several years to manifest. Chronic renal insufficiency is a concern for ketogenic dieters, which may cause problems in the years to come.

  • Conclusion

    Atkins Diet and other ketogenic diets (low Carb) can be safe and effective in causing weight loss. However, I recommend keeping ketosis to a minimum and keep your carbohydrate intake above 50 grams a day. Don't follow the suggestions for reaching an "induction" phase. It's not necessary to turn "on" the alternative pathways described above and burn fat.

    Remember, healthy weight loss is to burn fat and fat only. But it also involves keeping your rate of weight loss around 2-3 pounds/week. The induction phase promoted by the Atkins Diet can result in a rate of weight loss far greater than 2-3 pounds/week. It may sound good to you now, but how does gaining it all back as fat sound? Because that will happen if you lose weight too fast.

    For more information on ways to experience healthy weight loss, visit

    Diet Basics.

    To Healthy Living!

    Dr. Michael A. Smith
    Chief Medical Consultant
    Diet Basics Website

    Dr. Smith is the Chief Medical Consultant to Diet Basics, a content rich weight loss site dedicated to all dieters fighting to lose weight. Please visit his site at...Diet Basics


    One visit and you'll be convinced that Dr. Smith and Diet Basics is your on-line resource for healthy weight loss!


    MORE RESOURCES:

    Health.com

    Can Weight Loss Surgery Ease Urinary Incontinence?
    WebMD
    The women "lost almost 30 percent of their body weight, and about two-thirds who had incontinence at the start were cured at one year with that amount of weight loss. Among those who continued to have incontinence, their incontinence frequency improved ...
    The Weird Link Between Weight Loss and IncontinenceHealth.com

    all 9 news articles »


    A Weight-Loss Retreat That Actually Works (And Is Fun): Mountain Trek In ...
    Forbes
    The first surprise at Mountain Trek was dinner the first night: cedar-planked salmon, sautéed leeks and fiddlehead ferns, and romaine salad with tomatoes and blueberries. It was delicious and unexpectedly copious, the kind of meal I'd cook for myself ...



    Christian Post

    Extreme Weight Loss on ABC Georgeanna Johnson [Recap/Review]
    Guardian Liberty Voice
    Tonight, on Extreme Weight Loss on ABC, we get to meet Georgeanna Johnson, the wife of Church on the Move assistant pastor Scott Johnson. At her initial weigh-in, she weighs 315 pounds. After she became the mother of two daughters, this former ...
    Oklahoma Pastor's Wife Loses 165 lbs on ABC's 'Extreme Weight Loss' ShowChristian Post
    Extreme Weight Loss makes me want to do handspringsBangor Daily News
    Georgeanna Johnson, 'Extreme Weight Loss': 5 Fast Facts You Need to KnowHeavy.com
    Tulsa World -Bowling Green Daily News -The Epoch Times
    all 16 news articles »


    Weight loss clinic opens in Waite Park
    St. Cloud Times
    WAITE PARK – Profile by Sanford has opened at 384 Third St. NE and can be reached at 497-7020. The weight management clinic and retail store was created by Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The program of meal replacement ...

    and more »


    Ron Brower hits another weight loss threshold; he's now shed 277 pounds
    The Post-Standard
    Ron Brower hits another weight loss threshold; he's now shed 277 pounds. cny_140724_ronbrower.jpg. Ron Brower this week, with trainers Nick Murphy and Jill Rupert: He's under 400 pounds, a loss of more than 275 pounds. (Ron Brower | Submitted ...



    The Most Satisfying Way to Lose Weight
    Shape Magazine
    According to a new survey released last month, obese and overweight Americans who have tried losing weight report the greatest satisfaction from weight loss surgery and prescription weight loss medications than with other self-regulated lifestyle ...



    ABC News

    Duke-National University of Singapore study compares weight-loss programs
    Durham Herald Sun
    For the study, researchers first did a literature review to identify high-quality clinical trials of commercially available diet/lifestyle plans and medications with proven weight loss at one year or more. The researchers found three diet or lifestyle ...
    Duke study: Weight Watchers reduces most bulge for your buckTriangle Business Journal (blog)
    Which Diet Gives the Best Bang for Your Buck?ABC News

    all 7 news articles »


    Weight loss summer camp changing lives of children
    KTRK-TV
    Kids all across the country are spending the summer at camp. Wellspring Texas, the first and only summer fitness and weight loss camp in the state, attracts kids from all over the world to its San Marcos location. Eleven-year-old Ola Alfred is spending ...



    Towanda Daily Review

    Weight loss a world away - or rather an ocean away
    Towanda Daily Review
    Only twice in my life have I been fortunate to experience happiness so profound that it caused me to both laugh and cry at the same time. Such happiness is unforgettable. I remember precisely what caused it, both times, but it's one particular instance ...



    Pop Weight Loss opens in Canton
    Press News
    Pop Weight Loss, the life-changing personal weight management solution designed to be "the last one you will ever need," recently announced that it has opened in Stark County. Dr. Shishuka Malhotra, a board certified psychiatrist and medical director ...


    Google News


    Advertisement



    Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

    Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.