You’ve probably heard of a lot of diets that might seem odd at first. One of them that has become pretty well known would be the “Atkins diet”. It's shown up in health journals and supermarket magazines alike, but how does it work, and who is it best for?
What is it?
Dr Robert Atkins designed the Atkins diet. It was originally named “The vogue diet” in the 70’s, because Atkins published in Vogue magazine, which is where most people heard of it. It’s initial popularity was due to it being at odds with the “Fat is the devil” mentality of the time, and also it allowed people to eat a lot of things they already like, such as meat, eggs and dairy.
It is the first modern diet that defended fat in the diet, and instead pointed the finger at carbohydrates as being bad for you.
A typical Atkins menu will be heavy on meat, greens (different from vegetable greens) and dairy, while avoiding the carbohydrates found in starches or sugars. This includes fruit and grains usually considered an important part of a healthy diet.
– Eggs, sausages, spinach
– Roast beef, greens
– Salmon steak, asparagus, tomatoes
– Usually a Atkins Diet bar or shake
How does it work?
Simply put, the Atkins diet wants you to eat less carbohydrates. The idea is that when you eat less carbs, you have less energy (kilojoules) available for your body to do stuff, like, you know, live.
So when you have fewer kilojoules coming in to your body than you need, your body gets a bit grumpy and taps into it’s energy savings bank, also known as your fat stores.
Also, because you’re eating a lot of fat and protein, you feel fuller for longer, which makes it less likely you’ll have naughty snacks in between meals.
Why would I want it?
If you’re looking to lose fat and weight
, and find it hard to go for a different type of restrictive diet because the fridge is just pulling you towards it, you may want to try something that will have you eating a bit more meat and a bit less high carb food.
While most people think a diet that allows them to indulge in sausages and eggs for breakfast is easy, just remember that you also have to give up on bread, potatoes and anything with a lot of carbs in it, so if you’re a big fan of a steak sandwich, you’ll be throwing away half of your meal, which is about $50 worth of food if you’re at the MCG watching the cricket.
Who is it best for?
If you’re someone who is having trouble losing weight because you just can’t give up those juicy thick cuts of meat, and you aren’t particularly fond of bread, it could work well for you. People with gluten or wheat intolerances have reported good weight losses, though it’s hardly foolproof.
Also, if you’re a very active person or an athlete, the large amount of “heavy” food may make you feel sluggish. If you’ve ever gone for a run after a big, meaty meal, you’ll know that it feels like you’ve upset the food baby in your gut, and they’re more than happy to let you know it.
What are the side effects?
There are some possible side effects from the diet though, which can include bad breath, constipation (from the lack of fibre) weakness, headaches, fatigue and dizziness. If you feel anything like this, see a Doctor about it. Especially if toilet time feels like you’re trying to fire a bowling ball from your posterior.
The thing to remember with the Atkins diet is that it’s never been published in a serious scientific journal, where other health professionals can insult it, and it’s creator. Professionally, that is.
Is it good for women too?
Restricting carbs is a pretty common method of dieting for women now, and it may be at least partially because of the Atkins diet that carbs are now being considered as something we should be eating with caution. Women are at no greater risk than men with the Atkins diet, but just like men, you should be careful, and monitor how you feel.
While an Atkins diet can have some good results, it’s still not certain whether they’ll last, and if there can be long term health issues from following this diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure that you do it safely, slowly, and with advice from your Doctor. They won’t make you feel bad, it’s their job to help you get healthy.