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-   -   Dangers of the Atkins Diet! (http://www.fitday.com/fitness/forums/diets/1600-dangers-atkins-diet.html)

littlegreeneone 07-24-2010 02:08 PM

Dangers of the Atkins Diet!
 
Hello Everyone,
I've noticed a lot of threads regarding the Atkins diet. I just hope that all who follow this diet understand the SERIOUS health concerns associated with it.

First of all, your body and your brain need carbs to function properly, period. The brain thrives off of glucose, basically sugar from carbs. When there is not enough glycogen to be used by the brain, your body turns to fat stores, which is why many people lose significant amounts of weight on this diet.

However, after a long period of lack of carbohydrates, the liver begins to produce ketone bodies leading to a condition called ketosis. Ketone bodies create an acidic pH in the blood, causing the body to suck calcium out of the bones to neutralized the blood pH.

This kind of diet can stress the liver and kidneys, destroy muscle tissue and lead to weaker bones. Its definitely a quick fix for losing weight fast, but just ask yourself if its really worth the health risks. Remember, Dr. Atkins suffered a heart attack which the American Heart Association linked to the Atkins Diet.

Just in case you were wondering, I choose to follow a raw, vegan diet.

almeeker 07-24-2010 02:28 PM

I'm not on Atkins, and I agree completely that it is potentially dangerous over a long period of time. But I also feel that being a vegetarian is not the path for me to be fit and healthy. Through most of college I was a practicing vegetarian, but ended up having to give it up because that diet gave me a few serious health issues. Basically my doctor determined that my body is unable to absorb iron from vegetable sources, which left me so anemic that I almost required a blood transfusion. In my opinion living completely on one specific food category can have a damaging impact on your health.

tandoorichicken 07-24-2010 04:34 PM

Littlegreeneone,

I agree that the Atkins is not a healthy diet plan over the long term, but only because it doesn't specifically eschew eating processed foods over whole, natural foods. However, I am worried that you are making the same mistake countless dieticians have made over this topic: ignoring/misunderstanding basic body chemistry.

The brain as well as most organ tissues of the body (such as the heart, liver, kidneys, GI organs) function perfectly well without glucose.

The structural tissues of the body (muscle, bone, skin, cartilage) burn predominantly sugar for their energy, and thus would be in danger from complete carb elimination. However, thanks to gluconeogenesis from amino acids and glycerol within the body, as well as judicious carb consumption (fewer than 100g/day max), these tissues can thrive as well in a ketotic environment.

In response to a low carbohydrate environment produce by diet, the liver begins to produce ketones right away not after a "long period of lack of carbohydrates." As ketones build up in the blood stream, the brain gradually shifts from burning glucose to burning mainly ketones as fuel, thus eliminating them from the blood stream and keeping pH neutral. Thanks to this process, the body can avoid having to break down muscle tissue to supply the amino acids for gluconeogenesis because the brain is no longer eating through gratuitous amounts of glucose, which happen to be scarce during a low-carb diet.

In conjuntion with the above, muscle can also be spared by getting adequate protein in the diet, which contrary to popular belief, does not cause kidney dysfunction. A higher protein intake will severely tax the filtration systems of diabetes patients and others with nephropathy, but up to 1.5g/lb lean body mass are entirely safe in people with normal, healthy kidneys.

I should also point out that increased protein intake, combined with moderate exercises increases bone mass, not decreases it. Protein is as vital a component of bone as calcium, in that it helps the bone cells process calcium and phosphorous and plays a critical role in their metabolism.

Finally, the diet I follow is highly sustainable over the long term. Carbohydrates are implicated in chronic inflammation, and wheat itself has very strong correlations with heart disease and hypertension. Omega-6 oils derived from plant sources also lead to inflammation, and when cooked with readily transform into trans fats. I know correlations are not causations, but it is unfair to implicate animal product as the sole cause of diseases of civilization when there are plenty of plant products that fit the bill as well.

Just in case you're wondering, I choose to follow a low-carb, whole foods diet with plenty of grass-fed/free-range/wild-caught meat (variety of animals), dairy, and eggs, as well as plenty of leafy green and multi-colored vegetables, nuts and seeds, various oils, as well as the occasional fruit, beans, or grains (mostly barley and quinoa). I do a lot of cooking myself so I know exactly what's in my food.

rockmonky 07-24-2010 05:17 PM

tandoorichicken,

Thanks for the reply. You seem to have a better understanding of the body's metabolic pathways than I do. I am just concerned for those who believe that following the Atkins diet is a safe approach to weight loss.

I absolutely agree with you that protein is essential. I simply pointed out that when one has an acidic blood pH, the body will try to neutralize it by using calcium stored in bones. Eating a diet of primarily meat can lead to an acidic condition in the body. Whereas plant based protein have and alkalizing effect on the body.

rockmonky 07-24-2010 05:23 PM

almeeker,

I'm sorry you had such a difficult time on a vegetarian diet. I think everyone has find a diet that suits them and their needs. I say, there's nothing wrong with eating meat as long as you know where it's coming from. The best option
is supporting local farmers and choosing grass-fed or even organic meat.

Unfortunately, some people seem to have trouble absorbing iron. Even some meat eater are actually iron deficient. How are your iron levels these days?

littlegreeneone 07-24-2010 05:25 PM

Sorry for the confusion,

I posted my responses under my boyfriend's account (rockmonky)

tandoorichicken 07-24-2010 05:29 PM

Um... did you change your username greene? :D

Protein in general can have a small net acid load on the blood regardless of whether it comes from plants or animals. This small net acid load can be easily offset by eating plenty of multi-colored vegetables. Remember, there are no carnivorous humans, only omnivores and, if you so choose, herbivores. So there is no excuse for anyone not to eat their vegetables. I get my fair share of veggies and then some and lift weights to boot, so I know my bones are solid and healthy.

It's not the diet itself that I find damaging, it's the way its spun, oversimplified, and marketed. It's the marketing that says eat whatever you want as long as its not carb. The diet itself, from the original source, teaches calorie restriction, which is the tried and true method for weight loss. But the huge Atkins brand that exists today consists of more of the same processed, nutritionally broken-down and reconstituted junk that groups like LeanCuisine have been putting out for years.

almeeker 07-24-2010 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rockmonky (Post 16673)
almeeker,

I'm sorry you had such a difficult time on a vegetarian diet. I think everyone has find a diet that suits them and their needs. I say, there's nothing wrong with eating meat as long as you know where it's coming from. The best option
is supporting local farmers and choosing grass-fed or even organic meat.

Unfortunately, some people seem to have trouble absorbing iron. Even some meat eater are actually iron deficient. How are your iron levels these days?

Actually, my parents are local farmers, so knowing exactly where my meat comes from and what it's been fed, is a given, well beef and hogs anyway. They don't raise poultry anymore. I also put in a pretty large garden (2 acres) and do a lot of canning, so I have to buy very few veggies.

My iron levels are pretty good these days. To keep them up I take a daily iron supplement, and eat red meat at least 2 times/week, usually closer to 3 (because there's 1/2 a steer in the freezer). I still feel that I could be a vegetarian most days, I just don't crave meat very often. But I know from past experience that it's not my path to good health. The interesting part of my situation is that both of my parents have similar absorption issues as does one of my daughters, who in fact was hospitalized for anemia and had to have blood transfusions. At the time that happened she wasn't following a strict vegetarian diet, but she was little and really didn't eat a lot of anything let alone meat.

My SIL is a hard core vegetarian, and she's always trying to convince our children to abstain from meat, even though I've explained to her repeatedly why it's not an option for them. We've explained it very carefully to our children why they can't or at least shouldn't be vegetarians, so they at least understand and just brush off their aunt when she starts up with it. It's not that I'm against a vegetarian lifestyle, it's just that I can't participate in it, nor can my children.

littlegreeneone 07-25-2010 06:28 PM

almeeker,

I'm glad you know where your meat is coming from and Wow, I wish my garden was 2 acres! Also, congrats on losing almost 100lbs, that gotta feel good :)

RichardBuckner 07-29-2010 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by littlegreeneone (Post 16657)
Hello Everyone,
I've noticed a lot of threads regarding the Atkins diet. I just hope that all who follow this diet understand the SERIOUS health concerns associated with it.

First of all, your body and your brain need carbs to function properly, period. The brain thrives off of glucose, basically sugar from carbs. When there is not enough glycogen to be used by the brain, your body turns to fat stores, which is why many people lose significant amounts of weight on this diet.

However, after a long period of lack of carbohydrates, the liver begins to produce ketone bodies leading to a condition called ketosis. Ketone bodies create an acidic pH in the blood, causing the body to suck calcium out of the bones to neutralized the blood pH.

This kind of diet can stress the liver and kidneys, destroy muscle tissue and lead to weaker bones. Its definitely a quick fix for losing weight fast, but just ask yourself if its really worth the health risks. Remember, Dr. Atkins suffered a heart attack which the American Heart Association linked to the Atkins Diet.

Just in case you were wondering, I choose to follow a raw, vegan diet.

Your message is discouraging for serious contemporary dieters and shows a complete lack of ignorance of the scientific research that had taken place over the last 20 years. Your body converts fat and protein into glucose and using the net carbs count makes it a little easier than strictly counting carbs. You sound like the old school fat free diet thinking. Moderate ketosis does no harm; hunter gatherers, modern day Eskimos and careful Atkins dieters live without harm. Of course everything in moderation. I am on the pre maintenance phase of New Atkins and have lost 35 pounds. I carefully monitor my nutrition intake and exercise. I get plenty of calcium without supplements. I go to see my doctor regularly and have CBC, lipid panel and complete metabolic screenings. Everything is in normal range. My cholesterol is off the normal range on the low side. I do not take mobic or any cholesterol or tri glyceride controlling drug. My acid reflux has disappeared. Most of the time I am hunger free and have higher energy. This kind of sophomoric palaver just does harm.
Rick


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