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Atkins diet new controversy - low carb recipes and low fat recipes at loggerheads!


Dr Atkins diet has been at the heart of heated controversy in recent times. On May 26, 2004 A Florida businessman filed suit against the makers of Atkins diet, based on low carb recipes, as opposed to rival diets which favor low fat recipes. The businessman claimed as a consequence of following Dr Atkins diet, he suffers from severe heart disease, necessitating angioplasty and a stent. He is seeking a court injunction banning Atkins Nutritionals from marketing its products without a warning of potential health risks and asks for compensatory damages. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM, reported that :"about 30 percent of individuals on an Atkins diet experienced increases in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol of at least 10 percent in a study published May 18, 2004, in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Two study participants dropped out because of elevated cholesterol levels and a third developed chest pain and was subsequently diagnosed with coronary heart disease." High protein low carb recipes based diets such as Dr Atkins diet have been criticized by major health organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Kidney Fund. The Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association states, “High-protein diets are not recommended because they restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and do not provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. Individuals who follow these diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalities overall.” The PCRM also says they have received more than 560 complaints of illnesses and fatalities allegedly related to Atkins-type diets - low carb recipes - through an on-line registry...including more than two dozen reports of potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and the reported death of a 16-year-old girl in Missouri who was following a low carb diet According to PCRM President Neal Barnard, M.D Atkins diet proponents "push dieters to avoid healthy foods, like rice, beans, and pasta, while ignoring the risks of high-cholesterol, high-fat meat and cheese. The idea that cholesterol and saturated fat don’t matter is a dangerous myth.” In additon to CHD - coronary heart disease - Atkins diet has also been blamed for a number of other "atrocities", such as: colon cancer, impaired kidney function, osteoporosis,

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complications of diabetes, and to cap it all: constipation, headache, bad breath, muscle cramps, diarrhea, general weakness. In an article titled: "Low Carb Diet Truth - Why Atkin's Low Carb Diet Doesn't Work", Keith Klein ( notes that "Low carb diets don't produce long-term results. These diets do not work, and are bad for the health." Also, "In the case of the low-carb diet, the down-side outweighs the up-side by a huge margin. A problem that adds to the confusion is the simple fact that cutting back on carbohydrates works, at least for a quick drop in body fat and body water. The piece of the puzzle missing for most dieters is the long-term effects on the body due to such a drastic reduction in carbohydrates." To solve the long-term effects problem, low-carb diets such as the South Beach Diet introduce carbohydrates after the 14 days initial phase. But what does the other side say? As expected, we hear a totally different story. One of the most articulate of the Atkins diet defenders is Anthony Colpo ( Here is a quick summary of his "6 myths" article: 1. Coronary heart disease (CHD) If you want to maximize your chances of avoiding CHD, a diet high in antioxidants and phytochemicals, a low glycemic load, and regular consumption of omega-3 fats, appears to be just what Dr Atkins diet recommends. A low carb diet based on paleolithic food choices, that is, a diet based on free-range animal products and low carbohydrate, low-glycemic plant foods, fits the bill quite nicely. So go ahead, eat your steak and salad! 2. Low-Carbohydrate Diets Contain Too Much Fat, and Fat Makes You Gain Weight Some folks have been so inculcated with the simplistic "fat makes you fat" theory that they just cannot believe a diet high in fat can lead to a loss of bodyfat. The fact is, high fat diets can result in spectacular fat loss - as long as carbohydrate intake is kept low. Eat a diet that is high in both fat and carbohydrate and your bodyfat percentages will head north real quick! The Standard Western Diet (SWD) is typically high in both fat and carbohydrate - and often leads to obesity. 3. Low-carb, High-Protein Diets cause Osteoporosis A review of the research in this area shows that high protein intake, in the presence of alkalinising fruit and vegetable intake and adequate calcium intake, either has no adverse affect on bone mass or has a positive affect on bone mass. We can see that a low-carbohydrate, high fat, high protein diet is a far better choice for building strong bones than a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. It ensures adequate intake of protein; it replaces acid-forming, phytate-containing grains and legumes with alkalinising fruits and vegetables; and the fat content of such a diet assists the absorption of fat-soluble bone-building vitamins like Vitamin D and K. 4. High-Protein Diets Cause Kidney Disease Bodybuilders and strength athletes have been consuming high-protein diets for decades. Given the widespread global participation in these activities, if the claims of kidney damage were true, by now there would be an enormous

number of case studies of ex-bodybuilders and strength athletes afflicted with kidney disease. Needless to say, this is not the case. A comparison of healthy subjects eating 100g or more of protein per day with long-term vegetarians eating 30g or less of protein per day concluded that both groups had similar kidney function. The subjects were aged 30-80 and both groups displayed similar progressive deterioration of kidney function with age. Individuals with healthy kidney function have little to fear from higher levels of protein consumption. 5; Low-Carbohydrate Diets Put You In Ketosis, And Ketosis Is Dangerous! First of all, it should be pointed out that not all low-carb diets induce ketosis. Carbohydrates can be restricted, but not necessarily to the point where ketosis is induced (daily carbohydrate intake of 50g or less seems to be a reliable benchmark). If carbohydrate intake is kept low enough however, one eventually enters a state known as ketosis, characterised by a measurable increase of ketones in the bloodstream. Ketones are an intermediate product of fat breakdown, and are an alternative source of energy to glucose. Ketosis indicates a heightened state of fat-burning. Contrary to the alarmist claims of some critics, there is nothing dangerous about ketosis. One of the more important functions of ketones is to serve as an alternative fuel source for the brain - contrary to the claims of some that the brain can only use glucose for fuel. Despite the hype, healthy people have little to fear from ketosis - unless they have a strong aversion to losing fat! 6; Low Carb Diets Are An Unproven Fad! This has to be the most ridiculous criticism of all, especially when one considers its source. The human species has been eating a meat-based diet for 2.4 million years, and analysis of the diets consumed by recent hunter-gatherer societies (the best available surrogate for paleolithic nutrition) shows that plant foods comprised, on average, one-third of daily food intake the rest was derived from animal products. What's more, the bulk of these plant foods were low-glycemic, low-carbohydrate items such as nuts, seeds, wild fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrate-rich cereal grains did not appear in any meaningful quantity in the human diet until the onset of the agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago. Humans evolved on meat-based, low to moderate carbohydrate nutrition, meaning that low carbohydrate diets are far more in accordance with man's genetic evolution than the low-animal fat, high carbohydrate nonsense that is currently espoused by mainstream authorities. The anti-animal fat, high carbohydrate diet concept is a mere 4 decades old, nothing more than a speculative construct of mid-twentieth century researchers who were at a loss to explain the high prevalence of CHD in modernized countries. While the paleolithic diet kept the human species thriving for over two-million years, the track record of the high-carbohydrate, grain-based diet movement is atrocious - their persistent, fanatical rantings against animal fats have been remarkably successful in driving people towards vegetable fats and carbohydrate-rich foodstuffs, the increasing consumption of which has been accompanied by alarming increases in the incidence of obesity and Type-2 diabetes And here is his conclusion, which I quote as is:

"Those criticising low-carbohydrate diets often do so under false pretenses. They unfairly equate high-carb, high-fat diets with low-carb, high-fat diets, even though they have vastly different metabolic effects. Another tactic employed by such critics is to create fear of possible adverse effects, which upon closer inspection only concern individuals with certain metabolic defects. As we have seen, this tactic is applied to claims of kidney damage and ketoacidosis, even though there is no evidence that low-carbohydrate diets initiate these ailments. Indeed, hypertensive kidney damage and ketoacidosis are complications of diabetes, a disease associated with excessive carbohydrate intake. Years ago, I believed the high-carbohydrate propaganda and followed a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet. When it became apparent that this diet was not conducive to optimal health and performance, I had no choice but to experiment. Through trial and error I adopted a paleolithic-style low-carbohydrate diet. The result has been a marked improvement in energy, mental focus, blood sugar control, and an ability to maintain year round single-digit body-fat levels. I encourage all my personal training clients to follow low-carbohydrate nutrition, and those who take my advice invariably experience benefits similar to my own." There you are, with the pro and cons of Atkins diet.

About the author: Drawing from his 30-year experience as a medical translator, teacher, traveler, musician, writer, deep multicultural awareness plus worldwide ancient spiritual traditions, A.M.Sall helps people "turn all their living days into quality time" in his self-development community at: Sign-up for free lifelong membership and claim your free "Healthy Foods" minicourse.
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