Monday, 30 July 2007

The Atkins Diet Good or Bad?

The Atkins Diet is targeted around a balance of carbohydrates and proteins. The Atkins diet, was developed, based on the premise, that the majority of overweight individuals are so, because they are living on high carbohydrate fast food diets. they eat too much sugar... Basically they are filling their bodies with fast food and are becoming carbohydrate junkies.

The correct balance of proteins and healthy carbs, such as the protein found in chicken, Salmon, mushrooms and avocados and the carbs one finds in dark leafy green vegetables, leads to a decrease in unhealthy sugar cravings. Sugar is essentially dead food and turns to starch in the body, this 'starchy fat' leads to weight gain. The same that can be said for refined sugar, can be said for refined flour, both foods plump the body up; into unwholesome shapes.

The reason that refined sugars and flours are so deleterious to the human body, is because we have not evolved a digestive system that can handle them. We only started farming late on in our evolution. There is therefore a mismatch between our digestive system and what we now eat. We evolved on the plains as long distance running animals and would eat meat and the occasional berries of trees and just a few wild plants. Refined foods such as flour and sugar are a 'man-made invention' that do not exist in nature, we quite simply, have not adapted biologically to handle these food stuffs.

Problems have been associated with the Atkins Diet and claim has been made, that the Atkins Diet is not safe, if not combined with a strict exercise routine. The Atkins Diet has been linked with heart problems. But then again, one could say that a high carbohydrate, junk food 'diet' is not particularly safe either.

Another diet, very similar in many ways to the Atkins Diet is The Zone Diet, developed by Dr. Barry Sears. This is considered to be a safer diet than that of Atkins and indeed, Sears, takes a much more scientific approach.

Basically, how both the Atkins Diet and Sears Diets appear to work, is simply because the body cannot digest a lot of protein, without very quickly feeling 'full-up'. The opposite of course can be said of carbohydrates, indeed, I'm sure everyone reading this has at one time or another, ate a whole packet of cookies in one sitting and still felt hungry afterwords. If you combine a high ratio of protein in your diet, you stomach 'fills-up' very quickly and this counters and stops the sugar cravings. This limit on junk foods, leads to weight loss.

Carbohydrates are not unhealthy per se... Indeed, the human body needs a percentage of carbohydrate. But there are good and bad carbs. The healthy carbs are those found in dark leafy vegetables. We have evolved to break down the enzymes within the 'primitive' carbohydrates, but the carbs in refined sugars and flours 'knot' together and do not easily breakdown in the body, instead an accumulation of starchy fat build up and leads to weight gain.

The main criticism that one can make of the Atkins Diet is that it is not combined with a fitness regime and many scientists do now believe that the Atkins Diet is unsafe, if not combined with a good Aerobic program that gets the heart rate working, such as running or brisk walking. The other minor 'by-product' of the Atkins Diet, is that it makes one smell and not a pleasant smell either.

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