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Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution

Dr. Atkins was the first person who brought the low carb diet to major prominence in the U.S.. He is credited for defying "the system" and offering a weight loss plan that works for most people. He claims that some people have a condition of "hyperinsulinism", in which they produce insulin in excess when they eat carbohydrates, which in turn causes fat storage, and a craving for more carbohydrates. This theory is scientifically logical but has not been accepted or proven by the medical community. 

His diet plan is one that creates ongoing ketosis for weight loss. In his "induction phase", the stores of glycogen in the liver are purposely depleted. Glycogen is the source for the body to obtain glucose quickly when it is needed, mainly for brain activity. In his "maintenance phase" he advises that persons increase their carbohydrate intake to the point where they do not gain or lose weight.

Scientific Analysis of Dr. Atkins Diet

The condition of hyperinsulinism will happen even the amounts of insulin produced is not abnormal. Insulin is such a powerful hormone that even moderate starches and sugars in our daily diet will overwhelms the body's nutritional balance.

Insulin is a hormone that travels through the body and stimulates chemical reactions. The human body has mechanisms to regulate how much of each hormone is produced, so that its effects can be controlled. However, there is no "shut-off" switch for insulin because it is produced whenever carbohydrates is digested, even if these are in excess of what the body needs for fuel.

Dr. Atkins' "induction phase" may cause problems in persons who typically consume large quantities of carbohydrates, or who are prone to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), because their bodies may not be able to produce either glucose or ketones fast enough to supply the requirements of the brain and muscle activity, causing fatigue which may be sudden or extreme. But there are few persons who have had major problems with this aspect of the Atkins diet.

Some of the dieticians believe Atkins Diet Plan may be useful for persons who are very sensitive to carbohydrates and have extremely slow metabolic rates. However, even in these persons the ongoing state of ketosis may present hazards, which are not known at this time, and may not be necessary for weight loss. As with all medical treatments, one must consider the risk (of potential problems related to ongoing ketosis) with the benefit (of weight loss which can definitely improve the health of an obese person).

Dr. Atkins diet does not restrict protein intake, which is the correct approach. However, his advice to add carbohydrate grams for the maintenance phase so that continued weight loss does not occur is not scientifically sound. There is no indication that a person will continue to lose weight below an ideal level even with no carbohydrate intake. 

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