Atkins Diet...Is it good for you?

Joshua Daughrity

Staff Writer

According to a recent study published by WebMD, and The New England Journal of Medicine, the famous low carb, high fat diet called the Atkins diet may increase your chances of obtaining high-risk heart disease, or diabetes. The two studies compare the weight loss of severely obese individuals’ eating, according to Atkins, with those eating according to a conventional low-fat, low-calorie nutrition plan. The results? While the Atkins dieters slimmed down significantly more than the traditional dieters, there was no weight difference between the groups after one year. The researchers also reported no differences in side effects during the one-year long study.

The group also presented findings from a website they started last year, to identify people who believe the diet caused health problems. A total of 188 people visited www.atkinsdietalert.org , and constipation, bad breath, and loss of energy were the most frequent complaints. Roughly one in five people listed more serious complaints, such as kidney and heart problems. To date, there are approximately five pending lawsuits against Atkins Diet for heart disease related problems.

At any time, about 45 percent of women and 35 percent of men in America are actively seeking to lose weight, according to ABCNews.com. Out of that number, many are trying new ways to lose the weight, without giving up the lifestyle they are used to. Arguing against the low-carbohydrate diet, Dr. James W. Anderson, professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at the University of Kentucky, said, “The high fat diet does promote weight loss but reinforces popular unhealthy eating styles.”

These unhealthy eating styles, experts say, could cause potential health problems if maintained for more than one year. Research has shown that consuming high levels of saturated fat, as many Atkins dieters do, may have adverse health consequences. Anderson, who discourages his patients from the Atkins diet, said, “Using the Atkins guidelines long-term will raise cholesterol by 28 percent, whereas a low-fat diet will lower cholesterol by 20 percent.”

Dr. Robert O. Bonow from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill., and Dr. Robert H. Eckel from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, CO. said, “The recipe for effective weight loss is a combination of motivation, physical activity, and calorie restriction. Until further evidence is available, physicians should continue to recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet.”