|Atkins and other Low Carbohydrate Diets: Hoax or an Effective Tool for Weight Loss?|
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Health & Behavior Studies, Health Education, Nutrition Education, Teachers College Program Collections
Tags: Books., Carbohydrates, Cardiovascular disease, Diet, Nutrition education, Obesity, Preventive medicine
Description/Abstract: The global rise in overweight and obesity has intensified the search for an effective weight-loss diet. The obesity epidemic persists despite a substantial decrease in fat intake, and a compensatory increase in the intake of carbohydrate, particularly as processed starchy foods and sugar, has been blamed.1 Low-carbohydrate diets have been popular since the 1860s,2 when William Banting claimed he lost 21 kg without feeling hunger. Many low-carbohydrate-diet books have followed, the most successful to date being Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,3 in which the eating plan describes not simply a diet but rather a "lifetime nutritional philosophy", with vitamin and mineral supplementation and regular exercise. The Atkins diet appealed immediately to many because, with the recommended restricted intake of carbohydrate to initially less than 20 g a day, mainly as salad greens and other non-starchy vegetables,4 the unlimited intake of protein and accompanying fat paradoxically seems to promote weight loss. Whereas the Atkins diet permits no more than 5-10% of calorie intake from carbohydrate, Willett's new food-pyramid (with which the Atkins diet is often confused) allows 40-45 % of calorie intake from whole-grain foods, fruit, and vegetables (figure).5-7 The benefits of the Atkins diet, which has been embraced by an estimated 20 million people worldwide, are claimed to be weight loss, maintenance of weight loss without hunger, good health, and disease prevention. It sounds ideal, but what is the scientific evidence to support these claims?