If you haven’t heard of the Atkins diet, I’m sure you know of or have tried something similar. The common theme of these diets is cutting out all carbs and sugar for a period of time, while eating all forms of dairy and meat in an unlimited quantity instead. People seem to be obsessed with these diets and their claims seem to be valid.
Let’s get this straight, I’ve tried this diet and you will lose weight in a short amount of time like promised. But I also promise that you won’t keep the weight off long-term and you’ll probably fall off of the bandwagon quicker than you think. Not to mention, you could be putting yourself on a very dangerous track regarding your mental and physical health.
But what’s actually wrong with the Atkins diet? Let’s start with sugar. The Atkins diet eliminates all refined sugars, as well as natural sugars in fruit. Dr. Atkins was right about the fact that eating a lot of sugar and experiencing sugar highs results in excess sugar being stored as fat. When you eat a cupcake, your sugar levels spike and then drop below their normal levels (hence, the sugar crash). In this slow and tired state, your body thinks it’s starving and stores more fat in the body as a survival mechanism.
What Dr. Atkins doesn’t specify however is that this is only the case with refined sugars. Natural sugars, like those in fruit, spike your blood sugar but then lower down to your normal levels: no blood sugar drop, no excess fat storage. Have you ever felt super tired after eating a big bowl of fruit? Didn’t think so.
Let’s get into carbs. There are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Carbs get a bad rep because so many foods that we think of in the category are processed—yummy comfort foods like cakes, cookies, and pizza. But complex carbohydrates, which come from bananas, beans, potatoes, rice, starchy vegetables, and other whole foods, are what your body thrives on. They even curb your cravings for bad carbs and processed sugar.
Carbs are made from glucose and sucrose. Glucose is what gives you energy, lifts your mood, and keeps you full throughout the day. Cutting out these foods will make you tired and grumpy (#hangry, anyone?), and leave you craving way more junk food than you did before. Your metabolism will start to slow down because your body isn’t getting enough nutrients. Then the minute you get off a low carb and sugar diet, your body will like go crazy—I’m talking from experience here. I would have raging binges where I would eat anything in sight and still not feel satisfied. Why? Because my body was starving, restricted, and completely lacking essential nutrients.
Overall, this diet is pretty terrible. Not only is it restricting you of things your beautiful body needs, it encourages massive amounts of meat, butter, and dairy products, which, when not eaten in moderation, can lead to other health problems. Dr. Atkins himself died from a heart attack in 2002, most likely due to high levels of saturated fat associated with the Atkins diet. Instead, ditch the low-carb fad and fill up on whole, plant-based foods to keep yourself healthy and lean for more than a month at a time.
by Dylan Roman-Holba