By Lauren Denos: 10/23/2015 (Ask Lauren)

Dear Lauren,

What do you think about the Atkins diet? Some people say it is great and a lot of people say it is horrible. What is your opinion?

Thank you,


Dear Jimmy,

I admit I have not read about this diet in great detail. I tend to look at the highlights of most diets since I don't follow any specific diet. That being said, there is a reason there are so many diets on the market, it is because all of them worked for someone. It is always good to look at exactly what you are wanting to accomplish. Some people start a diet to get healthier in a certain area like reduce cholesterol, reduce inflammation, kill of candida or to lose weight. Losing weight tens to be the most popular of reasons. With most diets if you have no specific health problems you can lose weight simply by cutting calories. The trick is to find something that will not only help you drop the inches you are desiring but also help you get healthier.

The Atkins diet is a very divided topic in the health community, some think it is great and many think it is a very unhealthy diet. The general principle of the Atkins diet is to reduce sugar and carbs and find the right amount that lets you to continue to lose weight. It does not restrict the amount you eat, which I would think could still cause issues for people wanting to lose weight. Because general knowledge tells us that if we eat more calories than we can burn then we will gain weight not lose it. The reason they say you do not need to count calories is because your cravings go away and you naturally won't want to eat as much. This may be the case for some, but there are also plenty of people who eat out of emotional needs, sometimes they do not even know they are doing this. For this reason I think it can be helpful to count your calories for at least a little while so you know what you are doing and you get a feel for what your daily calories allotment feels like. This diet emphasizes eating more fats which really works for some people but be cautious if you have liver issues since a diet high in fat can cause more problems than it helps. In fact it is a very good idea to talk to your doctor and make sure that you have no health conditions that would be made worse by a high fat diet.

From what I have seen of the Atkins diet, it could be good if you do it in a certain way. I have seen sample diet plans of their recently updated diet program on their site that includes eating cheese, fruit, mashed potatoes etc. The principle of eating more fat, protein and lower carbs works for some people but I would emphasize getting you carbs from lots of veggies and less from massed potatoes. Get your fat from avocados, olive oil and fatty fish instead of cheese and cream. The general principles may work for you, although be prepared, many people who have gone the Atkins diet route have talked about getting very cranky while the body is going into ketosis (which is the point of this diet). Ketosis simply put is your body converting from using carbs for it's primary source of fuel to using fat instead. If you are simply doing this because you think you will feel better going low carb I think there are much more simplistic and wholesome ways to do it. You may want to look at The Paleo Diet. There are quite a few versions of the Paleo diet available right now, paleo promotes healthy fats, lean protein and lots and lots of vegetables, it is simple and would be good for you to look into before you make your decision on the type of eating program you want to be on.

If you have never done a low carb diet before be mindful of how you are feeling. Some people function better with low carbs and some with higher carbs. Many people can lose weight and get healthier just by changing the types of carbs they are eating from refined to whole. So if you get to feeling really bad then just add a little bit more carbohydrates back into your diet, in the form of sweet potatoes and squash, If you feel good on grain then do a whole grain such as oat groats or buckwheat groats. These are whole forms of carbs that are far more useful to your body than bread or pasta.

One of the most important things to look at when you are going to embark on any new way of eating, is this something you can stick with for the long run? If you go through this change and lose weight and then go straight back to your high carb lifestyle, you are most likely just going to gain all that weight back.

To sum this up, If done the correct way a low carb diet could work for you, just be prepared for what you are getting yourself into, make sure you can stick with it, and pay attention to how you feel. Get checked up regularly by your doctor to make sure this is having a good effect on your body. Please let me know how it works for you. LIVE FULL OUT!



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