Atkins diet dangers


Risks of Atkins diet

Atkins diet is an unbalanced protein diet that has gained much popularity around the world despite being rejected by the medical community since its emergence in the early 70s.

Atkins diet has been classified by the Spanish Association of Dietitians-Nutritionists as INEFFECTIVE AND HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.

Among the negative effects of this diet, we have the following ones:

– Weight loss achieved with the Atkins diet is mainly due to low calorie intake. We ingest the minimum caloric food necessary for basal metabolism. Weight loss is due to: decreased fat mass, loss of muscular mass and body fluid, not just fat.

Yo-yo effect. Due to the decrease in muscle, this diet leads to a yo yo effect or rebound effect. This means that you will recover some weight in all cases, and, in many cases, all the weight or probably more. This also means that this diet is not effective at long term.

A practical way to avoid the yo-yo effect is to create the habit of walking every day an hour.

Cardiovascular problems. The foods you eat, (besides letting you to take them in free amounts) are actually cholesterol “pumps”. (For example: 2 eggs omelette with tuna and butter) This point is particularly important when dealing with obese people, who usually already have another cardiovascular diseases.

Anxiety. The Atkins diet makes you give up all foods with carbohydrates: fruits, cereals and legumes. By rejecting these types of food, you may experience a band of severe nutritional deficiencies or psychological consequences, such as anxiety. Giving up the foods that you have been fed all your live and, therefore, your body is interpreting as healthy foods because they have allowed you to develop and grow is not natural and will probably cause you much stress.

Due to the lack of food energy in the diet, Atkins diet causes metabolic acidosis. People must understand that proteins are not a source of energy for the body, but they are only used as such when they are the only substrate that is ingested, which is an anomalous behavior of metabolism.

Metabolic acidosis causes: bone decalcification., hormonal changes such as altering the growth in children, irritability, malaise, headache, etc.

Overload kidney. As stated above, proteins are not designed to be a source of energy. When the body is forced to obtain energy from protein it generates waste that has to be excreted through urine. An excess of these residues (unbalanced protein diet) will cause the kidneys to work hard to remove.

Attacks of gout. Protein foods such as meat, fish, and shellfish are rich in purines, substances that are converted into uric acid in the body and in people with chronic gout accumulate and can cause a “gout attack”.

Other reasons to reject unbalanced protein diets

– At the economic level, Atkins diet is an expensive diet. Meat, fish and protein derivatives (ham, sausages,…) are more expensive than a diet with cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

From an ecological point of view, this type of protein diets are highly polluting and ecologically inefficient, because they incite the population to an overconsumption of meat, eggs and dairy products, which require intensive monocultures to feed animals that produce them.

If the destination of the cereals aimed to feed cattle was human consumption instead of animal, the health of the planet should be improved and, besides, we will not consume so many resources.

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This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 February, 2024

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