Mar 8, 2013

Atkins Diet Side Effects

Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet program which restricts the consumption of carbohydrates for weight loss purposes. It is a weight loss diet designed by Dr. Robert Atkins in the year 1972. In 1972, Dr. Atkins recommended a low-carb diet to treat obesity.

The foods high in carbohydrates are replaced by foods high in proteins and fats. The calories from the carbohydrates are compensated by the calories from the fats and proteins. This diet is not only used to treat obesity, but also to treat epilepsy or diabetes. However, there are certain side effects of thediet which one should be aware of, so let us take a look at the various Atkins diet side effects.

Facts About the Diet
  1. Atkins diet is a low carb diet based on the assumption that the carbohydrates are responsible for weight gain. Therefore, eliminating carbohydrates from the diet is very important. Instead, the calories from the carbohydrate are replaced by calories from proteins and fats.
  2. The very first thing you need to do is restrict the consumption of carbohydrates such that it must be only 40 g a day.
  3. When you restrict the intake of carbohydrates, the human body enters a state of ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns the fats in the body and uses it as a fuel for getting energy.
  4. According to this diet, when your body enters the state of ketosis, your body will start burning fats for energy and subside your cravings for carbohydrates.
  5. There are four phases in the Atkins diet, viz., induction phase, ongoing phase, pre-maintenance and maintenance phase.
  6. The induction phase is for the first 14 days, in which you can see an ongoing weight loss occurring. The rapid weight loss is due to the restricted intake of carbohydrates of only up to 20 g a day. The foods included in the induction phase include broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. The starchy foods like potatoes, yogurt etc. are eliminated from the daily diet.
  7. In the next stage, the ongoing phase, the intake of the carbohydrates is increased by 5 g.
  8. Pre-maintenance is the phase in which the weight loss is slowed down. After you reach the target weight, your weight maintenance phase starts and this phase includes carbohydrates, but not those which increase weight.
Once you get an overview of the diet plan, you can readily understand its side effects.

Atkins Diet Dangers

There are side effect of the diet, like bad breath, dizziness, tiredness, nausea and weakness. Let us discuss these side effects in detail.
  1. Due to low consumption of carbohydrates, the body enters a state of ketosis in which ketones are generated in the body.
  2. As the ketones are generated in the body, they are excreted from the body via urine and breath. This is the reason for bad breath that is typically seen in ketosis. For avoiding this, you must drink lots of water so as to excrete all the ketones in the body.
  3. According to the Atkins theory, people are addicted to foods high in sugar. When they follow the Atkins diet, the intake of carbohydrates is dropped suddenly, which causes withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, palpitations, cold sweating and weakness are seen. However, these symptoms disappear in three days, but if they persist for more than three days with an increased severity, you must stop the diet at once.
  4. Constipation is another major side effect of the Atkins diet. In this diet, you restrict the intake of foods high in fiber, that cause constipation. For avoiding this, you can make a salad of vegetables (only those as per the diet) and eat a lot of salads to avoid constipation.
  5. Some people on the Atkins diet may experience cramps which is mainly due to the lack of minerals. Hydrating your body very well and taking the required amounts of potassium and magnesium supplements may help you markedly.
If any of these side-effects is severe, you must consult the doctor immediately and stop the diet. Also, before starting any diet plan, you must consult a doctor as well as a certified dietitian. So, for best results, it is advisable to not follow any of these diet plans on your own.


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