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Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is the most popular of the low carb diets that are around nowadays. Dr. Atkins treated over 10,000 patients successfully and has a series of books the first one of which was published in 1972. It is a kind of diet that is not conventional in anyway and therefore is so popular due to the fad-crazed culture we live in.

There are four steps to the Atkins diet. The first phase is the induction and is the strictest part of the diet plan. This part of the plan restricts you to very limited amounts of carbohydrates a day.

The second stage is where one starts the process of Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL). The OWL stage of the process consists of an increase in carbohydrate consumption all the while remaining at weight loss level. The kinds of foods here can be fruits or vegetables.

In the pre-maintenance stage, carbohydrate levels are increased a little again until you find your key level for carbohydrates in order for most efficient maintenance. Finally the last stage consists of carrying on the habits used in the previous stages for life. Whole and healthy foods are encouraged.

The Atkins diet gained recognition in 2003 when many TV commercials aired on U.S. television promoting a new book. A research conducted by Forbes showed that the Atkins plan was one of the five most expensive diet plans in the United States. It was seen to be less expensive that the Jenny Craig diet but slightly more expensive than the Weight Watchers diet.

Low-carbohydrate diets have been the subject of heated debate in medical circles for three decades. A 2001 scientific review by Obesity Research magazine concluded that low-carb dieters' initial advantage in weight loss was a result of increased water loss, and that after the initial period, low-carb diets produce similar fat loss to other diets with similar caloric intake. The Atkins Diet came last in terms of weight lost at the end of the year.

The low-carbohydrate diet produced a greater weight loss for the first six months, but the differences were not significant at one year. The low-carbohydrate diet was associated with a greater improvement in some risk factors for coronary heart disease. Longer and larger studies are required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diets.

Proponents of the Atkins diet feel much of the criticism leveled at the diet comes from statements and opinions of individuals and associations, rather than from controlled and reviewed studies. Advocates of the diet dispute criticisms based on the fact that a low-carb diet is likely to be high fat and allegations that fat, especially saturated fat is harmful.

Atkins backers maintain that, aside from trans fat, saturated fat is not harmful. Critics of the Atkins diet may focus particularly on Atkins, or on low-carb dieting in general. The 22 May 2003, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published two scientific, randomized studies comparing standard low-fat diets to low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins Diet. Longer and larger studies are required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diets.

The study followed the diets of 63 obese men and women. In conclusion, although a small number of short-term studies have been carried out, that indicate that Atkins-style diet may help dieters achieve comparable weight loss with other dieting methods, no long term study has yet to be carried out.


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