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How Atkins works!

Just saw a really interesting science program investigating the Atkins Diet.

The findings were:
That it doesn’t work because it has low carbs.
It doesn’t work because of the high fat.
It doesn’t work because of ketosis.
It doesn’t burn more calories than a similar moderate carb diet.

ITS BECAUSE: (drum roll please)
The high protein content makes you less hungry! And subsequently you eat less.

Hmm; sounds to me like the investigators need to do some more investigating. I’m sure the fact that your bloodsugar levels are stable by default has something to do with it, and its probably the high fat that kills your appetite more than the protein. I believe one of the reasons for the high fat content of the diet is to ensure that your body doesn’t rely too much on protein, thereby cannibalizing muscle tissue for energy. I believe the body is capable of converting some amino acids into glucose for the necessary body functions that require it; and since the body seems to prefer glucose for energy, if you weren’t getting enough fat calories, you might start eating yourself (for lack of a better term). Its also likely that you eat less because of the slow digestion of fats and proteins.

The research seems to be correct from the standpoint that you have to be hypocaloric to lose weight; I think there are other factors as well.

I believe any diet works as long as calories are kept in check. The other day here in Australia I saw a show with the article being that of a diet that was high in protein and moderate in carbs and fat. I’ll get the % later. But the main conclusion was that the reason why it worked was because people who tried this diet tended to eat less calories of a protein source than of the carb source. eg. you can eat alot more pasta or rice in the way of calories, than say a steak.

That’s really interesting. Any info about the research behind this (names)?

Before Christmas there was a bunch of controversy on a long Atkins thread. It aroused my curiosity to read The New Diet Revolution during my Christmas vacation. (Also because I had little else to do at my parents’ house, and my mom owns practically every diet book ever written. Also because lots of my friends are “doing” Atkins.)

The induction phase, as I read it, prescribed a lot of fat and a moderate amount of protein. It seemed like a high-fat, not a high-protein diet, to me. I’m thinking 70% fat, 30% protein, but I’m not sure I remember correctly.

There was another study recently that showed people lost more weight on Atkins than they did with a higher carb diet of the same calories. I think they even factored in initial water loss. T-mag reported on this in the news section a while back.

I always found a high protein meal left me hungry about 90 minutes later, whereas a high carb meal was very satiating, and I might eat only 2 or 3 times a day.

They’re wrong. I’m too tired to reply more right now, but will do so tomorrow. Ketosis is a very misunderstood phenemenon.

Well I must admit that I was very sceptical watching this program but the research seemed very well funded and planned. As the evidence was presented bit by bit I became more and more convinced.
The programme was a well respected UK science documentary program (Horizon) made by the BBC, I have videoed it and will check it over for the names of the researchers e.t.c. and post later.

While it’s true that higher protein intakes will blunt hunger to a certain extent, and have a higher TEF as compared to either fat or carbohydrate, I’m not sure this is the secret. If you ever try to just eat a bunch of protien, you’re going to get hungry–the high fat intake is the “magic trick” that makes it all go, IMHO.

Anyway, it’s an interesting debate. I’m definitely looking forward to Thunder’s contribution, I bet he understands this WAY more thoroughly than I do.

Dan “The Student” McVicker

Couple of questions…

  1. Was there any update on the Immunonutrition article? Even if you do the Atkins diet, if you take in food that your allergenic (or borderline allergenic), you`re playing against yourself.

Personnaly, in all of my failed Atkins attempts, I always thought that I could eat whatever was non-carb and that I would still get thinner. I thought cheese was the wonder for the protein+fat. Same thing for ham (sliced). But I found it quite bizarre that I was more bloated (and looked fatter even) after one week that when I was not paying attention. Reading got and experimenting me to think that allergic to dairy and gluten. I can take some very small quantities in a day (just to prevent ketoacidosis), and when I do its 5-6 hours apart. For the dairy, the only source I use is melted cheese (yogurt and milk makes me bloat/feel doo-doo far more than cheese) in Tubway wraps. Ditto for carbs. Its either a potato patty in the toaster or the high-fiber Tubway wrap. Other than that, none (except natural sugars in veggies, and even there it`s a mix of them). Energy levels are incredible since, and I feel litteraly more. Skin problems dissapear in half the time.

  1. Dont be afraid to test different things. Only results count. Dare to experiment. You are unique, and its up to you to find the combination that truly works for you. Very much like the blood-type diet premises: one mans food is another mans poison. T-Mag will give you tons of alternatives and techniques, but ultimately…Know Thyself.

Regarding Davo2’s post citing results between high and low carb diets, it goes to show that a calorie is by no means a calorie. As has been said many many times in this forum before and has been written many many times in the print version of Testosterone.

Its what you put in your pie hole and how that makes the difference. Also, some people do better on certain types of diets because of how their bodies work. Not really arguing…just augmenting the calorie cliche.


The main factor in whether or not you lose weight is caloric intake. So, there is truth to what was said in the original post.

However, there are other factors involved (insulin, etc.) that makes a ketogenic diet a btter choice for many people.

I don’t know the source of the study that stated that the main cause of weight reduction on Atkins is the high satiety of protein+fat foods, but I think that they have definitely oversimplified the principles and mechanics behind the diet. When the body is depleted of glucagen,it’s preferred energy source, it enters ketosis. Once in ketosis, the body shifts from burning glucagen for energy to burning the bodies next best energy store, fat. Because fat is almost always readily available, this eliminates the swings in blood sugar found in common CHO dominant diets. The thinking is that your body burns more fat on this diet due to the fact that it is not waffling between burning glucagen and burning fat, it is almost exclusively using fat as an energy source.

To add to the already diminished caloric intake (whatever, I only care of results), the body uses energy to process protein far more than carbs, so the net caloric of contribution of a gram of protein is even lower than in theory.

Isnt it time they revised thatoven` calculated calorie stupidity?

Who cares what carbs do in an oven? Your body is not an oven. Sure, its an oxydation machine. But it ends there. Why dont they use jet fuel in caloric studies? Because the body does not process it. And even if it did, it would never be the same process. Different processes, different outcomes.

I`d rather study the Krebs cycle than some a-couple-of-decades-old way of counting calories. At least the Krebs is based on cell processes.

(Shakes head. And were supposed to be in 2004?)

Been real busy lately so I am being lazy and posting a post I found on another site (albeit sightly edited cause most t-maggers are pretty clued up and its a long post!)

The controversial and popular Atkins diet works for reasons that Dr Atkins may not have fully understood, the BBC 2 programme Horizon has discovered.

Through a series of scientific experiments the programme shows that although the diet allows people all the fat and protein they want, they actually eat as few calories as people on low fat diets.

And the reason for this, according to recent research is because the quantity of protein the regime encourages, acts like an appetite suppressant.

Horizon teamed up with the University of Kansas and commissioned a scientific investigation to test Dr Atkins’ most controversial theory.

This states that on his diet you actually burn more calories than usual - allowing you to lose more weight.

Dr Atkins had two ideas about where the extra calories were going. Firstly, he believed you burn more calories when your body uses fats and proteins as fuel.

Dr Atkins also believed that on his diet you lose unused calories by peeing them away, as part of a process known as ketosis, which happens when you stop eating starchy foods and sugar.

Twins’ study
In Horizon’s investigation identical twins were put on different diets, one on the Atkins diet and one on a conventional low fat diet. Each was fed identical amounts of calories for two weeks.

The twins were then locked inside a sealed chamber so that Professor Joseph Donnelly could calculate how quickly their bodies were burning calories. (By measuring oxygen respiration)

Over 24 hours the twin on the Atkins diet did lose more calories than the twin on low fat, but only 22.

Professor Donnelly even checked the twins’ urine for calories and found that the Atkins dieter had lost less than a single calorie more than his brother on low fat.

Donnelly concluded that: “the differences were too small to suggest there’s anything significant going on”.

Even though this research is at an early stage, there is little evidence for Dr Atkins’ wasted calorie theories.

Real reason
Horizon examines other studies that reveal the real reason scientists believe the Atkins diet is effective.

New results from research conducted on the popular BBC series ‘Diet Trials’ (the largest diet study ever) offer the first clue.

The study examined the Atkins diet and three low fat, low calorie diets of 240 dieters.

All four diets worked, but Dr Joe Millward at the University of Surrey who headed up the research, discovered the secret to why Atkins dieters

“The Atkins dieters were eating less calories, in exactly the same way as those going to the slimming clubs on their low fat diets.”

Without apparently trying, people on the Atkins diet were eating less than they would normally.

Controlling hunger
Scientists are now more interested than ever in what makes us eat less. They have concluded that there is something about the Atkins diet that controls hunger.

Research has shown that fat is the least filling food. But new work in Denmark is showing exactly what kinds of food may control hunger.

Professor Arne Astrup, from the Royal Veterinary & Agricultural University in Copenhagen, built a supermarket for a special study to find the secret of appetite control.

Professor Astrup’s study focused on being able to eat as much as you want.

He put one group of shoppers on a high protein diet and one on a high carbohydrate diet.

He was surprised to find that the people eating more protein lost significantly more weight.

“The reason they lost more weight was because they consumed fewer calories, despite the fact they had free access to all the food they wanted.”

Perhaps without realising it, Dr Atkins stumbled across the secret of appetite control, by discovering a high protein diet.

The programme also investigates whether or not the Atkins diet is dangerous.

With no long term studies on the diet, any possible health risks of the diet are, so far, unproven.

this would be my first post to this forum.i have tried the fat fast diet that was spoken about in other threads trying to keep my caloric intake about 1000-1200 per day . some days i did stray from the protein/flax oil and ate pork chops,tons of eggs,and bacon. did have the occasional salad but made sure i didnt go above 20g carb a day if i did(saw it on the atkins website). anyhow in four weeks i dropped 15.5 lbs, and this was during the holidays to boot.
im sure that if i were to have been more strict, and included cardio ,and hot-rox i would have lost more. but i haven’t been this weight in more than two years and getting below 10%bf seemed nearly impossible. i wouldnt recommend a ketogenic diet for the long term but it did help jumpstart my progress.
thanks alot
p.s. i drank at least ten glasses of water a day as well

I agree that a ketogenic diet is a great way to jumpstart weightloss. Although, from my personal experience, the diet should not be adheared to for a long period of time. I just came off the ketogenic diet in December. I was on for 6 months and lost a substantial amount of bodyfat. The thing is, toward the end, I was also starting to lose strength and muscle mass.

Bump if anyones interested I posted more info about the research