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Why Dr. Atkins' Plan Has Problems

Serious Flaws in the Design of the Atkinsâ??s Low-Carb Diet Sabotage Unwitting Dieters

If you have heart trouble go to a cardiologist. If you need dietary info go to a nutritional biochemist who has personal experience in being overweight and solving the problem. Atkins was a cardiologist.

Atkinsâ??s low-carb plan claimed that carbohydrates were the primary cause of overweight, and relegated calorie control to the trashbin:

* this mistake led to a flawed design from the top down
* the next problem was that Atkins had no idea how the body processes food as fuel
* it was impossible at this point to create an effective weight loss program

The First Major Blunder was Atkins Low-Carb â??Induction Phaseâ??

In the Induction Phase of Atkinsâ??s low-carb plan, one reduces carbohydrates to about 20 grams per day. Why is this a major mistake?

Your body has two different enzyme systems for processing fuel: one for processing fat and one for processing carbohydrates. And, our bodies are very efficient and donâ??t keep things around that weâ??re not using: if youâ??re eating lots of carbohydrates, the enzymes that process them increase, and the ones that process fat decrease.

Most people eat between 200-300 grams of carbohydrate each day. When you drop from that to 20 grams using Atkinsâ??s low-carb, you must burn fat for fuel. And thereâ??s plenty around: fat on your body and now fat from your diet.

But, the enzymes for processing fat are in shutdown mode because there was no reason for your cells to keep them fully active because you were forcing the body to burn carbs just because of the vast number you were consuming.

Now, you go from plenty of fuel to almost none. The fat IS there but you just canâ??t process it.

What happens next gave the naysayers all the fire-power they needed to condemn the Atkinsâ??s low-carb diet:

* nausea
* headaches
* excessive fatigue
* bad breath
* mental confusion
* lack of zest for living
* rapid ketosis develops (more on this later)

Atkinsâ??s Low-Carb Induction Phase is Survived Only by the Hardiest Individuals

When I first did Atkinsâ??s low-carb diet, many, many years ago, I promptly gained 5 pounds. You donâ??t tell a former football lineman that he can eat all the meat he wants because heâ??ll do it!

So, thatâ??s how it plays out: some gain weight on Atkinsâ??s low-carb plan, some (5-10%) lose lots of weight â?? more than 40 pounds â?? some lose 10-20 pounds, most (who do actually lose) lose 5-10 pounds and then hit the wall.

How did Atkins address weight loss plateaus? He had you cut your carbs by 5 gram increments until, in theory, you started to lose again. Rarely happened.

Of course, since carbs do not control weight and calories do, this plan could not possibly work. Few can tolerate living on less than 30 grams of carb per day.

Easy to give up on Atkinsâ??s diet at that point.

Ketosis: Atkinsâ??s Miracle for Slimness

When I did my PhD, I didnâ??t know much about ketones. If I had it would have made my work that much better.

I showed that exercising rats who had been administered estrogen switched to fat fuel as a source of energy, preferring it over carbohydrates. My work was published in the Journal of American Physiology. If I had known about ketones, Iâ??m sure I would have found that they were the preferred fuel.

Ketones form during:

* starvation
* eating a low-carb diet
* with estrogen administration
* each condition lowers insulin which controls the release of fat from fat cells: low insulin, fat releases; increased insulin causes both fat and carbohydrates (converted to fat) to be stored in the fat cell

The production of ketones is one of the primary negatives of this diet as claimed by the medical Establishment.

* ketones were first discovered in the urine of diabetics
* that led the medical Establishment to believe ketosis was very bad
* but thereâ??s physiological ketosis and pathological ketosis â?? one normal and one a disease
* using ketone sticks to test the urinary level is one way to determine ketosis

Ketones are a form of fat fuel. As the fat cell releases fat, it travels to the liver where itâ??s repackaged into a four carbon compound called a ketone body. This is released to the blood and becomes the primary fuel of all the tissues of the body including your brain and nerves.

(Atkins was unaware of much of this as I found out in 1989 when I was on his NY radio show as a guest. He took me to dinner and ate both his potato AND mine, sortaâ?? fell off the pedestal.)

Ketosis is a good thing because now you can begin to live off your own body fat and, MOST IMPORTANT, not experience hunger. So, ketosis is good.

How did Atkins mess it up? It takes time for your body to build up the enzymes to process ketones, at least 2-4 weeks. When theyâ??re fully flowered, you start burning all the ketones for fuel and there are none left to spill over into your urine.

You can see now why the Atkinsâ??s low-carb Induction Phase is such a disaster: canâ??t cut your carbs that hard without dys-regulating many processes. You can survive it, but itâ??s not easy, particularly when you have no idea what to expect (Atkins doesnâ??t tell his readers any of this).

So, when you quit losing weight, Atkinsâ??s low-carb plan has you cut more carbs to get back into ketosis (ketones in the urine is how he measures it). But few will spill because theyâ??re burning them as fuel. You cut carbs, as he says, but youâ??ll still stay stalled in your weight loss efforts.

What do you do? Quit the diet in utter frustation.

Atkins was right to try to create ketosis, but he just didnâ??t know how to do it correctly. The medical boys were wrong to claim ketosis was a bad thing. Be very careful when medical doctors try to do nutritional biochemistry.

Now that Atkins is Dead, What Happened to His Plan?

Since Atkinsâ??s death the low-carb program has become very popular. And, most follow his plan. Those who took over his company actually published a new book using his plan in its entirety. They have no clue about its extensive flaws.

The other problem is that they have embraced the Glycemic Index or the â??Good Carb/Bad Carbâ?? philosophy, integrating it into the overall plan. So now, the diet goes from bad to worse.

Hey, I suffered through a five pound weight gain on Atkinsâ??s low-carb when all I wanted to do was lose some weight.

It took several years for me to work out the issues, but when I finally understood the supremacy of calories and understood the dynamics of â??regulation of metabolismâ?? and issues related to enzyme function and adaptation, I was able to work out a plan based on how our body actually works.

If any one ha any questions about my research then please pm me or ask questions on here I will be glad to answer them !!!

Thanks
Dr.Ellis

What do you think of low carb-high fat-high protein programs in general? Many here are of the mind that they are far superior for fat loss and muscle retention.

[quote]Aussie Davo wrote:
What do you think of low carb-high fat-high protein programs in general? Many here are of the mind that they are far superior for fat loss and muscle retention.
[/quote]

They have worked for thousands of people–including some bodybuilders–just like high carb, low fat plans have worked for thousands of people–including some bodybuilders.

When combined with your other thread my only conclusion is to not eat.

What research or new science is there here?

SO, if I read your post right, you claim that the problem is with the induction phase of Atkin’s diet, especially the drastic reduction in carbohydrates. Ketosis, however, is good for adapting your body to burn fat. So, shouldn’t one simple cut carbohydrates gradually till the body becomes more fat adapted and does not create excess ketones?

And an interesting question - what do you think about quick carbs (Maltodextrin, dextrose) in the PWO shake if you are in ketosis? Should we or should we not exploit the advantages of carbs in the PWO window even if we are trying to lose fat via ketosis?

People say, at the end of the day, caloric deficit is the deciding factor, and low carb, low fat diets do not matter. However, can you look at it this way - low carb diet => you burn more fat than muscle and if you keep spiking your insulin like in a low fat diet, you would burn more muscle too. But then, for the same caloric defcit, will low fat diets cause twice as much “weight loss” because 1g protein (muscle) = 4 Cal and 1g fat = 9 Cal?

[quote]Fat Bastard. wrote:
SO, if I read your post right, you claim that the problem is with the induction phase of Atkin’s diet, especially the drastic reduction in carbohydrates. Ketosis, however, is good for adapting your body to burn fat. So, shouldn’t one simple cut carbohydrates gradually till the body becomes more fat adapted and does not create excess ketones?

And an interesting question - what do you think about quick carbs (Maltodextrin, dextrose) in the PWO shake if you are in ketosis? Should we or should we not exploit the advantages of carbs in the PWO window even if we are trying to lose fat via ketosis?

People say, at the end of the day, caloric deficit is the deciding factor, and low carb, low fat diets do not matter. However, can you look at it this way - low carb diet => you burn more fat than muscle and if you keep spiking your insulin like in a low fat diet, you would burn more muscle too. But then, for the same caloric defcit, will low fat diets cause twice as much “weight loss” because 1g protein (muscle) = 4 Cal and 1g fat = 9 Cal?[/quote]

That makes no sense! How would an insulin spike/response/release whatever you want to call it burn more muscle? Insulin is ANABOLIC and BUILDS tissues, not burn them for fuel! And carbs are protein sparing so go figure that logic out genius.

Im on the go on my phone right now … I will respond to everyone shortly !!

Thanks
Dr.Ellis

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Fat Bastard. wrote:
SO, if I read your post right, you claim that the problem is with the induction phase of Atkin’s diet, especially the drastic reduction in carbohydrates. Ketosis, however, is good for adapting your body to burn fat. So, shouldn’t one simple cut carbohydrates gradually till the body becomes more fat adapted and does not create excess ketones?

And an interesting question - what do you think about quick carbs (Maltodextrin, dextrose) in the PWO shake if you are in ketosis? Should we or should we not exploit the advantages of carbs in the PWO window even if we are trying to lose fat via ketosis?

People say, at the end of the day, caloric deficit is the deciding factor, and low carb, low fat diets do not matter. However, can you look at it this way - low carb diet => you burn more fat than muscle and if you keep spiking your insulin like in a low fat diet, you would burn more muscle too. But then, for the same caloric defcit, will low fat diets cause twice as much “weight loss” because 1g protein (muscle) = 4 Cal and 1g fat = 9 Cal?[/quote]

That makes no sense! How would an insulin spike/response/release whatever you want to call it burn more muscle? Insulin is ANABOLIC and BUILDS tissues, not burn them for fuel! And carbs are protein sparing so go figure that logic out genius. [/quote]

NO. I did not mean that. What I meant was, you keep spiking your insulin and take your body away from the fat burning mode AND create a caloric defcit, then something must be burned for energy. If you are burning only fat, all is good. But if you are out of that mode, I guessed you may burn muscle too.

Like, how you would look very different eating healthy foods and losing weight compared to taking enough EPA/DHA from Flameout, taking centrum and driniking pepsi to make up for all your calories.

What I deduced from post:

Atkins diet is hard.