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Old 05-04-2003, 02:02 AM   #1
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Red face Is Atkins Safe?

Many Atkins devotees swear by this diet and defend it like religion, but is it really safe?

 
Old 05-04-2003, 09:02 AM   #2
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IMO it is not safe. It's a dangerous quick fix diet. Advocating high fat, high protein. Atkins does have some good health info in his book, but the core of the diet is flawed. A diet should not be a quick fix, but a lifestyle change. Try reading Gary Null's Ultimate Lifetime Diet.

[This message has been edited by The Borg (edited 05-04-2003).]

 
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:32 AM   #3
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In my opinion, which is supported by research and 4 years of personal experience, the Atkins diet is not dangerous and in fact is quite healthy. Dr. Atkins diet is not a quick fix diet - like any diet that works for the long haul, it must be considered a lifestyle change. You don't have to maintain the ultra low carb levels throughout the diet that are required during the induction period, which are to break the carb and sugar cravings, but you still have to keep those junk carbs off your list of normally eaten foods if you expect to maintain the weight loss and the health benefits of this diet. If you've read the book and experienced the results of the diet, it forever changes your attitude towards carbohydrates, especially the sugars and highly refined grains that cause so many health problems today.

You will always find naysayers to this way of eating, especially from those that have never read a book on low carb dieting or those of the vegetarian persuasion. Don't just look for opinions, because everyone has one, kinda like ......, but do some research and look at the science behind it.

Alan
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:51 AM   #4
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But the Atkins Diet is a lifestyle change. Over the past 30 years or so we have completely turned the food pyramid upside down, thus creating our current epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Atkins was right all along when he repeatedly stated that we are consuming far too many carbohydrates. Many people mistakenly assume that the Atkins Diet strictly prohibits ALL fruits and vegetables, and allows only fats and protein. Not true! Only during the induction phase of the diet is when carbohydrates are most restricted, in order to kick-start the weight-loss process. Afterwards, more carbohydrates are gradually added back into the diet, until you have arrived at an optimum daily intake that would enable you to maintain your desired weight. So, you see, it's not just some fad diet. It was never meant to be. It is a lifestyle change. Whether or not people have the will and the determination to successfully follow through with such changes is entirely up to them.
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Old 05-04-2003, 11:17 AM   #5
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Read this:

There are numerous ways to lose weight. However effective they may be, some are just not safe. A meat-based, low fiber diet like Atkins advocates with no fruit, or starchy vegetables, will almost double your risk of certain cancers, especially of meat-sensitive cancers, such as colon cancer. Atkins' plan works to cause weight loss much in the same manner as an insulin dependent diabetic.
Dangers of the Atkins Diet
by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

Robert Atkins' books, as well as other authors, advocating high-protein weight loss plans, recommend diets for health and weight loss with significantly more animal protein than is usually consumed by the average American. Americans already eat almost 50% of calories from animal products, and as a result of such nutritional extravagance we have seen a tragic skyrocketing in cancer rates and heart disease rates in the last 50 years.

In spite of the hokum and hoopla, as a result of hundreds of scientific studies, the link between animal protein and various cancers is as solid now as the link between smoking and lung cancer. This is not to say that animal foods are the sole cause of cancer, but clearly it is the increased consumption of animal product and the decreased consumption of fresh produce that has the most powerful effect on cancer risks.

These recent books aren't new, just a rehash of the same diets advocated years ago. They are just as dangerous today. Unfortunately, the lay public has always been a sucker for a quick, painless way to achieve results so they can continue their love affair with rich and dangerous foods.

Dr. Atkins' book actually recommends such foods as fried pork rinds and bacon cheeseburgers. It states on the first page: "Imagine losing weight with a diet that lets you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, heavy cream in your coffee, plenty of meat and even salad with dressing for lunch and dinner!"

No wonder Dr. Atkins calls it a "diet revolution."

There are numerous ways to lose weight. However effective they may be, some are just not safe. We certainly would not advocate smoking cigarettes or snorting cocaine for weight loss (even though they may be effective) as both these methods sharply increase one's risk of a heart attack. We should not advocate weight loss via drugs, or high-protein, high-fat diets for the same reason; you may pay a substantial price: your life!

A meat-based, low fiber diet like Atkins advocates with no fruit, or starchy vegetables, will almost double your risk of certain cancers, especially of meat-sensitive cancers, such as colon cancer.

Stomach and esophageal cancer, for example are linked to populations that do not consume sufficient fruit. Atkins' menus average 60-75% of calories from fat and contain no fruit.

One reason he gets support is that the diet does work to cause weight loss and the conventional diet is so unhealthy and fattening that people need to do something that works. Being overweight is such a health risk that there are some real health benefits one receives from losing weight, even if the mode of weight loss places the person at increased risk. Losing weight, even by a high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber diet will lower triglycerides, decrease insulin resistance, and lower blood pressure, for example.

Since these high-protein diets strongly forbid refined carbohydrates and junk food and the nutritionally depleted white pasta and bread most Americans live on, and recommend the dieter consume hundreds of dollars of nutritional supplements each month; they may offer more micronutrient density than the diet the person was on prior. However, no matter how much supplements and psyllium fiber are prescribed, it is simply impossible to make up for the destructive effects of so much animal products and so little fibrous produce.

It is indeed difficult to believe so many people can't see through this insanity, and actually take everything we know about cancer prevention and longevity, and do the exact opposite. The diet is completely opposed to our primate heritage, with almost no fiber, utilizing the precise foods labeled as the primary causes of cancer and heart attacks. The foods that have been shown to prevent cancer such as, fruit, yellow and orange vegetables and beans have been specifically excluded from the diet. Then they are told to take supplements to make up for the deficiencies. Does this make sense to you?

So how does this diet work? How can you eat all the fat and grease that you want and still lose weight?

When the body can't find enough carbohydrates to properly run its machinery, it produces ketones, an emergency fuel that can be utilized in times of crisis or fasting.

Built into our genetic code is the ability to survive periods of time without food, such as periods of food scarcity, or natural disasters. Since we are primates, designed by nature to survive on a plant-based diet, rich in carbohydrates; when our cells realize they are not receiving sufficient fuel (glucose), the body receives messages to dip into its fat reserves to produce ketones as an emergency fuel in such rough times. Ketones rise in our bloodstream and the body begins to lose fat in spite of a large consumption of high fat animal foods.

This plan works to cause weight loss much in the same manner as an insulin dependent diabetic. The high levels of sugar can't enter the cells without insulin, so the cell are still starving for glucose. Ketones then flood the bloodstream, and loss of body fat occurs.

One pays a substantial price from such a diet which generates a chronic ketosis. Besides the increased cancer risk, the kidneys are placed under increased stress and will age more rapidly. It can take many, many years for such damage to be detected by blood tests and by the time it is detected irreversible damage might have already occurred. The blood tests that monitor kidney function do not begin to increase until more than 80% of the kidneys have been destroyed.

Even in my private medical practice, I have already seen numerous diabetic patients who have permanently damaged their kidneys as a result of attempting weight loss and diabetic control with high-protein diets. One diabetic patient, John Lyle, lost weight after being a patient at The Atkins' Center, and his diabetes did improve, but his creatinine, a marker of kidney function went from 1.2 pre-Atkin's to 2.3 when he stopped one year later. This represents a loss of 95% of his kidney function in one year while on the Atkins' diet.

He was not informed at The Atkins' Center that a plant-based diet of natural foods would also cause fast, effortless and permanent weight loss and cure his diabetes without causing him serous health risks. John was angry he wasn't given such a choice.

It is the extra weight, the fat on the body, that causes the insulin resistance. As long as one successfully loses weight, carbohydrates are not a problem to the diabetic. Remember, losing weight healthfully is the key.


 
Old 05-04-2003, 12:38 PM   #6
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You seem to be dwelling primarily on the induction phase of this diet, which is short term. This does not continue for 20 or 30 years, but only a matter of weeks. Certainly, low-sugar fruits are permitted, as well as many vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, string beans, wax beans, cabbage, beet greens, caulifower, chard, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, spinach, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, okra, pumpkin, turnips, avocado, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, snow pea pods, sauerkraut. Although beef, chicken, pork, fish, and eggs are also permitted, I do not understand why anyone would view this way of eating as being prohibitively restrictive, all fat, or unhealthy. But I suppose there will always be somewhat of a backlash from those who simply cannot live without their starchy high-glycemic foods, cakes, pies, candy, donuts, chips, cookies, and God only knows what else.
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Old 05-04-2003, 06:51 PM   #7
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Does the Dr. Atkins diet advocate eating lots of whole grains? There's a big difference between whole grains and refined grains in processed foods. I realize that few people grind up their whole grains, like I do in a Vitamix, however millet and brown rice are easy to prepare for anyone. Both millet and brown rice are also easy-to-digest. I'm sure you all could find other whole grains that don't require special grinding processors. I just like using the Vitamix - I make so many natural foods - that taste so good this way.

Do some research about whole grains and the affect they have on some persons with adult-onset diabetes. I think some of you would be surprised...they are actually recommended.

I think eating natural foods (non-processed) is the best way to go (in my humble opinion). I consume very little meats - I still too wonder about all studies linking cancer to high meat diets. I've brought this up many times, and no-one has answered me. Why is there a correlation between high meat diets and cancer? Why isn't this discussed more openly? I think people should know...that if they eat high meat diets...that they are at a higher risk of developing cancer. Thanks to one of the previous posters for bringing this up.

Also the other thing people should be aware of...is that high meat diets are mucus forming foods in the intestine. Mucus reducing foods are grapes, citrus fruits, and many other fibrous plant-based foods. What type of cesspool are we creating for ourselves with tons of dairy products, eggs, and meat? I consume eggs and some dairy products, so I'm part of this too, but I wonder what damage we do to ourselves.

Any comments concerning cancer risk and damage to our colons? The other individual mentioned kidney damage. That's very important too.

By the way, I've always stated that I have deep respect for Dr. Atkins. I think his vision of complementary care is commendable - where he was concerned about preventative care and also the best medical treatment possible. Prevention and positive lifestyles are important - and I believe that Dr. Atkins had his heart into it - as a very caring individual. I just have a hard time believing that a high meat diet is so good. I follow a low-meat, natural food diet that I think would make the Dr. Atkins diet more in line with the best opportunities for health...in my opinion....

 
Old 05-04-2003, 07:48 PM   #8
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As far as carbohydrates are concerned, it is the complex carbohydrates, particularly those that are low on the glycemic index, which are permitted. In regard to saturated fats, Atkins himself stated the following: "As for saturated fats, although I've produced plenty of evidence that on a low-carbohydrate diet they're not a critical issue, I do encourage my patients to consume them at a proportionally lower level than other fats. A diet high in fish, and thus high in polyunsaturated fatty acids that contain omega-3, is tremendously beneficial. Unsaturated fats such as linseed oil and walnut, soybean, sesame, sunflower, and safflower oils are also nutritionally valuable. Since fats are stored in the body much as we consume them, a favorable ratio of those fats to such saturated fats as beef, lamb, and butter is certainly to be recommended." Obviously, although you are not required to eat meat every day, you can still be on the Atkins diet. And what about the Greenlanders, who consume very little, if any carbohydrates, and consume almost nothing but the meat and blubber from seals and small whales? Yet their incidence of cancer and heart disease is far lower than ours.
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Old 05-04-2003, 10:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by rhody:
...Do some research about whole grains and the affect they have on some persons with adult-onset diabetes. I think some of you would be surprised...they are actually recommended.
Yes, they are beneficial for diabetics if you compare them to sugar and highly refined grain products. Which is better for someone with diabetes, a slice of Wonder bread or a slice of real whole grain bread? No doubt about it the whole grain bread since it has more fiber and results in a smaller bloodsugar rise than the highly refined white bread. That is what the studies that I have read show. It's all relative. Even diabetics have to eat something, so the studies compare the poor diet that most Americans consume to something less processed and slightly healthier, and the results show that the less processed foods have a benefit. No rocket science there.

Quote:
I think eating natural foods (non-processed) is the best way to go (in my humble opinion).
I wholeheartedly agree.

Quote:
I still too wonder about all studies linking cancer to high meat diets. I've brought this up many times, and no-one has answered me. Why is there a correlation between high meat diets and cancer? Why isn't this discussed more openly? I think people should know...that if they eat high meat diets...that they are at a higher risk of developing cancer.
What studies? Can you provide medical journal references? What type of meat was used in these studies (processed and loaded with nitrate preservatives or natural unprocessed meat)?

I think we've hashed this out before If I remember correctly. Way back then, the studies you referred to compared Seventh Day Adventist vegetarians to the general population (which eats meat) and concluded that the vegetarians had less cancer and lived longer than the meat eaters. These studies are often quoted on the net. But the studies fail to address the generally healthier lifestyle that the Seventh Day Adventists follow compared to the general population - things like no smoking, little or no alcohol, less processed foods, etc. To claim that all of their benefits are due to not eating meat is absurd.

Quote:
Also the other thing people should be aware of...is that high meat diets are mucus forming foods in the intestine. What type of cesspool are we creating for ourselves with tons of dairy products, eggs, and meat?
What does mucus have to do with anything? What diseases or ailments are directly associated with mucus?

Quote:
The other individual mentioned kidney damage. That's very important too.
I have been unable to find any scientific studies linking increased meat consumption with an increased risk of kidney damage. Those with impaired kidney function (usually caused by excessive alcohol consumption or extremely high bloodsugar levels) are cautioned not to consume excessive amounts of protein because of the strain that processing protein places on the kidneys, but this is not the same thing as saying that increased protein intake causes kidney damage. This often gets twisted around to support the writers bias against meat consumption. Along those same lines of logic, you could claim that exercise causes heart damage because it places an increased strain on the heart. Sure, somebody with a prexisting heart condition should probably limit strenous activities and be closely monitored, but in the healthy, excercise makes the heart stronger. The same can be said for protein intake and healthy kidney function.

Alan


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Old 05-04-2003, 10:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Borg:
Read this:...by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Those of us that have been on these boards for years have seen this and similar "opinions" before, and as usual, they have no scientific references to support their claims. Typical vegetarian rants and raves against the Atkins diet.

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Old 05-05-2003, 08:08 PM   #11
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Alan,

There are numerous articles and studies describing the correlation between cancer and high meat diets. You can find these on the internet. I'm not saying that they can prove anything, but there are definite correlations. Some forms of cancer are rare (like nearly non-existent) in some countries.... Check it out - I'm sure you'll see them. Previously, I only showed you a couple of studies. There are lots more.

As far as mucus in the intestine goes.... That's a very interesting subject in itself. Have you reviewed it? You might want to read up about it. There's graphic pictures and studies on the internet about this too. It's kind of gross what we do to our bodies. The mucus forms so thick like old rubbery tires, such that hardly anything can pass through. When the colon gets so thick with this stuff, it can actually collapse. There's a name for this, that I can't quite remember right now.

As far as kidney damage and high meat diets, there's opinions about that in both directions. You can also read about how some people feel that high meat diets will promote greater chances for heart disease.

The "jury is not out" with the Dr. Atkins diet. I think there are some admirable things about this diet (like avoiding junk foods etc.), however there are a lot more things to review and research.

Anyone else care to jump in and discuss?

 
Old 05-06-2003, 07:57 AM   #12
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Sigh . . .

Well, first back to the original question . . . obviously there is differing opinions. Atkins was vilified by most traditional medical types for many, many years. But recent studies have been showing that many of the criticisms were not justified and did not have a basis in fact - more study needed, and hopefully will come. Bottom line, there has not been one documented case of the Atkins plan causing anyone any physical damage.

I certainly enjoy hearing differing opinions - for an occasional reality check and to see what seems to be working for others - but, my goodness, when you've got a piece like the one posted by the The Borg, where do you go from there? Atkins promotes NO fruit? You only have to read a couple of pages of his book to know that is absolutely untrue. So, what can you do but presume that the rest of the stuff the guy writes is equally inaccurate? I mean, at least read the book before you are going to criticize someone.

There are so many factors that go into health that are not figured by so many studies. How long did it take them to figure out that all fat was not the same? And even now, any study I know of does not differentiate saturated fats and trans-fats? Would the outcome be different? It would be nice to know. So, I agree with Alan. What meat is being consumed? Regular, "good old America", hormone-dosed, grain-fed beef?

How do we know the mucus comes from meat?

 
Old 05-06-2003, 08:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by auntjudyg:
How do we know the mucus comes from meat?
That is a very good question.

The biochemical name for mucus is mucopolysaccharide. poly = many, saccharide = sugar. This literally means "mucus of many sugars," and it implies mucus is formed through the linking together of sugar molecules. So, I don't see what connection there is between meat consumption and excess mucus formation. Milk maybe because of its sugar (lactose) content, but not meat, eggs, or even cheese which is low in sugar. If you are concerned about mucus formation, you would do well to stop or limit your intake of simple sugars and non-fiberous complex carbohydrates (which convert to simple sugars upon digestion). Milk might be something to consider limiting also.


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Old 05-06-2003, 11:29 AM   #14
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Isn't it funny that in spite of all the available evidence, and the countless success stories, the medical jargon always seems to remain the same: "More studies are needed." More studies? For what? Doesn't the available evidence already speak for itself? By the way, this sort of procrastination also applies to the lack of endorsement of many nutritional supplements as well. In spite of any obvious benefits, the conclusion always appears to be "more studies are needed. We do not recommend at this time that people should...blah...blah....blah." In other words, in spite of the potential benefits, people are supposed to sit back and do nothing, and wait another 10 or 20 years, or however long these studies take. Actually, this whole scenario has become quite silly, but all too common, just like one big political circus. In the meantime, a lot of bickering back and forth ensues. It becomes much like one big political quagmire with a lot of microanalyzing going on, where one study contradicts another study, and a lot of time and money is wasted. Here we have nutritious, naturally occurring edible foods, and all people end up doing is scratching their heads and arguing, spending millions of dollars trying to determine whether or not it is okay to eat these foods. Huh? Have we gone crazy? Remember, we are all individuals, so what works for each and everyone of us is what matters most. So, to all those people who have been successful and seen their health improve on the Atkins diet, it wouldn't matter in the least what a hundred additional studies may indicate.
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Old 05-06-2003, 06:02 PM   #15
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I am with you all the way borg. Both dr's I went to when I was overweight implied I should not do atkins long term, especially since I am prone to bladder infections and it is not well known the affect it can have on the kidneys. I am not willing to risk my health so I can pee in a bag the rest of my life...

I lost weight the sensible way. By eating from all food groups and eating in moderation. It makes sense, and both doctors seemed to agree. It has worked for me and I have kept it off for years now with ease. I am glad to finally see someone whom I agree with on this board.

 
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