Of what relevance is the "20 grams of carbs is 80 calories" sentence? Did you think that this was ALL one can eat on atkins? You can eat 3,000 calories per day if you want to, or more, and of healthy, body-building foods like eggs, fish and so on, and still be in the induction mode (the strictest two weeks) of Atkins. It's just the carb portion of your daily diet that is controlled to 20 grams (during the first two weeks), then increased gradually. Calorie count is not limited.
And of course, once those two weeks are over, your diet is getting more and more varied (and higher in carbs--gradually) with each passing week, and the calorie total can at all times be high--as fats are allowed, protein and "good" fats are even encouraged. And again, each new phase adds more choices of low or moderate carb foods.
If you read the book as you say, you missed rather a little of the meaning--try it again, but slowly this time. Or read "Protein Power," a different but similar approach.
I've been on Atkins for almost five years now and not only lost weight and kept it off, suffered no energy deficits or potassium crashes, my heart has not stopped beating from low calcium or other cause (I think--let me check for a pulse--ah, yes) of all the symptoms you list, I only get the leg cramps, and that only on days when I've cycled overmuch. Over these last few Atkins years, I eat a more varied diet, with more veggies and even some fruit, than I ever did when following religiously the standard american french-fries-and-white-bread-sandwich diet as so many of us do. I seem to be healthy--my blood fats are not just ok, they're low (maybe I'm just lucky), with high hdls, normal blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.
I've also discovered, over the last few months, that a person can even follow this diet while weight training, building muscle and strength, with little or no need for the glycogen-boosting carb loading so often recommended. The body makes glucose/glycogen from amino acids, as I'm sure you know. (So you must keep protein intake high to avoid catabolism.) I don't believe that low carb or any weight-control diet is the IDEAL plan for resistance training, but I just did not want to risk getting fat instead of strong, so stuck with low carb, and it does seem to be working for me.
I don't remember the last time I ate 100 grams of carbs in a day, but I sure ain't "doughy."
I believe the alarmist statements, that seem to get circulated and repeated endlessly, are simply incorrect. Not just because they are contrary to my life experience, but also unsupported by, or even contradicted by the research in the field.
[This message has been edited by sean (edited 11-21-2002).]