The Atkins diet brings lot of controversies among medical and healthcare experts.
On one end, many nutritional experts believe that this diet is a great solution for weight loss, as well as it can help in treating several medical conditions including heart diseases, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s, among many others.
However, some medical experts have serious concerns about this diet. This is mainly because they believe that by restricting carbohydrates, the Atkins diet eliminates several food groups that have important health benefits and great nutritional value.
Furthermore, opponents of the diet suggest that focusing on fats and proteins in the diet might lead to heart diseases. This belief is in complete opposition with the opinion of the supporters of the Atkins diet that believe that carbs are the main problem behind heart diseases.
Opinion in favor of the Atkins diet:
Supporters of the Atkins diet believe that following a low-carbohydrate diet, while focusing on protein and fat, is beneficial for weight loss among many other medical and health conditions.
The founder of the Atkins diet, Dr. Robin Atkins, is a cardiologist who believes that his diet is the optimal solution for weight loss and heart diseases mainly. He attributed carbohydrates to be the main cause for weight gain and other related diseases such as diabetes, and thus recommended restricting them from the food diet.
Some published studies have also supported the fact that a low-carbohydrate diet like the Atkins diet has beneficial effects on weight loss, and can be a good prevention for heart diseases among other conditions.
For instance, a one-year study titled” A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate diet For Obesity” published in The New England journal of medicine that compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet in obese men and women showed that the low-carb diet resulted in a more significant weight loss and it was associated with a decrease in some risk factors associated with heart diseases.
On the other hand, there are many opponents of the Atkins diet that do not believe in the theory that a low-carbohydrate diet is beneficial for health.
They claim that eliminating an entire food group is not something healthy to follow and should not be recommended, especially since the long-term effects of this diet are still unknown.
In addition, opponents of the Atkins diet also argue that the diet doesn’t put any restriction on protein and fat. Therefore, this diet incorporates higher levels than the normal recommended amounts which is not good for health.
According to them, this high intake of protein and fat can lead to several health conditions such as heart diseases which is in complete contradiction to what Atkins diet supporters believe in.
A recent prospective study titled “Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause and cause specific mortality: a population-based cohort study and pooling prospective studies” showed that individuals who followed low-carbohydrate diet were at greater risk of premature death and coronary heart disease compared to individuals who consumed carbohydrates regularly. A 32% higher risk of all-cause death was observed, and 51% higher risk from coronary heart disease.
The supporters of the Atkins diet argue against these findings by claiming that some important factors might have been ignored in these researches which affected the results. They also suggest that the sample in another study was not indicative, or the research has been biased or manipulated. The latter remains a major concern for many of the health experts who support the Atkins diet.