Dispelling the Myths and Revealing the Facts
In fact it is still quite a controversial low carbohydrate diet plan, but it is an extremely effective weight loss plan that is followed successfully by millions of people across the globe – so don’t let any misinformation put you off from giving it try.
I hope that in this article I can dispel a lot of the myths and rumors that surround this diet plan.
The Internet is full of websites and forums that seek to discredit the Atkins diet, most because they are trying to promote their own weight loss plans. But, Atkins Nutritionals Inc. stand by their plan, backing it up with sound, scientific evidence.
Now, I am by no means associated with Atkins Nutritionals Inc. – or any other ‘diet for quick weight loss’ company, for that matter. I am just what you might call a concerned citizen, or, more precisely, a person who used to be seriously overweight but who is now at (or at least somewhere in the close vicinity of) my ideal weight. And, after having tried out many different diets for weight loss, the Atkins Diet turned out to be the one for me.
On this page I’ve gathered together some of the most common myths you will hear when you mention that you are on, or are thinking about starting, the Atkins diet program.
What follows are 10 common myths about the Atkins diet. And, just for the sake of balance, towards the end of this page, I’ve added a few actual facts about this diet plan as well.
Myth no. 1: The Atkins Diet Is Unhealthy: FALSE
False. The diet is a balance of meat, fruit and vegetables that are high in soluble fiber and good fats such as olive oil. It limits the consumption of processed foods and refined carbohydrates (sugars).
Followers have the option of cutting fat from their meat or leaving it, most will trim the fat.
Losing weight is beneficial to anyone suffering from high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux, high cholesterol, and many other weight related disorders. The steady weight loss achieved by following the Atkins diet leads to lower blood pressure, better cardiovascular health, and an all round increase in general fitness and wellness.
Myth no. 2: You Can Eat as Much Fat or Protein as You Like on the Diet: FALSE
False. Sorry. The plan recommends you should eat between 120-180 g of protein per day. And dairy fat is limited to 120 g of cheese, 30 g of sour cream or 2-3 tablespoons of cream.
The Atkins diet also recommends that no more than 20% of your diet should be in the form of saturated fats.
So, you can see from this that fat and protein intake is not unlimited. As the diet is keen to stress, eating fat does not make you fat, so long as you ensure your body is burning fat for its energy and not carbs – which it will be if you are using the Atkins food list and are following the diet plan correctly.
Myth no. 3: You Can’t Eat Any Carbohydrate at All While on the Diet: FALSE
False. The Atkins diet is a low carb diet, not a no carb diet.
You begin in the induction phase by having up to 20 g of net carbs per day (for more information on net carbs see the Atkins diet food list), as you move through phases 2-4 you gradually increase your carbohydrate intake until you reach a point where you are maintaining your goal weight.
Carbohydrates are eaten on the Atkins plan, the difference being that the carbohydrate foods on the acceptable food list have all been selected because they are high fiber whole foods – so no refined carbs allowed!
Myth no. 4: The Diet Leaves You Feeling Tired and Lethargic: FALSE
False. In fact, the opposite might very well be the case: You may soon feel more energetic overall.
On the diet you will change the balance of your carbohydrate, fats and protein intake.
By eating fewer carbs your body produces less insulin and blood glucose levels remain steady. This helps to boost your energy levels, and keep it on an even plane – no more peaks and toughs from the sugar highs and lows.
Myth no. 5: The Atkins Diet Lacks Essential Nutrients and Vitamins: FALSE
False. You are encouraged to eat nutrient-dense carbohydrates – these foods have the highest anti-oxidant and phytochemicals levels compared to their carbohydrate content.
The Atkins does recommend taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, and perhaps some fish oil or krill oil, too, but in fairness this is true of most commercial diet plans, and is even recommended to some groups of people who are not even on weight loss diets.
Myth no. 6: The Diet Plan Is Too Restrictive: FALSE
False. Phase one of the plan is the most restrictive part of the diet, but it only lasts for about two weeks, after which more foods are introduced.
Even before you reach your goal weight no foods are restricted, just carefully managed.
Compared to highly restrictive diets like the Dukan Diet and the Zone Diet, the diet is extremely varied.
Myth no. 7: The Diet Plan Is Not Low Carb, It’s High Protein: FALSE
False. Sorry, but strictly speaking the Atkins nutritional approach is in fact a low carb diet plan.
The recommended daily protein intake levels remain unchanged from the nutritional guidelines, the levels are not increased by being on the Atkins diet plan.
Myth no. 8: The Diet Is Expensive to Follow: FALSE
False. It’s as expensive – or cheap – as you make it.
A lot of this misinformation arose from a Forbes magazine study whereby they concluded the Atkins diet was in the top five most expensive of the ten plans they looked at – based on a sample menu. But it transpired they had included some really high cost ingredients in their sample menu plan – including lobster tails!
Now, although you can eat lobster tails every night of the week, the Atkins diet food list includes these high cost items as examples of the variety of foods you can eat. I mean, you can also eat Kobe beef and Beluga caviar washed down with ice cold glacier water shipped in from the Antarctic, but expensive as they are, I wouldn’t want them at every meal ;-).
Cheaper cuts of meat are just as good – slow cooked beef stew will give the same weight loss results as a T-bone steak.
A chicken thigh is as good as a chicken breast.
It’s all a question of economics, cutting your coat to fit your cloth. Something the average householder does every day of the week anyway.
Myth no. 9: Dr Atkins Died from Heart Disease Caused by His Own Diet: FALSE
False. Dr Atkins died from a head injury he sustained when he fell on an icy sidewalk in New York, in 2003.
He was in intensive care for 9 days before he died, and it was rumored that he had suffered from heart failure or had a massive coronary, when the cause of his death was actually a severe head trauma injury.
Myth no. 10: Dr Atkins Had a Heart Attack Caused by His Own Diet: FALSE
False. After suffering a heart attack in 2002, Dr Atkins’ personal cardiac physician spoke on record to say that despite his ongoing treatment for the heart condition, cardiomyopathy, “His (Dr Atkins) own nutritional protocols have left him, at the age of 71, with an extraordinarily healthy cardiovascular system.”
So much for those myths. All false.
Finally, just for balance here a few of the FACTS about the Atkins diet …
FACTS about the Atkins diet
Fact no. 1: The Plan will Encourage Your Body to Burn Fat
True. By restricting your carbohydrate intake your body will start to burn fat as its primary energy source rather than carbs.
Fact no. 2: You Will Lose Weight Fast and Safely on the Diet
True. If you follow the diet plan correctly you can expect to lose up to15 poundsin the first two weeks. After this it should slow to between 1-3 pounds per week, which is a steady, healthy weight loss.
Fact no. 3: You Will Not Go Hungry While on the Atkins Diet
True. When eating protein your body feels fuller for longer. Meat protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrate, so you do not feel as hungry as you do on other low fat, low carbohydrate diets.
Fact no. 4: The Atkins Diet Weight Loss Plan is Easy to Follow
True. By following the Atkins diet and sticking to the acceptable Atkins diet food list, you will find the diet easy to follow and easy to sustain in the long term.
I’m sure you’ve heard other myths and rumors surrounding the Atkins diet, too. Please don’t just accept them at face value. Get to the truth, and then make yourself an informed choice.
Conclusion about the Myths and Facts Surrounding the Atkins Diet
I think when you have considered all the facts you may just find that the Atkins diet is one of the best weight loss programs on the market. I know that for me it has been. But if you want a quick comparison of different popular weight loss diets and see which one you might want to try, I can help out right here, on this website. Just take a peek at the page Choosing the Best Diet for Quick Weight Loss – a Comparison
Go to the top of this page, Atkins Diet Plan
Go to the main page for this website.