General Diet Plans and Questions - Atkins article (warning: negative viewpoint)

03-21-2001, 09:02 AM
WARNING: This is a post about the Atkins diet, and it takes a negative viewpoint on it. I know lots of people follow the Atkins diet. I don't, and I'm admittedly a little worried about it -- I have friends on it. But I know it works for some people, and no one's flat out said 'this is definitely bad', so I don't say negative things to THEM about it. I still worry about the health risks, though, and have an interest in nutrition. Please, if you're going to be offended about a negative view of Atkins, don't read this! I don't want to offend, discourage, or upset anyone. Other folks keep reading, whether you follow Atkins or not.

(Whew, disclaimer over. :) I really DON'T want to start a flame war or offend, honest.)


CNN posted an article yesterday called Heart Association to Warn Against Low Fat Diets ( You can follow the link to read the article. Basically, it says that the AHA (American Heart Association) has drafted a paper warning the public of the risk of high-protein diets.

Mostly it seems to warn about the high-fat in the diet, not the high-protein. They did a study of 5 different diets and estimated the fat content. Atkins ended up being 50-something percent of calories from fat. Now, from what I know of Atkins, I'm not sure how they got this number. I mean, can't the fat/protein ratio vary for different people? Anyway. It also talked about cholesterol, and potential long-term worries.

Diets and nutrition are so confusing. I follow the American Dietetic Association's guidelines, but really, how do I know those are any better for me? I could do more research in medical studies, I guess. I admit, people who eat Atkins worry me -- I have a few friends on it. I very purposefully don't nag them about their diet. Even though I am concerned, I can't possibly say anything that they haven't heard from other sources, so I don't see how me expressing concern over the diet is going to help any. So I try to be supportive. But I still worry...

03-21-2001, 02:17 PM
What is the link for the CNN article? I'm interesting in reading it since my boyfriend is doing this diet...

03-21-2001, 05:56 PM
Personally, I don't believe that high-protein diets are the way to go - healthwise, they are a disaster - but I've already got the SlimFast people mad at me. No need to get all the Atkins/Zone/etc people in there too, or I'll have no friends left on this board!

Here's another article written about two years ago from Dr. McDougall's website:

The article is titled: "The Great Debate: High vs Low-Protein Diets". Definitely worth a look!

03-21-2001, 07:23 PM
It's . The link is there in my original article, it's just that with the color scheme they use on here, links are hard to see.

03-22-2001, 10:50 AM
Sorry I did not notice it in your first post. We should ask Suzanne if she can change link colors!

Thank you! :)

P.S. Mrs. Jim..ha ha...I saw that! :) I think you are a great source of information...don't let anyone get you down...I've gotten a few people PO'ed at me in the past! ;)

03-22-2001, 12:03 PM
Change the link color yourself in your preferences lazy Wolfangel! ;)

03-22-2001, 12:18 PM
Excuse me Ms. Know-It-All! ;)

I did not know that! That's for the heads-up!

~Lazy Wolfangel~

Mini Mony
03-22-2001, 12:50 PM
Hey, I didn't know I could change the link color either!

Thanks Kelly ;)

03-22-2001, 03:23 PM
but I couldn't find anywhere to change the colors. I don't find any option for that here, and when I change it in my browser, it doesn't have any effect. Hints, anyone?


03-22-2001, 03:49 PM
I couldn't find the option either so will be checking back to find out how to do it??????

03-22-2001, 09:25 PM
Well, once again I am going to put my two cents in about Atkins and then share some personal experiences two of my friends had.

I have a kidney disease. To eat on the Atkins program would be devestating. This comes from my nephrologist, not from me. He says that even healthy people who eat Atkins plan to put themselves into ketosis are just asking for trouble if they sustain this lifestyle very long at all. If you are truly sold on Atkins, it is vitally important to drink as much water as is reasonable for your size. I have heard many different estimates on how much we should drink and don't know enough to give advice.

Now to my friends. Man and wife both went on Atkins for 4 months and lost an amazing 60 pounds (him) and 40 pounds (her). Then they started adding in some carbs to their diet, example, they ate the bun on the hamburger. It wasn't very long before both had regained their loss and then some. They have tried other diets with limited success and decided to go back on Atkins. This time the diet made them ill. They tried for a month and then felt so bad they quit for something healthier.

Now before you blast me for thinking this diet has negative health effects, please remember that I don't hold all knowledge, or even pretend to. I am merely passing along a medical specialist's opinion and personal experiences. Thanks for listening!!


03-24-2001, 05:59 PM
I have had such a positive experience with cutting my carb intake that I always like to chime in on these threads.

The Atkins diet allows for TONS of veggies, fruit added in as time goes on, and different levels of carbs per day depending upon your weight loss. It is very similar in the Ongoing Weightloss Stage to other restricted carb plans such as Protein Power, Carb Addicts, and others that restrict sugar, white flour, and other starches. Even WW used to treat corn and peas as a BREAD! Because those of us with insulin problems can't handle too much sugar at a time- we store it as fat!

This is not for everyone. But your body will tell you. If you are insulin resistant or hypoglycemic, you will feel better than you have in ages! For others, it is more restrictive than they require. By the way, Atkins never says you MUST eat tons of fat. I eat skinless chicken, fish, lean beef, pork and lamb, and lots and lots of salad, broccoli, grean beans, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, onions, carrots, peaches, strawberries, oranges, ricotta cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, mozzarella. I don't eat much bacon or stuff like that, but it sure helps to be able to splurge:) I use olive oil and butter sparingly.

Sugarbusters is also a restricted carb plan that works for alot of people, allowing more low glycemic carbs, but strict on sugar and white flour. There is a great sugarbusters forum here. Also a WW/low carb option forum, listed under Low Carb Lifestyle.

Hope I balanced the negative press without offending anyone!


03-25-2001, 06:38 PM
I think it is great that we can all post our opinions and have discussion about things we may or may not agree with. After I went back and read my post, I thought I might have sounded too harsh. I am going to say that my opinion works only for me. I think it is great that there are so many ways out there for us to go about the weight loss journey.

I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with diets. If it works for us we love it, and well you get the idea. Just because Atkins would be a poor choice for me healthwise doesn't mean all low carb plans are bad and I am glad someone else pointed that out.

I guess in reality, every weight loss program is what we make of it.


01-29-2005, 11:03 PM
The Atkins diet is very similar to a diabetic diet; my mom's got diabetes and we had to go through diabetes education at the hospital. I am starting Atkins myself now and after reading about what is allowed and what's not, I am surprised that it is not half as restrictive as I initially thought.

Something worth thinking about is this: Atkins of course allows "unlimited amounts" of certain things like for example butter, but I have not found anything that says you MUST eat heaps of butter or fats at all. I think for some people who misunderstand the diet, it can be dangerous. Everyone should research it and if they think it is telling them to do something that common sense goes against, don't do it. I certainly am not going to take a meat-positive diet to the extreme and eat a cow every day and ignore the other elements in my food. This is really about sugar, and at this point I don't want to have sugar rushes and constant cravings. I certainly won't do anything that makes me feel sick, either.

So far it has been great because I don't have those cravings that would send me to the fridge every other hour looking for a snack.

01-31-2005, 10:13 AM
I do not agree that Atkins is close to the diabetic diet at all. (I was a gestational diabetic-diabetic when pregnant) and my aunt suffered from diabetes as well.

The diabetic diet LIMITS the amount of carbohydrates that you eat...because all carbohydrates have an impact on blood sugar levels-but you are allowed multiple servings of fruits, vegetables, and bread/rice/pasta every day-in proper portion sizes. The diabetic diet also is a reduced calorie diet-because calories DO count...not just the carbohydrates. What is discouraged and limited is simple carbs...sugar, juice, refined carbs.

The Atkins induction starts you out at 20 carbs per day...just enough for a lettuce salad and a spoonful of steak sauce-and pays no attention to calories or portions at all. (The diabetic diet does not) On Atkins-calories do not count at all. You can have 400 calories worth of bacon and 7 eggs fried in butter if you want to for breakfast-but heaven forbid, no fruits! (I have read the Atkins book-and realize that fruits are added in during later phases.) The diabetic diet does not allow unlimited protein and fats...they are balanced with the amount of carbs and calories you are eating per day.

The way I feel about it-carbs are important. I don't think that carbs themselves make you fat. Not all carbs are created equal...complex carbohydrates like fruits, veggies, and whole grain oats do not work in the body the same way that eating 4 Pop Tarts do. The reason carbs make most people fat is because they are reaching for the Pop Tarts instead of the complex carb choices.

It isn't the carbs in is the KIND of is the Lucky Charms, white hot dog buns, chips, Ritz crackers...all the crap that we are eating too much of. You see people polish off a box of cookies...but you don't see them eating 7 apples while watching American Idol.

When I was at my high weight-it wasn't from eating the good carbs-it was all the processed crap.

My husband is a meat lover...loves bacon, eggs...and last year he had his cholesterol checked. His bad cholesterol was okay (it will creep up on him) but his GOOD cholesterol was low...the nurse told him to up his intake of fruits and veggies to get that to a better number. ;)

I think that there are plans out there that cut out bad carbs while embracing good ones-South Beach, Body For Life, and Weight Watchers Core Plan are a few of them. I personally am a calorie counter-but I stay away from refined carbohydrates-and only eat good carbs like I mentioned above. I would not say those plans are low carb...more "low refined carb" plans. There is a HUGE difference.

I think out of all low carb diets-that Atkins is the worst of them-simply because fatty meats (not to mention all the harmful nitrates in bacon and sausage) and butter are unlimited. It's not balanced.

Yes-too many simple carbs affect your blood sugar...but too much animal fat affects your heart...eating unlimited amounts of fatty protein like that will affect your is one better than the other?

I think that you can follow Atkins in a healthful way-if you eat lean fish and poultry for your proteins...and eat all the allowed vegetables that you can-and the lower carb fruits when you are in later phases. But-why do that when Hardee's has their low carb bowl o' fat and Atkins Ice Cream bars are on sale? Everyone I know personally on a low carb diet spends their carbs that way instead. :lol:

I believe that there are balanced approaches that fall somewhere in between. I believe in a balanced eating plan-where fat, carbs, and calories all count. I don't believe in eating tons of fat and cutting out carbs...or eating tons of carbs and cutting out all fat...and doing either one of these while paying no attention to the calories consumed at all.

My recommendation would be to choose one of the plans I mentioned-that reduce calories overall...let you eat carbs-but GOOD carbs...and allow healthy fats in moderate amounts.


02-03-2005, 11:07 PM
For those questioning the Atkin's way of eating, have you read the book???? Dr. Atkin's DOES say to limit any meats containing nitrates and that just because you are allowed a food doesn't mean you can gorge on it! He also advocates good carbs such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains. I personally am following a SugarBusters/Atkins combination and find it works really well. I'm not trying to start a war here but I'm tired of hearing that the ONLY plan that has ever worked to keep my weight off is going to kill me. Like being 150 pounds overweight isn't??

02-04-2005, 09:31 AM
For me personally, yes I have read the Atkins book-from the two week 20 carb a day induction stage to the personal "decide your own carb level by how well you keep the weight off" maintenance stage. I sold it in my rummage sale this past spring.

My opinion of the Atkins Diet is not just based on reading the Atkins book alone. I have also read Protein Power, Body For Life, all of the Weight Watchers Points and Core materials,Somersizing, The Makers Diet, Volumetrics, SuperFoods, and numerous, numerous other diet plans and nutrition materials and books-it would take me too long to list them all. I have also read numerous books on exercise and fitness-everything from Pilates to Yoga...belly dance to bodybuilding. I have been a subscriber to Fitness and Shape magazines for almost 10 years. My mother is a nurse who worked in the dietary field for most of my childhood. My stepfather is a bodybuilder. I have had a very wide variety of learning in the field of fitness and nutrition.

My point, if you reread my prior post, is that there CAN be a healthful way to do Atkins and other low carb plans-if you choose to use fish, lean poultry, and egg whites as the source of your proteins-and avoid the sausage, bacon, etc. and to utilize all of the allowed carbs that you can have in the most healthful way possible-by choosing to eat fruits and small amounts of whole grains with your carb allowance-rather than Cheescake flavored low carb bars, steak sauce, and Atkins ice cream. The thing is-around here (in my area) everyone is going for the low carb ice cream and the double cheeseburger wrapped in a lettuce leaf-and don't really seem to be eating any fruits or whole grains with their carb allowances.

Atkins may state the "do not gorge" thing...but the sample menus (at least in the paperback vesion that I used to have) listed bacon and eggs as the sample breakfast on the induction portion of the book.
A vegetable omelet is a healthful low carb breakfast...but getting to have formerly forbidden foods like bacon and eggs seems to be the "selling point" for a lot of low carb diet beginners. My stepmother, her co-workers, my husband's best friend...many people around me have done or is doing Atkin's or some other low carb plan-and not doing it the healthful way.

02-04-2005, 01:53 PM
Hi, i started the atkins last july 5th. i have loss 38 lbs. and its my life time plan. but i am watching the carbs and adding some now. my friend has loss 100lbs and her daughter 80. this friend was a debetic and she no longer is on medication for that and her chol and trig all went down. but theya re doing it right. so i am doing ok with it to. but like anything. some of us bodies do no adjust to it. and if your not doing it right like said above. then it can have effects like anything. i am at my goal now. but i still read up on it and all. like any plan we should keep up with it the info and all. so this is just my imput on it. LaDean