The Atkins Diet, Its Benefits and Risks

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The Atkins diet is one type of diet that is believed to be able to lose weight. This diet is done by controlling the intake of certain substances that can cause weight gain.

The Atkins diet was introduced by a heart specialist named Robert Atkins in 1972. The diet seeks to control carbohydrate intake and instead consume lean protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber vegetables.
However, the effectiveness of the Atkins diet for weight loss and maintenance is still not supported by strong research.

atkinds diet

Benefits of the Atkins Diet

To obtain energy, the body burns fat and carbohydrates. The Atkins Diet considers that reducing carbohydrates will make the fat-burning process more effective. This is because the body will prioritize burning fat as an energy source. This is what can encourage weight loss.

In addition to weight loss, the Atkins diet improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels. A study showed that the Atkins diet could improve triglyceride levels in the blood, although it is unknown how long this effect will last.

The diet is also thought to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and heart and blood vessel disease. However, the various benefits of the Atkins diet still require further evidence and research.

Risks of the Atkins Diet

In addition to the benefits that can be obtained, there are several risks of the Atkins diet that you need to pay attention to, including:

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1. Decreased carbohydrate intake

A decrease in carbohydrate intake in the body can cause dizziness, headaches, fatigue, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, or difficulty defecating.

2. Ketosis

There is also a risk that is classified as dangerous during the initial phase of the Atkins diet due to the lack of sugar or carbohydrate intake for energy, namely ketosis. Ketosis is the body’s way of digesting fat stores and producing ketones as waste substances.

Some symptoms complained of due to ketone substances that accumulate in the body are nausea, headaches, bad breath, and psychological changes.

3. Ketoacidosis

Long-term ketosis can lead to a more serious condition called ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when ketones build up in the blood and become toxic.

Ketoacidosis can lead to coma and even death. The risk of ketoacidosis increases in people with diabetes and are on an excessive diet.

Phases of the Atkins Diet

4 phases must be followed when someone is on the Atkins diet, namely:

1. First phase

Restricting carbohydrate consumption to only 20 grams per day for two weeks. It is recommended to eat foods that are high in fat and protein, as well as low-carb vegetables such as green vegetables. In this phase, weight usually starts to decrease.

2. Second phase

Start adding small amounts of healthy carbohydrates, especially vegetables, fruits, nuts, potatoes, whole grains, and brown rice. This phase should be continued until 4.5 kg of the desired body weight remains.

3. Third phase

You may add 10 grams of carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This should be done up to a month after reaching the desired weight.

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4. Fourth phase

Once your desired weight is reached, stick to this phase for the rest of your life. In this phase, you can eat as many healthy carbohydrates as your body can tolerate without gaining weight.

Although there is a belief that the Atkins diet is beneficial, it does not mean that it can be applied to everyone.

Those who use insulin or diabetic drugs and diuretic drugs are advised to be more careful in the Atkins diet. Meanwhile, people with kidney disease, pregnant women, and nursing mothers are not recommended to undergo the Atkins diet.

Always consult a nutritionist before you go on the Atkins diet or any diet for weight loss.