When the Atkins Diet first rose to prominence, it was hailed as a revolution in the way we lose weight. And let’s face it; the prospect of losing weight by eating lots of bacon was appealing to a lot of us.
However, more research has been done on the low-carb diet over the years, and most nutritionists and doctors now warn against such a drastic eating regime.
The Atkins Diet has changed many times over the years. During the early days, we were told we could eat all the bacon and egg whites we could handle. More recently, however, the strict rules have changed slightly, providing more flexibility after the first few weeks of the regime.
So is the Atkins Diet a good way to lose weight, or does it cause just as many problems as it solves? These pros and cons should help you to decide if this strict eating plan is right for you.
The pros of the Atkins Diet
You get used to eating healthy carbohydrates
You aren’t allowed refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta on the Atkins Diet, as they contain the simple sugars the body breaks down very quickly. This teaches you which carbs are good for you and which are to be avoided. Even after you come off the Atkins Diet, these habits can be continued forever.
You don’t need to count calories
Having to continually work out calories and record them can become monotonous and frustrating. In addition, calories are only one aspect of weight loss, and getting obsessed by them can actually do you more harm than good. The Atkins Diet, however, allows you to eat certain foods to your heart’s content. This eating regime also lets you know your ideal daily intake of carbohydrates.
Reduced cholesterol levels
Many people on the Atkins Diet have been able to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in their blood. This is, in part, due to the removal of processed sugar and bad carbohydrates from the diet. Cutting down on sugar is a lifestyle choice you can take with you once you come off the Atkins.
It can be fun
If you’re a meat lover, you’ll be in your element during the early stages of the Atkins Diet. Burgers, steaks and fried bacon are always on the menu, and for at least the first few days, that might be a lot of fun.
Lose weight fast
The first stage of the Atkins Diet is known as ‘induction’. This stage often results in rapid weight loss, which is great for motivation and confidence.
The cons of the Atkins Diet
It’s very strict
For many people, the Atkins Diet is just too strict, as many food groups — including fruit and bread — are off limits. And unlike other diets, the Atkins starts off with a sudden and severe change in eating habits.
You might struggle to eat out
Atkins is a low-carb diet that strictly forbids potato, bread, pasta, fruit and certain types of vegetable. If you’re someone who likes to eat out, finding something on the menu that complies with the Atkins Diet could be impossible.
The risk of bingeing is high
If you’re permanently removing foods from your diet, you’re bound to crave them from time to time. A lot of people fall off the Atkins wagon because they end up craving sugar, fruit and bread. And when they fall off, they do it in style!
The physical side-effects are rough
The effects of eating little else but protein can be harsh. For instance, you might suffer from severe constipation, particularly during the early stages of the diet. Other side-effects caused by the Atkins include bad breath, extreme fatigue and dehydration.
You’re highly likely to regain weight
The majority of people who achieve significant weight loss through the Atkins Diet eventually regain their weight once they’ve gone back to carbs. In fact, a lot of people actually end up heavier than before they started.
All weight loss is down to discipline and a healthy lifestyle. The problem with fads such as the Atkins Diet is that they’re based on eating plans and lifestyle changes that can’t be maintained for the rest of the person’s life. Most nutritionists and doctors will tell you that the only way to achieve long-term weight loss is to make permanent changes to both your lifestyle and what you eat.