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The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is a low carbohydrate diet that is very high in proteins. The Diet allows unrestricted amounts of protein, including meats, eggs and cheese, and strongly limits foods high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread and fruit. The focus is on restricting processed and refined carbohydrates, including cereals, pastas, breads, starch and many high sugar foods.
The diet is based on the belief that stable blood sugar levels throughout the day relieve cravings for food and that the food that is eaten on the diet, such as lots of meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc. are less processed than many other foods and more nutritious. Atkins believes that following this diet plan enables a change in metabolism, as consuming a high level of carbohydrates causes the overproduction of insulin, which he believes causes increased hunger and weight gain. Carbohydrates are limited to between 15 - 60 grams per day, while foods high in protein and fat are recommended.
Carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source. Fat is the body's secondary energy source. The Atkins Diet rests on the assumption that with limited carbohydrate intake, the body begins to burn fat for it's primary source of energy. It also purports that eating less processed foods eliminates the large amount of toxins stored in fat cells, and those that are stored get burned for the body's fuel.
The popularity of the Atkins diet rests on the fact that people enjoy eating as much protein and fat as they desire. Most diet plans recommend the exact opposite. As well, the diet is quite easy to follow and does not involve highly complex meal plans or calorie counters.
Most experts in the area of weight loss feel that there is not enough research to support the Atkins diet. High protein and high fat diets have in the past been strongly linked to the development of serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
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