Simply put, the Atkin diet is a low carb diet: It cuts dietary carbohydrates drastically, and concomitantly allows a higher content of fat and protein. Since carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body,
eliminating carbohydrates from one's diet forces the body to burn fats for its energy needs. Since more
fats are burned, less fats are stored in fat deposits, resulting over time in weight loss.
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So, bottom line: Atkin's diet is effective for weight loss, and many people who tried it can attest to that fact. However: The high amount of fats circulating in the blood at all times (as they are transported to
various tissues to be burned for energy) represent in my opinion a cardiovascular risk factor.
They may predispose to arterial plaque formation, coronary artery disease, stroke, etc.
Of course, certain modifications may be made to Atkin's diet, such as to reduce the amount of saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol (all of which pose cardiovascular health risks), while attempting to increase the amount of unsaturated fats (healthy fats). Note, however, that cutting back on the calorie sources above-mentioned obliges one to substitute them with other calorie sources. As a result, the limitation on carbohydrates has to be lifted to some degree. So
therefore, the main principle of Atkin's diet is defeated, since now the body can once more
burn carbs for energy.
Such modified versions of the Atkin diet are closer to the requirements of the conventional food pyramid. In fact, they can be regarded as acceptable variations thereof - with the difference they emphasize proteins and unsaturated (healthy) fats over carbohydrates as the primary energy sources for the body.
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