Fad Diets Such as Atkins Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1070 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Exercise

¶ … Fad Diets Such as Atkins

An increasing number of body-conscious Americans have taken to dieting in the last few years. This is hardly surprising in a youth-worshiping culture. While weight watching is an essentially healthy activity and a welcome development, most dieters, instead of following a common sense, long-term approach to dieting, are on the lookout for easy short cuts. Several "low-carb" diet programs, e.g., the Atkins' Diet have been devised to cater for this demand and have attained tremendous popularity. Clearly such diet fads miss the true path to weight loss and overall health: a balanced diet with moderate exercise besides posing serious health problems. This explains why most popular fad diets, particularly Atkins', are based on faulty, unproven theories and describes some of the health problems that may accompany such diet programs.

It has been commonly known for ages that the food we eat provides us with energy in the form of calories. We consume these calories in our bodies for our body functions -- the amount of calories burnt depending mainly on the nature and duration of physical activity and to a lesser degree, on metabolic differences in individuals due to genetic reasons. If our calorie-intake is greater than our calorie-consumption, we put on weight; if our intake is less than our consumption we lose weight. Low carb diets such as Atkins' purport to circumvent this basic fact of nutrition and attribute the weight loss to factors such as insulin resistance, ketosis, and increased fat burning. On closer scrutiny, however, it becomes apparent that such claims have no scientific basis and the low carb fad diets carry significant health risks.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Fad Diets Such as Atkins an Increasing Assignment

All low-carb diets including Atkins are based on a structured program of substantially reduced carbohydrate-intake with little or no restriction on the intake of proteins and fats. While there is little doubt that the low-carbohydrate diet results in significant weight loss in the short-term for most people, the reasons for such results are misrepresented by the advocates of such diets. Let us examine how this weight loss occurs? During the first few weeks of the Atkins' Diet, the so-called "induction" phase, the dieter's body goes into starvation mode as it is severely deprived of its preferred fuel -- the carbohydrates. In the absence of carbohydrates the body burns fats in an inefficient manner producing toxic byproducts called "ketones." To wash these toxic waste products out of the system large amount of body fluids are expelled through urine, which is mainly responsible for the rapid loss of weight in the first few weeks of starting a low carb diet such as Atkins'. (Sachiko et al., 2001) The other reason for weight loss in low carb dieters is the loss of appetite associated with ketosis, which leads to lower total caloric intake. Weight loss may also occur because most dieters find low-carb diets relatively unpalatable in the long-term and eat less calories. Hence, there is no 'magic' behind the weight loss in Atkins' Diet. Further, loss of weight through loss of fluids and loss of appetite is neither desirable nor sustainable in the long-term as the body regains water and appetite rapidly as soon as normal diet is resumed.

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