Term Paper: Low-Carb Diet &amp Atkins Phenomenon Impact

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Low Carb Food Craze & the Atkins Phenomenon

The Low Carb Food Craze and the Atkins Phenomenon

There is an old saying that puts forth the proposition that we are what we eat. In the 21st century, this takes on additional meaning due to the emergence of nutrition issues which not only impact the lives of individuals today, but also will have long-term health, social, and economic effects. No better example of such an issue exists today than the so-called "low carb craze," which maintains that a diet low in carbohydrates (breads, pastas, etc.) and high in proteins (meat, animal products, manufactured foods) as well as the interrelated "Atkins phenomenon" (the Atkins Diet, which advocates the low carb/high protein approach). In this paper, various facets of these issues will be discussed in an effort to better understand the present and future situation, and to draw some educated conclusions based on research.

The Central Issue at Hand

The central nutrition issue at the core of the low-carb craze, as it has come to be known, is whether or not the adaptation of a low-carb, high protein diet will have an adverse effect on the individual over a long period of time. When considering strictly the appearance value of the low-carb diet, one finds it to be an excellent diet program, as the elimination of carbohydrates from the diet, which convert to sugars in the human body, does in the majority of cases lead to weight loss, which of course translates into at least the appearance of a healthier individual, based on the fact that they have lost body fat and are more visually appealing to others. Moreover, the loss of weight and the resulting positive body image in the eyes of the dieter usually makes the individual feel more positive about themselves, boosting self-esteem, which in turn can equal more success in careers, interpersonal relationships, hobbies, and the like (Gabel, et al. 2002). Beyond the facade of an apparently healthy person, however, are more serious, and negative consequences to fathom.

Opponents of the low-carb diet argue that the types of foods that are required to be eaten in lieu of carbohydrates- such as processed meats, red meats and so forth- are the types of foods that are categorically high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and other elements which have been linked to heart disease, cancer and other ailments that kill millions of people every year- even those who "look healthy" (the Low Carb Craze, 2004). In this case, the improved self-esteem and outward appearance of the individual is overtaken by the risk of disease and increased death rates.

Societal Trends That Contribute to "The Craze"

The low carb craze itself is motivated and nurtured by societal trends that are as revealing about the values of modern society as any psychological study that has ever been conducted. Overall, few would argue that the modern society holds beauty, or at least an appearance of health, as one of the most positive attributes a person can possess. When we meet other people, or describe someone to other people, we usually use their physical appearance as the basis of the evaluation or description before taking the time to get to know the person inside of the physical body (Miller, 2000).

Societal criteria that hold a positive physical appearance over character and personality in many cases is proliferated by the image conscious media of the modern day; people worldwide are obsessed with how they look, often times more so than how they physically or emotionally feel. Celebrities, politicians and other public figures are trapped in the judgment of society by these criteria as well.

Because of the well established societal trends that hold physical appearance at the top of the list of human evaluation, it is easy to see how something like the low carb craze would be welcomed by the public with open arms. Low carb diets, far from the old time starvation diets, allow the dieter to eat large quantities of food, albeit certain types of food. Because of the demand for low carb diets, low carb icons, such as Dr. Richard Atkins, have been elevated to celebrity status.

Dr. Atkins, the creator of the low carb, high protein Atkins Diet, preached a diet gospel that, for better or worse, advocated the consumption of large amounts of meats, eggs, and related foods in an effort to lose weight.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Low-Carb Diet &amp Atkins Phenomenon Impact.  (2006, October 19).  Retrieved August 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/future-nutrition-issue-low-carb-craze/9251

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