Since the early 1970s, the Atkins Diet has promoted weight loss through a low carbohydrate eating plan. Designed to decrease carbs and increase fats as fuel, the diet promotes weight loss through increased metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories. Phases of the diet are based on the amount of carbs consumed, starting with just 20 grams daily, with small increases leading to the final phase of weight loss maintenance. Because the food plan creates an imbalance of nutrients, vitamin supplementation might be necessary to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
How Weight Loss Occurs
The Atkins Diet promotes higher amounts of protein and fats with reduced amounts of carbs. The belief is that a higher carbohydrate intake promotes insulin release due to high blood sugar levels. This prevents fat from being broken down for release.The emphasis on fewer carbs forces your body to burn fat as fuel when carbs are depleted. In addition, low carb levels result in loss of water weight and a reduction in total calories consumed. When calories burned are greater than calories consumed, excess weight and body fat are reduced.
Animal food sources are emphasized on the Atkins Diet. Meats and dairy foods that are high in protein and low in saturated fat are recommended. Examples include eggs, milk, cheese, poultry, beef, lamb, pork and fish. Carb intake is limited to between 5 and 25 grams per day. Carb sources include vegetables low in starch.
While weight loss is usually considered beneficial for health improvements, it might lead to health problems. Carbs are your body's preferred energy source and are essential for the brain and nervous system. A reduced carb intake might lead to anemia, weakness and loss of appetite. Your body might begin to bruise easily.
Simple carbs such as fruits are not recommended on the diet. This can lead to a Vitamin C deficiency, which can lead to scurvy.
Any food plan that limits or excludes a food group can lead to vitamin deficiency. A low carb diet is typically low in whole grains that contain fiber, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Depending on the protein consumed, additional deficiencies are possible, such as vitamin B5, C, D, E and K.
Vitamin supplementation helps prevent the occurrence of a vitamin deficiency caused by an unbalanced diet. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a daily multivitamin is a great insurance plan against deficiencies.
- Atkins Diet Info: Atkins Diet Plan and Info
- Mayo Clinic: Weight Loss -- Low Carb Diet
- Medline Plus: Carbohydrates
- Mayo Clinic; "Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Whole Grains: Hearty Options for a Healthy Diet"; Mayo Clinic; 2009
- MC Vitamins: What Foods Have What Vitamins?
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source: Vitamins