Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Zealand Researcher Warns People About 'Harmful' Atkins Diet

Dr. Kirsten McAuley: Atkins "too restrictive" and "high-fat" to be healthy

This New Zealand-based story reports on a new study that claims people should avoid the Atkins diet entirely because it is unsustainable and dangerous.

University of Otago researchers led by Dr. Kirsten McAuley said that while the Atkins diet helped people lose weight faster than all the other diets observed in the study, they also noted that participants started to regain their weight faster than people following a "balanced" diet.

Why? If they stuck with the program, then why would they start to regain their weight? The key to every good "diet" is to make sure you apply those principles you learned while you were losing the weight so you can continue on with them long after the weight loss phase is over. That's what I have been doing livin' la vida low-carb since losing 180 pounds on the Atkins diet in 2004. Regardless of which diet you choose, if you get off of it, then you will gain weight. Ergo, don't get off of it! Is this concept too difficult to grasp?

Dr. McAuley's study results are posted at the Edgar National Center For Diabetes Research web site and will appear in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The study concludes that people who remain on the "restrictive" Atkins diet for over a year risk "potentially harmful effects on the cardiovascular system and anti-oxidant levels."

Can I have a dollar every time I heard that warning about the low-carb lifestyle? There has been no evidence produced that suggests any such thing. This is all conjecture and theories at this point because not enough long-term studies have been conducted to confirm them. Isn't that what the anti-Atkins crowd is always telling us. You need more proof, you need more statistical evidence. Well, then, the opposite is true, too. Don't discount livin' la vida low-carb until more of these long-term studies are able to be conducted to prove whether or not they really can provide lasting weight loss.

Of course, in the meantime, millions of us will go about living our low-carb lifestyles as a witness for all the world to see that there is nothing wrong with this way of eating. The evidence that will come from these long-term studies will give low-carbers the confidence they need to do this without fear for their health. And most of us aren't worried one bit about these scare tactics. We are just thrilled to finally have a "diet" that worked and is still working to help us keep the weight off.

Opponents of low-carb programs are very leery about what these long-term studies are going to discover and are doing all they can to discourage people from starting them. But wait. When good news starts to come out over the next 10-20 years about how livin' la vida low-carb is perfectly fine for your health, there will be a mass exodus from the low-fat diets that have failed over and over again to the much-better-tasting and a lot more effective low-carb lifestyle. It's coming.

With a focus on diabetes patients, Dr. McAuley said they wanted to know whether the Atkins diet would help their patients suffering with this disease over the long-term.

"There's a huge number of people wanting to try different diets," she said. "They are very emphatic about what diets they want to go on. We really were struggling to give dietary advice."

If something has worked for other diabetic patients, then I bet your offices were being inundated with people wanting to try the Atkins diet for themselves. Studies have show the low-carb approach to be very successful at helping people with diabetes control their insulin levels. Diabetes and obesity will continue to get worse and worse as we ignore the health benefits that low-carb has to offer. That is one reason why Atkins Diabetes Revolution was written.

Every diet produced weight loss, but Atkins dieters were gaining weight at the fastest rate after one year on it, McAuley explained.

"Mainly because it was too restrictive," McAuley said. "We would certainly have concerns about high-fat diets."

What is restrictive about eating eggs, cheese, meat, nuts, strawberries, blueberries, salad, cauliflower, sugar-free candies, and a whole heckuva lot more. If you think you'll have trouble coming up with foods to eat, then you need to check out my friend Kalyn Denny's low-carb recipe blog. I guarantee you will not think livin' la vida low-carb is "restrictive" or boring ever again after visiting "Kalyn's Kitchen."

Despite losing a considerable amount of weight on the Atkins diet, a 54-year old "former Atkins dieter" is quoted in the story as saying that it did not provide her with enough social acceptance and motivation to keep it up for more than six months.

"I discovered after the long term that I needed more motivation," she said. "I wanted that moral support. (On the Atkins diet) you were not talking to anybody."

I discuss this topic of motivation and moral supports in two of the chapters of my upcoming book. They are very important obstacles to overcome, but not impossible. Sure, you can't eat the same foods as everyone else necessarily, but you find what you can have and eat away. I've been doing that in various scenarios for over a year and a half without any problem whatsoever. In fact, if they know I am coming, somebody almost always brings something that I can eat so I can be a part of the social gatherings. People will adapt to you if you don't become a recluse why livin' la vida low-carb. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and don't let the grumpy low-fatties get you down. Remember, they're always hungry so they have to bite your head off to feel better. LOL!

Another Atkins dieter in the story has stuck with it and, although she was "tired and lethargic" during the Induction phase (as so many of us are as we are detoxifying our bodies from our carb addiction), she has been able to transition her lifestyle to this way of eating as a permanent way to control her weight. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Oh, but then we hear from a "dietitian" who claims high-protein, low-carb diets make you lose out because, "Eventually you get to a point of having to face a world with food."

What is that supposed to mean? Just because food is there doesn't mean I have to eat it. If I've learned one GREAT thing from my low-carb living, it has been the power and ability to say "no." I never did that before and my body paid for it dearly. Now I can say "no" to a lot of things and not feel bad about it one bit. That's the freedom that comes from livin' la vida low-carb.

McAuley concluded, though, that high-protein diets were only good for the short-term and then people should switch to a more balanced diet, despite the fact that protein has been found to be good for bone health and a greater metabolic advantage over all other diets.

You can send your comments to Dr. McAuley about her study on the low-carb lifestyle by e-mailing her at


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