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Atkins Diet FAQ

FAQ Of Atkins Diet

1) What is the difference between Atkins diet and other low carb diet?

2) What is ketosis?

3) How long does it usually take to get into ketosis?

4) Doesn't ketosis lead to loss of muscle mass?

5) What about studies stating that high fat intake is detrimental to your health?

6) I heard that people on Atkins Diet learn to eat fatty foods like bacon and eggs, so when they go off the program, they are worse than before.

7) Isn't doing Atkins Diet bad for your heart?


1) What is the different between Atkins diet and other low carb diet?

Atkins diet is different from other low carb diets that Atkins diet allows 15-20 grams of carbohydrate a day to trigger ketosis while non-ketogenic low carb diets usually allow up to 50 - 60 gram of carbohydrate a day. 

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2) What is Ketosis?

Ketosis arises from the term lipolysis/ketosis. Lipolysis simply means that you're burning your stored fat and using them as the source of fuel.   The by-products of burning fat are ketones. Hence, ketosis is a secondary process of lipolysis. When your body releases ketones into your urine, this can be a chemical proof that you’re consuming your own stored fat. The more ketones you release, the more fat you have burned.

If you are restricting the amount of carbohydrates you eat, your body turns to fat as its alternative source of energy. In effect, lipolysis/ketosis has replaced the alternative of burning glucose for energy. Both are perfectly normal processes.

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3) How Long does it usually take to get into ketosis?

The body can only store a two-day supply of glucose in the form of glycogen, so after two days of consuming no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, most people go into lipolysis/ketosis.

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4) Doesn't ketosis lead to loss of muscle mass?

Only individuals on very low-calorie diets can lose muscle mass, because they have an inadequate protein intake. Atkins diets, however, is not calorie restricted (this is not an invitation for gorging, but a recommendation to eat until you are no longer hungry) and the high protein intake required offsets any possible loss of body mass.

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5) What about studies stating that high fat intake is detrimental to your health?

All the studies that state high fat intake is detrimental to your health have been done in mixed diet settings where there was enough carbohydrate for the body to burn glucose (not fat) for energy. When fat is the primary fuel source, you metabolize fat instead of storing it, and it poses no health risk. There are no studies that have linked low carbohydrate, high fat eating programs to any health risk.

In all phases of Atkins  diet, it is a good idea to get much of your fat from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, nuts and seeds and olive oil which all have well-documented health benefits. If you do eat bacon—and no one should eat it every day—look for products that are not cured with nitrates.

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6) I heard that people on Atkins learn to eat fatty foods like bacon and eggs, so when they go off the program, they are worse than before.

If a person does Atkins, loses weight and then returns to his old way of high carbohydrate eating, whether or not he incorporates bacon and eggs, he will likely regain weight.  Eating a high fat and high carbohydrate diet can easily cause people become overweight because their bodies are not able to use up these empty calories.

Eating high fat foods such as eggs, cheese and a couple of pieces of bacon is fine only in the absence of refined carbs in your diet.  During Induction Phase, when carbohydrates are most strictly limited, you can indeed eat plenty of fat, all the while losing weight and improving your blood cholesterol and triglyceride markers. However, once your weight loss slows down and you are no longer primarily burning fat for energy, you will naturally start to replace some of the fat in your diet with nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates.

The point is that Atkins diet is a way of eating for a lifetime. The gradual process by which you learn new healthy eating habits actually reinforces health.

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7) Isn't doing Atkins bad for your heart?

While you may have heard that a diet high in saturated fat causes heart disease or arteriosclerosis (arteries clogged with cholesterol-laden plaque), it is actually a diet high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates combined with fat that is the real culprit. Once you eliminate the white flour, sugar and other nutrient-empty carbohydrates from your diet, the fat you consume in meat or from other sources is burned for fuel (lipolysis) and is not converted into cholesterol or other harmful blood fats. Independent clinical studies indicate that cholesterol and triglyceride levels drop significantly while on Atkins diet and levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol would rise, often dramatically.

However, this does not mean the program gives you license to stuff yourself with multiple well marbled steaks or down a pound of cheese at a sitting. (Choose organic products whenever possible to avoid chemicals.) The beneficial fats you should be consuming include the monounsaturated fats in olives and olive oil, nuts and nut oils, avocados and the all-important omega-3 fats found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring and tuna. 

Avoid trans fats (food labels refer them as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils). This type of fat can be found in packaged products such as crackers, bread, most margarines and commercially baked desserts and snacks. They have been found to pose a serious risk of cardiac disease, according to several studies.

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