Latest research: Atkins diet may be dangerous longterm

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by HellonWheels, Sep 3, 2004.



  1. menglish6

    menglish6 New Member

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    Does this new study get filed in the "we all saw this coming" category?
     
  2. HellonWheels

    HellonWheels New Member

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    Sure does! In fact news reports now are saying that former Pres Clinton is going to have to have quadrupple bypass heart surgery, his heart is heavily blocked. And he was on the South Beach (lowcarb) diet for the past year.
     
  3. gruppo

    gruppo New Member

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    Yep. Actually, most fitness professional have been saying this all along. There really are no easy shortcuts.
     
  4. Triodelover

    Triodelover New Member

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    South Beach and Atkins are very different diets. Dr Agatson, the cardiologist that developed the diet, goes to great length to differentiate between "good" carbs (i.e. cpmplex carbs like whole grains) and "bad" carbs, as well as "good" fats versus bad one (olive oil = good, certain fish fats = good).

    You can eat very well on South beach and after Phase 1 (two weeks), you start bringing the good carbs back into the diet. One must remember that this is a diet designed by his cardiologist for his patients, who aren't lilely to be numbered among the most physically active or fit in the population. They need a diet that can get the weight off in a healthy way even though they can't cycle 2 hours/day.

    The other aspect of South Beach is a focus on eating habits that increase cravings (foods that produce rapid insulin spikes) making it difficult for the dieters to break the eating habits that got them in a place where they need the diet in the first place. So it's recommended that dieters reduce their intake of caffinated coffee, as well as limiting fruits to early and midday consumption.

    I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it is a far sounder diet (IMO, but the literature supports this) than Atkins. But then when the developer of a diet dies at 72 of congestive heart failure, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    Without modification, South Beach isn't going to work for the active who need to manage their weight, even if they've only recently become active. The calorie intake isn't enough and more complex carbs are needed as a percentage of the overall diet than what SB recommends.

    As far as former President Clinton goes, I suspect all those Big Macs and pizzas with Monica had more to do with his comndition than a few weeks on the South Beach diet.
     
  5. HellonWheels

    HellonWheels New Member

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    I generally agree that SB is safer than Atkins, but my gripe even with SB is there is STILL a period when even "GOOD" (complex) carbs are reduced to an extreme degree, or eliminated. This cannot possibly be healthy, esp. for cyclists and other active people. But for sedentary ppl its probably not a bad idea.

    BTW Clinton was on SB for a year, not a few weeks.
     
  6. Triodelover

    Triodelover New Member

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    Well, the period of total elimination is two weeks. After that, foods high in fiber and complex carbs are part of the diet. Caloric intake is still monitored, because the idea is to lose weight. I have trouble believing that overweight people who are attempting to gain control of their lives again are going to suffer from eliminating a major source of food cravings for two weeks. Part of the purpose of Phase 1 is also to jumpstart the weight loss as an encouragement to continue.

    The problem with your "gripe" is that highly active people rarely need the assistance of a weight-loss regimen, so there is no reason for these folks to consider SB to begin with. But if this board is in any way representative, there is a significant segment of posters who are beginning/returning/increasing their cycling in an attempt to lose excess weight and become more fit.

    These people aren't ready to stoke themselves with a lot of carbs. They got to be overweight somehow, and it's reasonable to think that overcomsumption of carbs, particularly simple carbs, is part of the reason. Carbs are responsible for quick rises in blood glycogen, thereby leadin to insulin spikes. For those who are in the process of ramping up to more activity and trying to control their diet, this makes getting their eating under control extremely difficult. If you crave food all the time, eventually you give in. So there is good reason to reducr carb intake at the beginning of a weight-loss regimen.

    SB advocates both cardio and resistance training and goes to pains to point out that one can and should modify the diet appropriately as activity levels increase.

    I did Phase 1 of SB for four weeks starting 21 June. I lost 18 lbs. In the process, I increased my activity level to 45 minutes of cardio daily and 45 minutes resistance training 4 times/week. I also have returned carbs to my diet, making up around 55% of the overall diet. Primarily the reason for this is the increased activity level. I am returning to cycling, which is doubling the daily cardio time. My carbs are a mix of complex ones and simple natural ones like fresh fruit. I'm down a toal of 28 lbs since 21 June, have taken 6 inches off my waist and reduced my BF percentage 10 points.

    My diet now is some SB, but mostly a healthy, balanced diet based on my BMR and TDEE while keepig a good balance between carbs, protein and healthy fats. When it comes to these things, each individual has to find what works for him or her.

    BTW, I'm 56 and was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis 20 years ago. What works for twenty-something Fitness Nazis might not be the best appraoch for someone like me. ;)
     
  7. HellonWheels

    HellonWheels New Member

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  8. Triodelover

    Triodelover New Member

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    It's both, actually. If it were only the calories, one could presumably have a daily caloric intake of 2000 kcals made up entirely of Hostess Twinkies and lose weight (which actually might happen from malnutrition).

    Nowhere did I say caloric intake wasn't important. Look, I'm in favor of quality carbs in the diet, particualry if you are at all active. But slamming SB because it has you cut out carbs for two weeks is...well, over the top in my book.

    And congrats on the weight loss. Glad you found what works for you.
     
  9. Olasnah

    Olasnah New Member

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    <><>I dunno.....in 2001 I weighed 305 lbs. I was not active other than walking to get places. Today I weigh 145 lbs and I did not cut out carbs at all, just went lower fat and reduced portion sizes. I also exercise daily, in addition to bike rides on weekends. I didn't "need" to cut out or even reduce carbs, just reduce FOOD INTAKE, PERIOD. No matter WHERE you reduce from...fat or carbs, you reduce CALORIES. Its not the TYPE of food, its HOW MUCH OF IT you eat. <><>

    Totally agree. I lost 30lbs in less than 2months by cutting down on portions, and just not eating the same garbage I had been, replacing the morning pop-tarts with bananas and cereal. Then, after losing most of that weight, got back on the bike, and now I'm all muscle. There's no diet like the 'exercise' diet.
     
  10. Triodelover

    Triodelover New Member

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    So it was not only the calories, but the "garbage" you had been eating. My point exactly - it's quantity and quality.

    What about the people who need to lose weight but whose age or physical condition proscribes vigorous exercise?
     
  11. Olasnah

    Olasnah New Member

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    [<><>So it was not only the calories, but the "garbage" you had been eating. My point exactly - it's quantity and quality. <><>]

    Well I never went to any special guides to learn what to eat. I still eat Pizzas, a couple of M&M's every now and then, chicken, steak, etc. All the regular things people eat. (Never did fast food much, even before losing weight) If there is anything I would quantify as that 'garbage', it would have to be soft drinks.

    [<><>What about the people who need to lose weight but whose age or physical condition proscribes vigorous exercise?<><>]

    Reduce portions. I lost much of my weight by doing that. When I started losing large amounts, the inclination to 'eat right' seemed to come naturally. The only drastic change in my menu was the soft drinks being cut out.
     
  12. Triodelover

    Triodelover New Member

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    Garbage was your word, not mine. If you are eating like you describe, and you've lost 30 lbs and are keeping it off, you are lucky. Eating all the regular things people eat has led to a nation of very obese people. Most of us couldn't get away with that. And since you "crashed" it off in less than two months (according to you), you may not either. See us next year with a progress report.

    Of course, if you're young - and I suspect you are (there's an air of certitude that gives you away) - you may not need to heed any of this. But our metabolism changes as we age. So must our diets and our approach to weight management. Not a college student by any chance? :D

    Telling people with other health problems to just reduce portions is both arrogant and condescending. You admit to never going to "any special guides to learn what to eat". Perhaps you're not in the best position to advise those with histories of heart problems, joint problems and other debilitating conditions (all admittedly exacerbated by weight) how to lose weight and keep it off while improving (or at least not further damaging) their health. What they eat is as critical to their health as how much they eat. Somehow I think smaller pizza slices and cut out the Cokes aren't gonna do it for a lot of those folks.

    Look, I'm lucky. Even with age and arthritis, I can exercise vigorously daily. I can ride my bike. So I can agree that portion control, sensible diet (a bit more sensible that what you seem to be eating) and exercise is a workable solution for me. Even the late Julia Child was a strong advocate of portion control as a means of weight management (and she clocked in just a hair under 92).

    But I can't speak for hosts of others who aren't as lucky as me and who are battling to reduce their weight. South Beach is a healthy diet that is vastly different from Atkins. A number of people who fall into the above category have succeeded on SB. I say good on 'em for finding what works. And good on you for finding what works. The only things that counts are results.
     
  13. Olasnah

    Olasnah New Member

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    :confused: Hey, nobody here mentioned their ages or afflictions. I'm just telling my story. I lost weight that I don't normally carry. This time 2years ago and the previous 29 years of my life before that (which makes me an EX-COLLEGE student, ha ha!), I've been pretty slim. Never really been super-athletic, but more or less normal. I attribute all of my weight gain to a boosted income, which has allowed me to eat out a little too much, causing me to eat more than I normally would at home. There's the pressure to eat the HUGE portions dished out a restaurants, and the desire to try all the different foods out there that I normally don't encounter at home. I love food, but I know that just like a new TREK Madone, I have to wait for the right time and place before I can have it.

    Anyway, I had no idea of your situation, don't really care to know it either. I learned when I was 17years old in Marine Corp basic training that only athletes or similarly active people require big 3x a day meals or portions equivalent to them. I recall quite vividly how I would eat a MONSTER breakfast (in 15minutes!) and then I would be feeling starvation for what seemed like hours before lunch arrived. It was never enough food. Of course, I was living a tremendously active life at the time, sweating buckets all day long with people screaming at me to do better, 24/7! Lance Armstrong don't have anything on that!!

    Right now at my level I am doing about 20+miles per day of riding, with long stints up to 40 or more on the weekends. (I have little time before work to do much more) I probably burn enough energy to require the equivalent of 2 good sized meals per day, however many calories that may be, I haven't started measuring yet, but I'm sure I soon will be. I eat a decent breakfast (not terribly big), a small lunch time-ish snack, and then a normal dinner. (and TONS of water all day long---go through it like crazy). Despite my activity level, that's all I seem to need. I see people all the time who eat 3x and then wonder where all the weight is coming from. They need to be looking at their plates. Unless they are cooking at home, they are eating too much. I have yet to encounter a single restaurant or fast food joint that doesn't serve huge portions of food.
     
  14. cojosurfer

    cojosurfer New Member

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    I currently have a Anterior ligament sprain (more like a scratch) as a result of low carb dieting over 4 months and then suddenly saddling up on my MTB. The carb deficit DOES effect muscles and as a result my anterior ligament got the end result of low carb dieting. No more Atkins/no carb dieting for me. I now go with the PROVEN recipe of burn more calories than I take in. A good source of carbs allow the BURN to take place. Working like a charm too. It simply works. Go ahead and eat that Western Bacon Cheeseburger (no fries) and Raspberry Tea, but have the DISCIPLINE to exercise it off. Stay within your daily calorie range to lose weight and you can eat whatever you want. Proportion and quality of food while counting calories is KEY. In general, if it's good for you, the MORE you can eat: grilled/roasted veggies (awesome), fruits, Yogurt/Grapenuts, grilled meats, etc...you get the idea. Can anyone change a nickel so I can pay my $0.02 dues?
     
  15. Beastt

    Beastt New Member

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    It's interesting to see all the bantering back and forth about which of the basic nutrients is most responsible for weight gain. When you consider that a gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories and a gram of protein contains 4 calories while a gram of fat contains 9 calories, the most obvious conclusion is that fat may well be responsible.

    But as is the usual case, it's not so simple. That's not to say that the whole key to weight isn't relatively simple. In the long term overview it comes down to calories in verses calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you'll have a surplus of calories which tend to build up around the waist, hips and thighs or wherever you tend to carry excess weight.

    Based on all I've read I tend to believe that any diet designed to put your body into a state of ketosis is far more concerned about short-term weight loss than long-term health. That, of course, includes both Atkins and South Beach. In addition to that, it's just very hard to consider recommending a diet which will be high in fats and cholesterol to people who already have cardiac issues.

    If you can't participate in vigorous exercise, then engage in less vigorous exercise and push yourself away from the table a bit sooner than normal. It may not produce results as quickly but the results produced are more likely to be maintained and you won't be depleating your body of necessary carbs or saturating your blood with fats and cholesterol.

    The point behind a diet is to find one that helps you maintain a healthy weight. Anything designed for quick, temporary weight loss will produce just that - temporary weight loss. If you happen to have a cardiac issue, then lean toward the plant based foods and away from the animal based foods. Even the meats that claim to be 95% fat free aren't quite what they claim to be. In America, the FTC allows foods from animal sources to make fat claims based on weight while plant-based foods usually state percentage of fat based on total calories. The latter is far more accurate. If you take a cube of butter, which provides all if its calories from fat, and then mix it with an equal quantity of water, you can then claim 50% fat. The butter is still 100% fat since water contains zero calories.

    To the original poster I want to thank you for the link to the article. I've been waiting for these kinds of studies to start emerging. People who want something for nothing are likely to get just what Atkins offers - temporary weight loss in exchange for their health.
     
  16. closesupport

    closesupport Banned

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    well i hope your ligement gets well soon, theres nothing worse than an injury and that craving for your sport, try to rest it, and hopefully you'll beable to refrain from doing much in the terms of use of it and exercise for the next 2 wks or so.. but until then i think that you should try and take on a little more protein, and since your not exercising a pretty good sauce would be turkey since i find it is less fatty than cheese burgers. Obviously not all the time, just whlst your out of action.
     
  17. HellonWheels

    HellonWheels New Member

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  18. ::dom::

    ::dom:: New Member

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    Here's a very simple, 3 step, formula for weight loss. I can remember where I saw this (probably on this forum) but it stuck in my mind... and it works.

    1. Eat less.

    2. Exercise more.

    3. Repeat.
     
  19. HellonWheels

    HellonWheels New Member

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    ERAE works for me! :D
     
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