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Low Fat, Low Carb or Low Cal?


Mar 1, 2006

The advice and opinions of this author are not intended as medical advice. Please check with your own personal medical practitioner before initiating or changing treatment for any condition.

How to Manage Conflicting Diet Advice

People are constantly being told that the only way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight is to control calorie intake. It does not matter so much where the calories come from as long as one is eating less and burning more. Is this true? It is to some extent, but not completely.

When studies were done comparing people who followed the low-carb Atkins Nutritional Approach (ANA) with people on other diets, research showed that people on the ANA could eat more calories than the control groups and could lose more weight. Dr. Atkins called this the metabolic advantage.

More Protein, Less Hunger

Another study showed that eating more protein helps to control hunger and improve weight loss. This supports a basic recommendation given by Dr. Atkins ever since his first book, “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution,” appeared in 1972.

So a calorie is not necessarily a calorie, and increasing protein above the recommended 15 percent of total intake may enhance your ability to lose weight and to better adhere to your food plan. This is especially true if you are replacing poor-quality carbohydrates with protein foods. For people struggling to lose weight, who wouldn’t want to be less hungry?

Are All Carbs the Same?

Most definitely not!

Once a whole food such as a whole grain has been refined into white bread, fiber and essential nutrients like B vitamins and chromium have been lost. You are left eating a food that is devoid of nutrition and is too quickly metabolized. Foods that are highly refined can have a more immediate and negative impact on your blood glucose and insulin levels. These foods have a high glycemic index.

Over time, high insulin levels promote fat storage, which leads to weight gain, abnormal lipids, high blood pressure and other signs of the metabolic syndrome. If you improve the quality of carbohydrate foods in your diet by eating those recommended on the Atkins plan, you’ll be choosing foods with a higher nutritional value and a lower glycemic index.

Lifestyle Changes or Meds?

Anyone familiar with diabetes treatment knows that a number of medications are often given once a diagnosis of diabetes is established. This is also true of people with metabolic syndrome. It is especially hard for overweight people to manage their weight if their medications are contributing to the problem. When following the Atkins plan, many overweight people are able to lose weight while improving their glycemic control, which lessens the need for medications.

To review the complete list of research done on the Atkins plan, go to http://www.atkins.com/research-library.


Unrefined Carbohydrate

  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Rolled oats
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Quinoa
  • Wheat bread
  • Wild rice
  • Short grain brown rice

Refined Carbohydrate

  • Enriched Pasta
  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Bagels
  • White flour

One Solution

No one diet fits all. If we are to address the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, people need food choices that they can follow for a lifetime.

The Atkins Nutritional Approach allows you to normalize your weight, maintain your weight loss with the Lifetime Maintenance phase and decrease cardiovascular risk factors. The ANA’s safety and efficacy has been supported by emerging research.


Categories: Blood Glucose, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diets, Food, Insulin, Losing weight, Low Calorie & Low Fat, Low Carb



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Mar 1, 2006

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