When most people think of low carb diets they automatically think Atkins. For obvious reasons. Dr. Robert Atkins formulated the original low carb diet in 1972 and was met a with a hail of ridicule and negativity from the medical community at large.
The Atkins Diet, since renamed to the Atkins Nutritional Approach, works on a very simple principle. Carbohydrates are what our body normally use to produce energy. If you restrict the carbohydrate intake of a normal person their metabolism changes. Changes? Yes your body looks to the next available energy source which is....fat. So now instead of burning carbohydrates for energy your body does the same thing with your existing fat deposits.
In a low carbohydrate diet you actually increase your intake of fat and pure protein as opposed to reducing it. In theory the more fat you eat the more fat you burn because your body is now using fat for energy. It's common to see low carb dieters eating enormous steaks smothered in butter with fried eggs and mushrooms on the side. A very high fat meal but also a perfect low carbohydrate meal.
The fat burning process is called lipolysis. As the fat is being broken down for energy a secondary phase called ketosis occurs. Ketones are the fragments of fat being broken down in the process of lipolysis hence the name ketosis.
Ketosis has a single nasty side effect -bad breath. For whatever biological reason the conversion of fat to energy can lead to really, really bad breath. This is a common complaint amongst followers of Atkins and similar low carbohydrate diets.
Amongst some of the bad press that low carb diets receive are worrying stories of people dying while on a low carb diet. These hyped up media tales are tied to one word - ketoacidosis. This particular condition occurs when a person goes on a zero carbohydrate diet and/or suffers from diabetes. During the ketosis phase the blood becomes overly acidic to a critical point. Coma and death can follow quickly if medical attention is not immediately sought.
Does everybody following a low carb diet run the risk of ketoacidosis? Not unless you have a history of diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed) and you also totally eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Even then only a small number of people are actually susceptible to the effects of ketoacidosis when compared to the general population.
The results that low carb diets produce are hard to argue with. Rapid weight loss in a short space of time whilst on a high fat, high protein diet. These results fly in the face of conventional medical wisdom and serve to constantly annoy the established medical community.
Low carb dieting is not going to disappear any time soon. Especially not as long as major Hollywood celebrities are successfully using Atkins and showing off their results to the world media.
This article was submitted courtesy of the Low Carb Advice website. You can find tons of useful information on low carb diets there.
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