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Pros and Cons of the Atkins Diet

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Updated February 15, 2014

The Atkins Diet has many unique factors that you should consider before attempting to follow it. What may rule out this strict diet for some may make it ideal for you. Here, learn about some of the pros and cons of the Atkins diet.

Pros

 

  • Many men prefer this diet thanks to hearty foods like steaks and burgers being regular menu items.
  • Eliminates "bad" carbs (refined carbohydrates) such as baked goods like cake and white bread.
  • You are able to find your "ideal" carbohydrate intake level while following this plan.
  • Many people have lost a lot of weight on this plan. Several Atkins dieters I know have lost as much as 80 pounds.
  • Some Atkins dieters see improvements in cholesterol levels (despite the diet's high fat content).
Cons
  • The diet does not provide enough energy in the form of carbohydrate, so the body is forced to go into ketosis. This causes additional burden on the kidneys. There is not a lot of research available on the long-term effects of this.
  • Long-term effects on the heart have also not been studied.
  • You'll miss out on vital nutrients supplied by fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This could lead to vitamin deficiencies.
  • Low-carb diets such as Atkins can adversely affect calcium levels in the body
  • Most Atkins dieters experience constipation, halitosis, and sometimes, dehydration.
  • Potential -- but seemingly rare -- complications can include osteoporosis, hypotension, liver and kidney problems, and possible increase in heart disease risk.
  • You must account for every gram of carbohydrate you consume which can be difficult for some people to do, particularly when eating out.
  • Those who return to eating carbs again usually regain all -- if not more than -- the weight they lost during the diet.
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