I was sitting in my bed a couple of days back and watching a program on healthy food diets. Suddenly I came across a term Atkins diet. It raised my curiosity about the term. I researched like hell to find out which diet is better in Keto diet vs Atkins diet. This article will give you a great idea about what Atkins diet is, what to expect and a real life case study of atkins diet. It will also throw light on keto diet, it’s safety prepositions, benefits and side effects etc.
Though all these topics have been covered in detailed on this blog under different titles, so I will keep them short and crisp for your understanding.
The Atkins Diet
What to Expect on an Atkins diet?
The Atkins diet, generally known as a low carb or even no carbohydrate diet, is another popular weight loss diet. The general idea of following this diet is to restrict carbohydrates to force the body to look for other sources of energy. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to try the Atkins diet.
Glucose is the required energy source of the human brain. Carbohydrates are the easiest type of food for the body to convert to glucose, however, too much will cause excess calories to be stored as fat. But what happens when you restrict carbohydrates intake?
How your body adjusts to this diet?
The body is an amazing machine. You can take protein and fat and convert them into glucose too. So, when you restrict your carbohydrates in the Atkins diet, it essentially forces your body to burn protein and fat. That is why it becomes important to consume fat while on this diet.
You should remember that too much protein can cause a buildup of free radicals called ketones, causing a condition called ketosis, or the condition in which the body uses fat as fuel. This is good, as it is a sign that the body is burning fat as fuel. It is important that you drink plenty of water in the Atkins diet to help the kidneys eliminate toxins from the body.
Ketoacidosis should not be confused with ketosis, which is one of the body’s normal processes for body fat metabolism. In ketoacidosis, the accumulation of keto acids is so severe that the pH of the blood decreases substantially. This happens primarily due to more hunger than the type of food you eat on daily basis.
Something you should also think about when trying the Atkins diet is making sure you get enough fiber. It is suggested that you obtain the fiber in the form of a sugar-free fiber supplement. Eating too much of protein and fat can literally cause digestion problems and cause uneasiness to you.
Keep in mind too, that this is a lifestyle. To see results, you must limit carbohydrates completely for the initial phase, and only eat a limited amount of complex carbohydrates thereafter. It can get pretty boring, but if you can add exercise to the mix, you can let some additional carbohydrates go back to your diet and still maintain the weight you want.
Life on the Atkins Diet: A real story
While going through Atkins diet case studies on the internet I came across one case of a lady who clearly stated the effects of following an Atkins diet. Her story is given below:
About three years ago, I tried the Atkins Diet for losing weight. The Atkins Diet is a very low-carb, high protein regimen. I did lose weight- almost 60 pounds. I didn’t feel hungry- in fact, my body completely lost any appetite for food, including “mouth hunger” and “the munchies” from indulging in another bad habit of mine, which I gave up last year. Additionally, the acid reflux that had been plaguing me for a few years was gone after just a few weeks of following the diet.
I followed the diet to the letter, not cheating, going through the two week “induction” period, of very low carbohydrate intake (almost NO carb intake, really), and tested my urine with the keto sticks every morning, first things, to make sure that I was maintaining ketosis. I got both the basic book about the diet and the Atkins Cookbook, and learned how to make some delicious food. I also used the Atkins Shake mixes and canned shakes, for when I was at work in the morning, and had to gulp down a quick breakfast.
The great thing was that the weight came off where I needed it off the most- in my stomach and abdomen. Many experts say that people who “carry” their excess weight in the belly are more prone to Diabetes than those who are equally overweight, but with an even distribution of excess poundage over the body. I was wearing clothes that I hadn’t worn in a few years.
Doctor’s take on her Atkins Diet
My disapproving doctor called it a “funky diet”. I followed it for about five months. I looked great and didn’t feel hungry. What stopped me from continuing was pain- sharp, intense pain in my kidneys that started suddenly one day. I found out that kidney failure was a hazard of following this diet. I stopped, and the pounds came back with a vengeance- probably gained more back that I had lost. Despite taking a multi-vitamin and several other supplements every day, I became deficient in certain phytonutrients, including Vitamin C. The last few weeks I was following the diet, I had no immune system, and caught colds easily. I also still have a small lump in my left leg- whether it is a small gout or something else from the diet, I don’t know. But the big thing was the intense pain in my kidneys, which got me to stop immediately.
I’m still looking for the diet plan that works for me. Over the years, I have counted calories, done Weight Watchers (3 times), just plain went hungry, and still haven’t found a permanent solution. I think restricting carbs was the right track for me, but perhaps not as severely or not for so long a period of time.
Going by her experience, it looks like that Atkins is hard on body. But this is just one example and this diet type can not be generalized for side-effects at all. I also came across many positive cases which mentioned this diet as an ideal diet for them. This derives the fact that such diet can work for few people in the desired manner and for other few, it may not.
Keto Diet vs Atkins: Objective, benefits & drawbacks
The Keto Diet
Is the Keto Diet Right for You?
Are you interested in losing weight? Are you tired of diets that promote low or no fat and crave your high-fat meats? It is very possible that you are considering following the keto diet, the new boy in the block. Endorsed by many celebrities, such as Halle Berry, LeBron James, Jenna Jameson and Kim Kardashian, among others, the keto diet has been the subject of much debate among dietitians and doctors.
What is the ketogenic diet?
You should keep in mind that the body uses sugar in the form of glycogen to function. The keto diet that is extremely restricted in sugar forces your body to use fat as fuel instead of sugar, since it does not get enough sugar. When the body does not get enough sugar as fuel, the liver is forced to convert the available fat into ketones that the body uses as fuel, hence the term ketogenic.
This diet is a high fat diet with moderate amounts of protein. Depending on your carbohydrate intake, the body reaches a state of ketosis in less than a week and remains there. Since fat is used instead of sugar as fuel in the body, weight loss is dramatic without any supposed calorie restriction.
The ketogenic diet is such that you should try to get 60-75% of your daily calories from fat, 15-30% protein and only 5-10% carbohydrates. This generally means that you can eat only 20-50 grams of carbohydrates in one day.
What can you eat with this diet?
The diet is a high fat diet that is somewhat similar to Atkins. However, there is a greater emphasis on fats, usually “good” fats. In the keto diet you can have:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Walnut oils
- Grass-fed beef
- Other meats
- Full cheese
- Green leafy vegetables
- Non-starchy vegetables
You can also get a wide range of snacks for keto followers. As you can see in this list, fruits are restricted. You can have low-sugar fruits in a limited amount (mainly berries), but you will have to give up your favorite fruits, since they are all sweet and / or starchy.
This diet does not include grains of any kind, starchy vegetables such as potatoes (and all tubers), without sugar or sweets, without breads and cakes, without beans and lentils, without pasta, without pizza and hamburgers and very little alcohol. This also means that there is no coffee with milk or tea with milk; in fact, there is no milk or ice cream or milk-based desserts.
Many of these have alternative solutions, since you can get pasta and pizza without carbohydrates, you can have cauliflower rice and now there are even restaurants that cater to keto fans.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
If you wonder if this diet is safe, your advocates and those who have achieved your weight loss goals will certainly agree that it is safe. Among the benefits of the keto diet you can expect:
- Weight loss
- Reduced or no spikes sugar peaks
- Appetite control
- Attack Control effect
- Blood pressure is normalized in patients with high blood pressure
- Reduction of migraine attacks
- Patients with type 2 diabetes who follow this diet can reduce their medications.
- Some benefits for those with cancer
Are there any side effects of this diet?
When the keto diet initially begins, you may suffer what is known as the keto flu. These symptoms may not occur in all people and usually begin a few days after dieting, when your body is in a state of ketosis. Some of the side effects are:
- Cramps and tummy ache
- Diarrhea and / or constipation.
- Muscle cramps
- Dizziness and low concentrations.
- Cravings for carbohydrates and sugar
These may take up to a week to disappear as your body gets used to the new diet regimen. You may also have other problems when the ketogenic diet begins. An increase in urination is also experienced, so it is important to stay well hydrated. You can also suffer keto breathing when your body reaches an optimal ketosis. In this case you can use a mouthwash or brush your teeth more frequently.
Usually, the side effects are temporary and once your body acclimates to the new diet, they should disappear.
How safe is the keto diet?
Like any other diet that restricts food in specific categories, the keto diet is not without risks. As you can not eat many fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils and other foods, you may suffer from the lack of many essential nutrients. Since the diet is high in saturated fats and, if you delight in “bad” fats, you may have high cholesterol levels that increase your risk of heart disease.
In the long term, the keto diet can also cause many nutritional deficiencies, since you cannot eat grains, many fruits and vegetables and lose fiber, as well as important vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, among other things. You may suffer from gastrointestinal problems, decreased bone density (without dairy and other sources of calcium) and kidney and liver problems (the diet puts additional stress on both organs).
Is the keto diet safe for you?
If you are willing to give up your usual staple foods and are really eager to lose weight, you may be tempted to try the keto diet. The biggest problem with this diet is poor patient compliance due to carbohydrate restriction, so make sure you can live with your food choices. If you simply find that it is too difficult to follow, you can opt for a version of the modified keto diet that offers more carbohydrates.
However, keto diet has been found to effectively help in losing weight. According to a recent study, many of the obese patients followed were successful in losing weight. Any problem they faced was temporary. If you do not have significant health problems, except obesity and have not managed to lose weight after a conventional diet, the keto diet may be a viable option. You must be absolutely determined to lose weight and be prepared to follow a restricted diet as specified. Even if you have a medical problem, you can follow the advice of your doctor and the guidance of a nutritionist and follow this diet.
Another study that was carried out for a longer time showed that keto diet is beneficial for losing weight. It also reduces cholesterol levels with a decrease in bad cholesterol and simultaneous increase in good cholesterol.
Is the keto diet safe for you? Most doctors and nutritionists agree that the keto diet is good for losing weight in the short term. As for the long term, more studies are needed. Keep in mind that obesity is not an appropriate option, since it carries its own risk of health problems.
The Conclusion (Keto diet vs Atkins)
So, to conclude, I am going for a tabular form comparison that will make it very easy for you to figure out the similarities and differences.
Comparison chart in terms of Diet Nature:
|KETO DIET||ATKINS DIET|
|LOW CARB||Always||In the induction phase|
|WEIGHT LOSS||Tends to be more efficient||More easy to follow and to stick|
|FAT INTAKE||Upto 80% of your calories||Higher in fat than typical weight loss diet|
|LONG TERM||Slightly difficult to follow||More sustainable for most people|
Average Macronutrients proportion for both diet types:
|KETO DIET||ATKINS DIET|