Monday, March 01, 2004

Random Rant

I'm bored but feel like writing. Therefore, I'm going to offer my thoughts on something that has been annoying me for some time.

The Atkins Diet.

People, I'm really happy this works for some of you, but in case you didn't realize it, it's not good for your body. In case you were unsure of how this diet works, the lack of ingested carbohydrates sends your body into a state of ketosis, which is just a fancy word to say that your body thinks it's starving. How can that be good for you?

Besides, it has been proven over and over that the best and most lasting way to lose weight is to do it gradually, with a mixture of exercise and diet modification. Let me stress again that you do not have to force your body into starvation in order to lose weight. I'm not sure what the weight bounce-back rate is after stopping this diet, but I imagine it to be high. Not only are you depriving your body of required nutrients, but you're possibly screwing around with your body's set point for weight, meaning that because your body thinks it's starving, when things go back to 'normal', it will probably pack on extra fat for storage, just in case the time of starvation comes again.

The whole Atkins concept throws sand in the face of all the nutrition information we were taught in grade school. Remember The Food Pyramid? I don't know if they still teach this, but I remember vividly that the bread/grains/rice/pasta group was on the bottom and that it called for the most servings out of the entire pyramid.

This group forms the bottom of the pyramid, so the foods in this group should make up the biggest part of what you eat all day. That's because bread, cereal, rice, and pasta are all great sources of carbohydrate, the nutrient that the body uses as its major energy source. So if you want lots of power, be sure to hit the bottom of the pyramid!

And carbohydrate isn't the only bonus you'll get from this food group: you'll also get lots of B vitamins and some iron.

In addition, the lack of carbohydrates in your diet often equals lack of fiber (through fruits and grains), which lends the lovely side effect of constipation. They recommend taking fiber pills and the like, but wouldn't that be a signal that you're obviously not getting enough of something in your diet? I'm in the school of thought that eating the right foods is better than popping vitamins to try and make up for it.

I tried the Zone Diet (similar to Atkin's) several years ago, but frankly what I was supposed to eat ended up making me feel gross and kind of sick. I don't see how eating almost solely protein and fat can be good for you. I mean, I totally felt bad for my arteries. My body was craving fruit, vegetables, and grains.

Interestingly, there was a high-carb, anti-Atkins experiment done and the non-control participants lost about 7 pounds without cutting calories and without exercise, and almost 11 pounds with 45 minutes of stationary bike-riding four times weekly. Which goes to show that it's not the carbs that are evil.

I'm not trying to slam anyone on this diet, because if it works for you and you're happy with it, that's great. I just want you to be aware that it's not the healthiest thing you can do to your body. If you're interested in knowing more, click here for my Google search or here for a more scientific and eloquent explanation of what I said above.

Currently Playing...
Song: Wading in the Velvet Sea by Phish
Book: Bel Canto by Anne Patchett
Obsessing Over: Stupid people

No comments: