The Athlete

Atkins Diet: Fact or Fad?

Who hasn't heard of the Atkins diet? It is a wildly popular, controversial, and highly lucrative diet craze that has taken the world of sport nutrition and everyday dieters by storm. The Atkins diet is the most well known of the so called low carbohydrate (low-carb), high-protein diets. Thousands, perhaps millions of people have tried the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet is so popular that fast-food chains such as Subway have even introduced foods that fit into the overall plan of a low carb, high-protein diet. There are also a variety of products in grocery stores and even entire stores that specialize in Atkins diet foods. An entire industry has sprung up out of the popularity if the Atkins diet, with many books arguing the pros and cons of this controversial form of dieting.

The Atkins diets instructs the dieter to consume high amounts of protein and eat foods such as fish, beef, chicken and tuna, while avoiding foods that contain lots of carbohydrate such as breads, pastas, cereals, and starchy foods such as potatoes. The theory behind the reduction of carbohydrates is that carbs can eventually turn to fat and are then stored by the human body as unwanted fat cells. Protein on the other hand, is more difficult for the body to store as fat and helps increase muscle mass. The Atkins diet has become popular in sports nutrition circles because of the often dramatic results in performance. Non athletes have also experienced excellent weight-loss results.

Proteins help create new tissue and replace old tissue. They help regulate the delicate balance of acids and water in the human body, and transport nutrients and oxygen to the body's blood and cells. Protein, in and of itself is certainly a good thing. However, scientists clearly state that consuming an unbalanced, irregularly high amount of protein can be harmful to your health. Numerous studies have shown that eating too much protein can put you health in serious jeopardy. Too much protein can result in strokes, kidney stones, and even heart disease. Several scientists have come out against long-term use of the Atkins diet.

Even though the Atkins diet can result in short-term physical gains, the loss of fat tissue, and a higher level of sports performance, it can, in the long run be detrimental to your health. The Atkins diet may seem to work, but you can't stay on them forever. Once you go off the Atkins diet, your body may have difficulty accepting the newly reintroduced carbohydrates, and even store them as fat quicker than before you went on the Atkins diet.

For people who are thinking of going on the Atkins diet to enhance your overall sports nutrition, you may want to consult your physician or a registered dietician before you begin. While many people have experienced dramatic weight loss from using the Atkins diet, there is still some debate about its medical implications, especially when it comes to long-term Atkins diets. As with anything else in the world of sports nutrition, it pays to do some research and ask around before embarking on a diet such as the Atkins diet.