Our expert says:
I am personally not in favour of the Atkins Diet. The reason why I and my dietetic colleagues have a problem with high-protein diets is that such diets automatically will expose you to high levels of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol because all animal protein foods such as meat, eggs and poultry contain animal fats which in turn contain these 'bad' fats which in turn can exacerbate high blood cholesterol and lipid levels predisposing to heart disease and certain cancers. A high protein intake may also have a negative effect on kidney function and leach calcium out of the body. There is also not yet sufficient evidence that shows that these high-protein diets sustain weight loss in the long-term, which is after all the purpose of trying to lose weight. Then there is also the problem of a lack of protective nutrients (bioflavonoids, phytochemicals, etc which are mainly found in plant foods) and dietary fibre, so that using a high-protein diet for long periods can cause certain deficiencies and constipation. So, if it works for you and you don't use it for longer than about 2 weeks at a time, then that is fine. but please be aware of the potential dangers of such diets. You should still be getting at least 1-2 portions of carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) at each meal to supply you with fibre and readily available energy. To read more about the Atkins Diet, click on click on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then on 'Weight loss' and 'Diet Detective' and read the article on the Atkins Diet. It is safer to use a balanced low-fat, high-fibre diet that does not exclude any of the food groups to lose weight. Combine such a diet with regular exercise to achieve weight loss.
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