These vegan health articles are presented to assist you in taking a pro-active part in your own health.
The “Metabolic Advantage” of the Atkins Diet
The rational for the Atkins Diet is that severe carbohydrate restriction will result in ketosis which promotes lipid oxidation (fat loss), satiety (satisfaction of appetite), and increased energy expenditure. Supporters of the Atkins low-carbohydrate Diet promote this approach as a faster, more efficient way to lose weight than other diets. They believe there is an increased weight loss per calorie compared to other similar diets, higher in carbohydrate. They refer to this phenomenon as the “metabolic advantage.” The increase in energy loss is due to inefficiency in body metabolism caused by the low-carbohydrate diet. For example, the human body on a very low-carbohydrate diet has to expend energy to make carbohydrate for tissues that absolutely require glucose, like the brain and red blood cells (through the process of gluconeogenesis, glucose is synthesized from protein) – this means extra calories are expended. This is only one of many calorie-requiring adaptions to survive that occur when the body is forced to live without sufficient carbohydrate.
I believe that following the Atkins Diet does cause the body to become inefficient and to expend more calories – but this transformation is not something to brag about. Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway used naturally during times of duress when people are not eating, because of starvation or sickness. Since the brain, red blood cells, and a few other tissues must have carbohydrate to function, the body must call upon this mechanism to survive. If increasing calorie expenditure by taxing the body’s survival mechanisms were truly the proper direction for the diet industry to head, then might not the next generation of weight loss programs include infecting people with dysentery, malaria or HIV? There is no question that the short-term (dysentery and malaria) and long-term (HIV) weight losses will outstrip even the sickness-associated-weight-loss caused by Atkins.
However, not all studies find this “metabolic advantage” and the recent 24-week study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (paid for by the Robert C. Atkins Foundation) found the percentage of total weight lost that was from fat over 24 weeks was similar in the Atkins and “low-fat,” calorie-restricted, diet groups.
We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.