Vegan Health ArticlesThe Atkins Scientific Research – Deceit and Disappointment
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The Atkins Diet: Short-term Weight Loss – While Sacrificing Health

The research says the Atkins Diet makes people sick. The most recent study paid for by the Robert C. Atkins Foundation found three of the 59 participants in the Atkins group dropped out; 2 because of a rise in LDL-cholesterol and one because of shakiness and uneasiness.4 Many troublesome problems occurred frequently in the low-carbohydrate diet (Atkins) group:[4]

Symptom (% of patients complaining)

Constipation (68%)

Headache (60%)

Halitosis (38%)

Muscle cramps (35%)

General weakness (25%)

Diarrhea (23%)

Rash (13%)

One participant sought medical attention for constipation, but had no complications. One 53-year-old man with a family history of early heart disease developed chest pain near the end of the study, and coronary heart disease was subsequently diagnosed.4 In the Samaha study (not financed by Atkins) one patient was hospitalized with chest pain and one patient died while on the low-carbohydrate, Atkins Diet.[3]

Other reported adverse effects of a low-carbohydrate/ketogenic diet include:

* Increased fat and cholesterol increases the blood cholesterol and risk of heart attacks.[44]

* Increased fat increases the long-term risk of obesity.[45]

* Increased dietary fat has been linked to various common cancers.[46]

* Increased dietary protein and acid increases the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis.[47,48]

* Free fatty acids, which increase the risk of heart (cardiac) arrhythmias double.[18]

Cardiac arrhythmias have been observed on the diet.[18]

* Uric acid, creatinine and BUN increase, which reflect an increased workload on the kidneys and a prediction of future kidney failure.[2]

* Patients complain of fatigue, thirst, lassitude, bad taste, and foul breath.[18]

* Increased depression, anger, confusion, fatigue and decreased vigor.[49-51]

* Neuropsychological tests show worsening performance when people are on a ketogenic diet (like Atkins).[52]

* Damage to the eyes (optic neuropathy) has been seen with a ketogenic diet.[53]

Special Problems for Children (The diet is recommended for children by Atkins and others.[9,20])

* Long-term adherence to a low-carb (ketogenic) diet may cause permanent damage to the developing brain.[54]

* Short-term effects include hypoglycemia, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and refusal to eat; long-term effects include irritability, lethargy, kidney stones, acidosis, hyperuricemia, hypocalcemia, decreased amino acids, growth, and hypercholesterolemia.[14]

* Serious adverse events were experienced by five children (10% of the group): severe hypoproteinemia, lipemia (excess triglycerides in the blood), and hemolytic anemia, Fanconi's renal tubular acidosis; and two children manifested marked increases in liver function tests.[55]

* Long-standing ketosis has been associated with myocardial dysfunction (heart problems) in children.56 Of twenty patients on the ketogenic diet, 3 had EKG abnormalities (prolonged QT interval) and three patients had evidence of cardiac chamber enlargement. In one patient with severe dilated cardiomyopathy and EKG abnormalities, these problems normalized when the diet was discontinued.[56]

Also understand that the foods recommended on a low-carbohydrate diet are primarily meat, poultry, fish, and cheeses. Over 90% of the environmental chemicals, such as DDT, dioxin, and PCB – substances known to cause cancer and damage to your nervous system – enter your body through these foods (not plant-foods). Also realize that these same animal foods carry microbes known to infect people, including bovine leukemia viruses, the “mad-cow” agent, E. coli, salmonella, tuberculosis, and listeria, to name a few well-known threats to your health. 

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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.