Obesity today is a worldwide “epidemic”. Everybody wants a supermodel body, thus the reason why a broad spectrum of alternative diets (quick fix) has evolved, although everyone knows sustained weight loss is based on calorie and portion size control. Weight can be lost on any diet that restricts portion sizes and total energy intake. Sustainability is hard to maintain, because people may feel hungry and deprived. Healthy sustainable weight loss is attained by lifestyle changes. As all dietetic professionals know, there is no mystery in how to lose weight-burn more calories and balance energy intake by balancing your sugar levels! Burn more calories by exercising, and by consuming the right amount of food for your specific needs.

“The global rise in overweight and obesity has intensified the search for an effective weight loss program.”

A popular trend of weight loss by way of minimizing starchy intake, without protein and fat restrictions, (example Atkins and Banting), contributed to the Atkins and Banting craze and, because people are told what they want to hear and believe. The Atkins diet is an alternative to conventional diets. Conventional diets consist of a balanced diet; that means to eat proteins, fat and a starchy food always together. In this report we will compare the efficiency of the high protein/fat, low–starchy intake and balanced diet towards weight loss.

The Atkins diet: High protein/fat and low-carbohydrates (starch) Dr Atkins’ new diet revolution, describes not simply a diet, but rather a lifetime nutritional philosophy, with vitamin and mineral supplementation. Dr Atkins claims weight loss, maintenance of weight loss without hunger, good health and disease prevention. A high protein low in complex carbohydrate diet, including whole foods, are high in disease-promoting substances and low in protective ones. The reasons for this are restrictions on fruit and vegetables, and emphasize consumption of meat, eggs and butter. These foods contain large amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and oxidants which contribute to a diverse variety of chronic diseases. Although the primary intervention is focused on weight loss, one must consider all the effects associated with the broader view of dieting, especially diets like these, where the lack of scientific evidence provokes controversy.

It is acknowledged that low carbohydrate diets do cause significant weight loss in a short period. Cell ratio is three to four parts water to one part glycogen (sugar for energy), therefore with a low carbohydrate diet, glycogen is depleted and not replaced. This results in excessive water excretion, which accounts for the weight loss. Low–carbohydrate diets are associated with high fat and/or protein and cause a state of ketosis. Ketosis is the breakdown of fat to ketone-bodies to supply the body with energy in the absence of glucose. Ketosis suppresses hunger and reduces daily calorie intake. Weight loss occurs when energy expenditure is larger than energy intake. As to be expected, when converting back to your normal diet, cells will be rehydrated and the ketosis effect will be elevated, causing reoccurrence of hunger and therefore weight is normally regained rapidly 10 times and more!!

Foster suggests that persons who followed the low carbohydrate diet regained this weight within a year. A satiating effect is induced by high protein diets in comparison to carbohydrate which leads to overall less food consumption.

Conventional /balanced diets

Nutritional principles are based on promoting adequacy, balance, calorie control, nutrient density, moderation and variety. According to the American Dietetic Association, it’s unnecessary to eliminate any specific food, because all foods has a functional place in a balance diet to serve the body. Thus a healthy, balanced diet is just the answer. In relation to the carbohydrate contents of the conventional diet; fibre and low glycemic index foods may reduce the overall glycemic load of a meal. Complex CHO and whole foods are rich in many substances (phyto-chemicals and anti-oxidants) that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. These foods are all low in disease promoting substances (cholesterol, saturated fat and oxidants).

The dangers in the high protein diet:

  1. Kidney failure
  2. Severe constipation (due to lack of fibre)
  3. Hemorrhoids
  4. Severe headaches
  5. Dizziness and black-outs because of low blood sugar levels
  6. Decrease in metabolism
  7. No energy
  8. Regaining weight, that was lost, and more in a short period
  9. Depression due to low serotonin intake
  10. High cholesterol levels
  11. Expensive.
  12. Unsustainable.
  13. It is a myth.