Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ATKINS AND THE ZERO CARB DIET


I recently crossed the site of www.atkins.com and decided to browse what new stuff these folks have to say. It seems the approach is quite near the “original Dr. Atkins” but, still, with years, changes were made to the initial recommendations.

One problem often encountered on any modified carb diet (from LC to VLCD to ZC diet) is, it seems, at one point, many folks stop loosing weight and cannot reach their desired goal. And others, sadly, do even gain back weight even if they are doing seriously the approach. As we all know, there can be many reasons for this including “slowly making mistakes on the diet” which is often the cause. I think the Atkins’s company have understood this and so, they have made new recommendations to assure success to their clients.

What got my attention and is of interest for one on Zero Carb is the following:

“At each meal eat 4 to 6 ounces (115 – 175 grams) of protein foods, including poultry, beef, lamb, pork, fish and shellfish, eggs and cheese”.

Do you have any idea how much “4 to 6 ounces” represent? Not a lot…

They argue if one overdoes proteins, he will feel “sluggish”. I am not sure about their explanation but we clearly see a trend in the “modified carb diet world” in the recent years and it is to go from a “high protein recommendation” to a “moderate (or adequate) protein recommendation”. 

Easy to say; surely not easy to do.

But studies have showed that high protein foods do create a generous release of insulin and higher blood glucose even if they contain no carbohydrate. We must never forget the purpose of insulin is NOT only to push in our cells glucose BUT also proteins and fats. And this is an essential mechanism to get appropriate nutrition.

The original idea on the Atkins diet was to "eat to satisfy your appetite then stop". But I think a lot of obese folks have lost permanently their sense of “feeling full” and adding this to the “social habit” of always emptying plates, they have to face sad consequences on the scale.

Then when checking the new Atkins recommendation on “fat allowance”, I noticed even more serious changes. The “eat as much fat as you need to satisfy you” is OUT.

They now say: “Just add a splash of olive oil or a pat of butter. Don’t skimp on fats”. Again, a “splash and a pat” are extremely small quantities…

Also, on the food preparation, they say: “As for cooking, use just enough oil to ensure that they don’t burn. Or spritz the pan with a mist of olive oil.”

Atkins is in fashion since 1985. This means the Atkins’s company has now nearly 30 years of serious experiences with this diet. And we must not neglect experience: knowledge is something strong but “knowledge from experience” is even stronger.

So the end point seesm to be: “less protein and even less fat then originally recommended”.

This is sort of disturbing on a Zero Carb diet. Because the big difference with the Atkins’s approach is that there are no vegetables to feel you up to compensate the small volume of 4-6 ounces of meat.  We know the “fullness” sensation in the stomach is a very important factor to cause the release of “satiety hormones”.

I, myself, have tried to cut down on protein, allowing 5 ounces servings of protein with all the fat I wanted. The results were not great and I must admit I was still hungry after meals.

But one way I think most of us do on Zero Carb is to go with 2 meals per day. Which means the Atkins’s 4-6 ounces of protein servings 3 TIMES PER DAY are eaten in 2 meals of 6 to 9 ounces 2 TIMES PER DAY which is much more sensible to reach a good level of satiety.  Of course, and this is of significance, if you are trying to loose weight, the portions have to be of different sizes compare to a "maintenance" phase...

Anyway, the general conclusions we can get from all this is that we should be carefull about protein portions. As for fats, eating fatty cuts of meats is probably the way to go as it brings us near the “adding minimal amounts of extra fat” recommendation.

When you think about it, “added fats” are, in a way, processed food as they have to be “extracted”… butter from milk… olive oil from whole olives… coconut oil from coconut flesh… ect.,  as nature did not created them in this original form for us... and there is certainly a reason for not doing it!!!

Denis


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