In a world waking up to the myriad problems of obesity, the search for the ideal diet seems never-ending. Several diets have their own ardent followers, and equally vociferous critics. With more and more people seeking quick methods for lasting weight loss, several diets have risen to prominence.
In recent times, the Atkins diet has gained popularity, with its concept of “dieting the tasty way”. This method of dieting was popularized by Dr.Atkins, and is based on the way the human body utilizes the major food groups, namely carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The main source of energy for the body is the carbohydrates, which provide energy for all the necessary voluntary as well as autonomic functions. The proteins and fats are generally stored , to be utilized if there is a paucity of carbohydrates due to any reason. In this case, they are then broken down by a process called ketosis to produce energy. The Atkins diet is based on the reasoning that if the body is supplied with less carbohydrate than necessary, it naturally turns to the alternate source of energy, that is fats and proteins. This results in the mobilization of fats from various stores in the body, resulting in weight loss, especially the problem areas like the belly, thighs and upper arms.
This diet comprises of four phases
- On-going weight loss
In the induction phase, the intake of carbohydrate is limited to 20 grams of low calorie vegetables a day, which is increased to 25 grams in the On-going weight loss phase. In the last two phases, the carbohydrate intake is gradually increased, but only the healthy, fiber rich and low calorie carbohydrates are permitted. Gradually, the person becomes accustomed to this and starts avoiding the empty calories of simple sugars. Weight loss of almost 15 pounds has been reported in the induction phase.
By contrast, the GM diet is a week long, and advocates specific food on specific days, with a complete abstinence from alcohol and cream based drinks, with the intake of 10-15 glasses of water a day. It can be repeated in cycles as many times as required and does not have a maintenance phase.
It is difficult to comment on the superiority of one diet over the other, because both diets advocate quick weight loss, without adequate maintenance. While the GM diet strictly restricts the calorie intake, while ensuring that all the food groups are represented, it could lead to rapid weight gain once it is discontinued if you do not supplement your diet later on with the right dietary habits and exercise. Since there is no specific exercise regimen that is part of the GM Diet, it can be difficult to keep the pounds from piling back on with a vengeance if you are not careful. The main drawback with the Atkins diet is its dependance on proteins and fats which have their own set of complications if incorporated heavily on the diet. Too much of animal fats is associated with high cholesterol levels, heart disease and certain cancers. In addition, because of the ketosis, this diet is not advised in patients with disease of the liver and kidney. Ketosis in itself can be dangerous if there is too much accumulation of the end products of metabolism.
Therefore, while choosing a diet, it is better to stick to the tried and tested ones. Understand the limitations of each diet, start with a steady change to your regular food habits and continue to implement these changes after you are done with the diet plan. The next most important aspect of following any diet is to ensure that you also follow a regular exercise regimen. Good luck !!