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What are the Risks of the Atkins Diet?

by Jan DeVille
  • Overview

    The Atkins Diet is one of many low-carb diet options available. When you limit the amount of carbs you consume, your body must adapt and begin burning fat and protein. As a result, most people lose weight quickly and see very positive results. However, as with any diet, there are risks. Scientists have not yet been able to explore the long-term impact of the Atkins diet, so they don't know if these risks will bear out into continued health problems, but the risks are certainly important to be aware of before beginning the plan.
  • Energy Levels

    Because of the lack of carbohydrates, people on the Atkins diet are more prone to low energy levels. A study in the "Journal of Perception and Motor Skills" noted that people on the Atkins diet who engage in strenuous physical activity become fatigued much sooner than do people on a regular low-calorie diet.
  • Fat Intake

    The American Heart Association recommends that the average American consume no more than 30% of their calories from fat. However, the Atkins diet places no limit on fat consumption, which might place a strain on a person's heart.
  • Digestive Issues

    The Atkins diet limits intake of grains and fruits---two important sources of fiber. As a result, digestive problems such as constipation can occur.
  • Losing Weight Too Quickly

    According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy weight loss occurs at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week. On the Atkins diet, however, weight is usually shed very quickly. While this can be seen as a benefit initially, losing weight too quickly can be detrimental as important nutrients are lost.
  • Regaining Weight

    The Atkins diet cuts out most of a major food group. As a result, people who are at their goal weights and begin eating carbs again might see an immediate and unexpected weight gain.

    References & Resources