Atkins Diet Pros and Cons – Food For Thought

My list of Atkins diet pros and cons are based on my own observations and talking to friends and relatives who have been on the Atkins Diet. I didn’t get it from a bunch of medical journals or newspaper reports. I believe the best way to judge a diet is by how it affects real people, so here’s what I can tell you about the pros and cons of the Atkins diet:

There are as many opinions and criticism about the Atkins program as there are diets out there (and there are hundreds). I narrowed it down to 3 pros and 3 cons of the Atkins diet that I think are important to making your own decision. These are the ones that I think are central to understanding the diet.

Atkins Diet Pros

Atkins Diet Pros and Cons

  • The Atkins Diet Plan is Easy to Follow - There are a few basic things to keep in mind:

    • Cut out as many carbohydrates as possible.
    • Protein is a key component of the plan.
    • Fats are okay in moderation.
    • Vegetables and dietary supplements are also important. There’s no calorie counting with the Dr. Atkins diet plan, no complicated regimen to follow and no need to purchase special foods. For me, this was perfect – I could cook things I liked and decide what to eat when instead of following a strict pre-packaged formula.

  • The Atkins Diet Reduces Cravings - This was central to my success because I was addicted to sweets. I don’t mean mildly – I mean I had wild cravings for my daily chocolate bar! By about the end of my first week on the Atkins diet, however, I noticed that I could look at chocolate bars with indifference. The assertion that eating fewer carbs and more protein curbs the desires for carbs is accurate! I was amazed at how quickly I shifted to being satisfied with crunchy vegetables, salads and lean meats.
  • The Atkins Diet is Quick - You will be amazed out how much weight you lose during your first month. This is because you spend the first two weeks (called the Induction Phase) completely re-adjusting your metabolism. After you’ve been on the program a few weeks, your body actually burns body fat more efficiently and your metabolism is working at a higher rate.
  • Atkins Diet Cons

    • The Need for Plenty of Water - You need to be aware of your body’s needs when on the Atkins Diet, especially the need for water. Dehydration can occur, especially during the first week or two. This is because protein has less moisture than the many carbohydrates you’re probably used to eating every day. To counter-act the effects of a low carb diet, be sure you drink plenty of water. I carry a water bottle with me everywhere so that I can drink some at stop lights, when waiting in line, etc. Don’t let dehydration sabotage you.
    • What about My Heart? - The jury is still out on whether the diet is pro or con for your heart in the long run. Some health care professionals say that the reduction in cholesterol levels in Atkins dieters means it is a heart-healthy diet. Others say this is caused by the weight loss, not the specific diet and they worry that there could be other, long-term problems with a high-fat diet. It’s too soon to tell.
    • No Alcohol - You have to give up alcohol on the Atkins diet during the first two phases (this was definitely not a "pro" but a big “con” for me – but I managed). Wines and beers especially are full of sugars. If you like having alcohol with dinner or enjoy drinks with friends, you’ll be short-circuiting your diet. And don’t fool yourself into thinking something as small as a drink doesn’t make a difference – the Atkins plan relies on no sugar intake, so just a glass or two of wine will put you back at square one.

    There’s no one answer to the question, “Is this diet right for me?” But by giving you some of the common Atkins diet pros and cons, I hope I’ve given you food for thought.