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Atkins Diet®

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Atkins, Atkins diet, Atkins nutritional approach, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (ANI), Calories Don't Count, diet, Eco-Atkins diet, fad diet, glycemic index, high-fat diet, high-protein diet, ketogenic diet, low-carb diet, low-carbohydrate diet, low-starch diet, Robert Atkins, South beach diet®, The Drinking Man's Diet, very-low-carbohydrate diet, W. Banting's diet.
  • Not included in this review: Other high-fat diets, high-protein diets, low-carbohydrate diets (general), and the ketogenic diet.
  • Note: Only clinical trials investigating the effect of the Atkins Diet® itself will be discussed in the evidence section. Although the Atkins Diet® is considered a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, and high-fat diet, clinical trials investigating modification in macronutrients will be used to explain potential mechanisms of action of the Atkins Diet®.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • The Atkins Diet® is an eating style that radically departs from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) food pyramid, which positions carbohydrates as the staple of the American diet. The Atkins Diet® advocates an increased consumption of fats as the primary source of energy, while simultaneously restricting the intake of carbohydrates. This limitation is based on the premise that eating carbohydrates (bread, cereal, potatoes, or pasta) results in the excessive secretion of insulin, potentially resulting in increased fat stores.
  • Despite the apparent simplicity of this diet, experts have found potential long-term health risks, including type 2 diabetes and kidney impairment. The safety and long-term efficacy of the Atkins Diet® is a subject of debate in the medical community.
  • The role that the Atkins Diet® may or may not play in alleviating long-term trends of obesity and other metabolism-related conditions requires further investigation. However, short-term use of the Atkins Diet® does appear to result in weight loss in clinical trials.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.