Atkins vs. Go-Carb Diet. Which Is Best?

In terms of books sold, perhaps the Atkins diet is the most successful of the modern age. It obviously would not be so successful if it did not work and work quickly.

However, there are several cons as well as pros to the Atkins Diet, and we shall compare it to the Go-Carb Diet (good old carbohydrate diet), and give you the opportunity to chose for yourself.

Due to the notoriety of celebrities using the Atkins diet, and the promotion of the book itself, it has become very well known and widely practiced, at least for a while.

The advantages claimed over a Go-Carb diet are:

  • Not all carbohydrates are disallowed. For example, those rich in dietary fiber are allowed as the fiber is not digested. This gives the dieter a great degree of choice
  • Similarly as so many foods are permitted, there is greater variety in this diet, so the thought is, the risk of cheating is reduced. Thus, you keep with the diet till you achieve your goal.
  • The diet permits you to eat the food you like best, such as meat, cheeses, creams, and other high fat foods.
  • The diet lets you eat large quantities and so you are not becoming hungry, and
  • Because the body thinks its starving, you burn fat for energy.

On the other hand, there are some real criticisms, which are:

  • As mentioned above, but looked at differently, if you burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates, you will have increased uric acid and ketones (you enter into a state called ketosis), which the body takes for starvation. Certainly you will lose weight, but can also end up with kidney problems, migraine and even gout. Eventually you will also burn muscle tissue, which is not desirable at all.
  • An often quoted study published in the New England Journal of Medicine providing evidence the Atkins diet works, in fact, concluded that after dieting for a significant amount of time (one year) the results of the Atkins and Go-carb diet were about the same.
  • That same study also mentioned (no real need to) that most people dropped out of both diets.
  • The Atkins diet, with high amounts of saturated fats (Omega-6) in proportion to poly-unsaturated fats (Omega-3) raises blood pressure, creates all kinds of inflammations, has a negative effect on cholesterol levels and can lead to cardiovascular disease.
  • As the Atkins diet is low in complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, it can also lead to chronic constipation and reduced colo-rectal cancer prevention.

Leaving which diet is better and for whatever reasons aside, we would like to state that the only real diet is a radical change in your eating habits. This must be linked to daily exercise. Here are some real positive suggestions, based on a Go-carb diet, that if followed, you will lose weight and keep it off. In fact, instead of choosing one diet over the other, pick the best parts of both; and

  1. Chose only lean protein, and not more than one gram per kilo of your weight daily. So if you weigh, for example, 75 kilos, you can have a maximum of 750 grams of quality protein daily. Make as much of this fish or non-red meat as possible.
  2. When you use daily products, chose those which are low in fats; as cottage cheese, low-fat milk and sour cream.
  3. Add as many fruits and vegetables as you can to our daily diet. Herein lies the secret. It is usually a dietary change, as most overweight people are eating few or any daily fruit and vegetables.
  4. If you can, eat 5 smaller meals than 3 larger ones. If you need to snack, make sure its on fruit.
  5. Careful of your fats. Reject all trans-fatty acids (good-bye McDonalds!) and use pure oils such as Extra Virgin Olive oil, or special margarines made without Trans-fatty acids.
  6. Go-carbs are best. Whole grain breads, lentils and other pulses, non-fried and salted nuts, and only natural cereals. Avoid generally all processed food if you can

If you combine the above with daily exercise, you will lose weight. The body is a wonderful machine, but it needs care.

An accompanying fitness workout to the Go-carb diet can be found at

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