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dare i say...atkins diet?

k
kate Feb 4, 2000 01:23 PM

This is not meant to cause a stir amongst hardcore chowhounds, although most of us have probably at one time or another been on a diet. I love food, but that passion is really starting to show, and I'm thinking about attempting the Atkins diet for a couple of weeks. What's the skinny here? (no pun intended) I can eat lots of protein, I know, so who has some amazing protein suggestions around town? Can I eat sweet roast pork from Chinatown or is that a nono? What the hell are you supposed to do if -no, WHEN- you get a sweet craving? Can I chew sugar-free gum at least? Maybe this isn't such a good idea....

  1. p
    Pat Hammond Feb 4, 2000 02:03 PM

    A good friend of mine was on it for about three weeks. She lost about 13 pounds. Then one day she came down with a cold and a sore throat and bought some cough drops. She ate the whole bag in one day. She'd been doing fine up until then but the introduction of sugar, even if it was "medicine" really messed things up. Before that she hadn't craved sugar or carbs at all, after that it was pure torture. I have heard that the Heller Diet(the husband-wife team, who wrote the Carbohydrate addict's diet) is much more reasonable and it works. Some carbs are allowed but in a balance with other things. And by all means step up your exercise.
    It's all the pits, I know. Good luck. pat

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pat Hammond
      k
      kate Feb 4, 2000 02:24 PM

      Pat,
      I appreciate the suggestion. You know, you've got me wondering, will the candy coating on advil throw me off? Will I be tempted to devour a whole bottle of candy coated pills just to get some sugar?!?! It all seems slightly ridiculous.

    2. c
      Cathy Feb 4, 2000 02:47 PM

      I wouldn't recommend going on a high-protein diet. You can lose a lot of weight fast, but I understand that you can do a lot of damage to your liver. Also, the Atkins diet in particular recommends eating a ton of high-fat foods, and that is certainly not good for you.

      The bottom line is - why go on such a drastic diet that you're eventually going to go off of, and gain all the weight back? Just cut down a bit, exercise more and lose the weight very slowly.

      You can't be a chowhound and be on the Atkins diet!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cathy
        k
        kate Feb 4, 2000 02:58 PM

        I don't agree that you can't be a chowhound if you're on the atkins diet. you just become a very focused chowhound.....okay, I get your point.
        It does seem contrary to everything natural to avoid eating things like fruit and vegetables, but there's a sick appeal to this diet. It's some primal, twisted, carnivorous thing. I would be loathe to do this more than 2 weeks, but it's a good jump start. After that initial loss, then I would start a normal, moderate eating regimen (although that's a problem for me, since I think about food all the time and I hate to ignore cravings). And the diet isn't all about red meat and bacon, etc.--you can eat lots of fish and poultry too. the best part is all the cheese!...all that glorious cheese....

      2. k
        Keith Feb 4, 2000 04:53 PM

        Girl,

        I hate to tell you this, but assuming you're in reasonable health and can exercise, that's what ya gotta do! There's nothing better than burning some calories for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a day. It not only sheds fat, it enhances your body's metabolic rate to keep things humming better than ever. And, it releases those good-feeling chems to the brain. Gotta do it if you don't have a good reason not to. (what, you just don't want to, and that's good enough reason? Okay, I'm with you. Forget the whole idea. What was I thinking!)

        Really, though, I'm 39 years old now and can't keep it off without something going on in the cardio world for the ol' heart. And once I get going, it's like anything; new habit, things get easier, feeling good!

        Come on now, Jawdown all ya want, but work it off!
        (of course I'm not 1005 consistant myself. Sheesh!)

        Keith

        1. a
          AHR Feb 4, 2000 11:50 PM

          The usual tips about getting more exercise (and fresh air, but watch those UV rays!) are true and useful, but if you wish to lose serious weight, you will also need to diet. In my experience and that of numerous friends, the Atkins diet has been a most efficient and healthful diet, and, at least to this carnivore, far from all unpleasant.

          Atkins is not about what you must eat, but rather what you mustn't -- if you don't like beef, eat lamb; if you don't like lamb, eat chicken; if you don't like chicken, eat fish or cheese or eggs, or the like -- but, depending upon your weight and weight-loss ambitions, do not eat more than a certain amount of carbohydrate each day, in my case about 60 grams (2 ounces). In practice, this means no bread, cereal, rice, potatoes, sugar(!), or foods containing related ingredients, at least for the first several weeks. Green, leafy things are encouraged, as are any non-starchy vegetables, though fruits are initially severly limited (that sugar again). As you approach your weight goal, you reintroduce fruits, whole grains, and other carbohyrdrate foods until your weight-loss halts, but in the interest of your long-term health, continue to avoid sugar its multifarious forums and similar highly processed foods.

          From what I've experienced and read, the hysteria about the dangers of high-protein (or even high-fat) diets is mostly propaganda by folks, including the medical establishment and the AHA, that have their own economic or political agendas to protect. As it turns out, for example, the artifical trans fats found in the margarine that's been pushed at us are are far, far more dangerous than the ("natural") saturated fats in meat; that sugar intake may be a better predictor of heart disease than fat intake; and so forth. As for alleged liver damage, that's a new one, though people with known kidney malfunction should not undertake a high-protein diet unless under a doctor's care (but note that protein does not in any way harm normal kidneys!).

          When on the diet, I routinely eat Chinese roast pork and spare ribs, though if they're wet or sticky with sauce, I scrape the stuff off, and mentally note that any sauce residue goes against my carb count for the day. After a week or so on the diet, I find that my appetite slackens somewhat, as does especially my sweet tooth, but you're permitted sugar-free sodas and snacks in moderation (moderation, because artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, may have their own side effects in large quantities; also beware "nutritive sweeteners" such as sorbitol and mannitor, which are metabolized by the body as sugar). Atkins' and similar books publish low-carb sweet and snack recipes, but I've not really felt the need for them, and Atkins himself, ever the capitalist, sells such things under his own brand name in health-food stores.

          One final thing: For your long-term health in general, and especially on any restricted diet (such as the first few weeks of Atkins, when you're not consuming as many vegetables as you will be later on), a substantial multi-vitamin/mineral is advantageous.

          Atkins' book is perenially on the bestseller list, not an endorsement of its wisdom per se, but an indication that you can easily buy it in any Barnes and Noble, or via Jim's Amazon.com link. I'd suggest picking it up, reading the first few chapters (which muster evidence both scientific and anecdotal in support of the diet), and judging for yourself.

          Good luck!

          5 Replies
          1. re: AHR
            a
            AHR Feb 5, 2000 11:58 AM

            A brief overview of the diet, with scientific citations and discussions of frequent criticisms, may be found at the link cited below.

            Link: http://www.atkinscenter.com/diet101.html

            1. re: AHR
              k
              Keith Feb 7, 2000 10:05 AM

              I do agree with AHR, but only to an extent.
              To "diet" is a broad term that doesn't have to be limited to Dr. Atkins or anyone else's view (and there's tons of them out there. I work for Waldenbooks and shelve/sell them daily).

              Barring a specific metabolic problem, the brass-tacks of dieting should start with eating foods that are as natural and as unprocessed as possible. Sure, go ahead, eat your sweets, but be moderate. You surely aren't going to gain the world just because you ate a candy bar, for pete's sake. The stress will kill you faster than the sugar!

              But one has to burn the calories with some sort of cardio exercise, or you'll always be a slave to Dr. Atkins. I mean, he may address loosing weight via what you eat, but for many, that's not going to be enough in the long haul...unless you want to live by Atkins, Simmons, Watchers or Summers for the rest of your life. Me? I eat well, and I splurge when I want. I'm 39 years old, I gain weight easier now than when I was younger, so I...exercise! Like it or lump it, I do it! And it works, and I'm not stressed.

              Seems to me, anyway!

              Keith

              1. re: Keith
                k
                kate Feb 7, 2000 02:25 PM

                i completely agree about exercise. i do 30 minutes of intense cardio four times a week. i'm not overweight; i just have those extra 15 pounds to lose. i'm doing atkins because i want to lose it quickly and drastically - i find that doing something as severe as this always brings me back to reality afterwards, and i find myself eating normal amounts of good things again (as opposed to my gross ability to eat mounds of food).

                1. re: kate
                  k
                  keith Feb 7, 2000 04:12 PM

                  That's great, Kate.

                  I wonder why you'd hold that extra 15lbs with that kind of exercise you do, unless, as you say, you're chowin' down to the point of jawin' down! (I mean, there's chowin', then there's...Jaws! They used to call me the Hoover, so I can say that!)

                  Me, I've GOT to stick to my exercise routine, too. And luckily the Mexican food I made yesterday wasn't fattening. That's a plus. (oh, but it was good!)

                  Oh, and watch the sugar coated aspirin and such, okay. You've GOT to maintain control...LISTEN TO ME...don't loose it. Hold on! (razzin' ya).

                  Keith

                  1. re: kate
                    k
                    Keith Feb 7, 2000 04:47 PM

                    Ah! I just read further on some of your posts, Kate...bacon, cheese (oh, I can agree with you there), and now I don't wonder about that extra fifteen caloric-held chemicals (well, "fat" on me!) you mentioned. SO WHAT! Eat till you drop. Get back up, exercise, oh, 25 to 30 hours straight. I think it'll work (with a Bill Murry tone)!

                    Yup, it looks like I'm gona have to hit a chow place here in the next day or two...can't hold out much longer!

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