Low carb diets
Supermarket shelves contain an increasing number of low carbohydrate products, because of the popularity of the Atkins and South Beach diets. Shairoz Samji looks at how low carbohydrate diets works and takes a look at their consequences for health
The Atkins approach is a low carbohydrate high fat high protein diet. Although named after Robert Atkins, its origins can be traced back to 1862.1Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution--a 504 page long guide--works on one major assumption. If insulin is the main hormone that causes the body to turn any excess sugars into fat, when its production is minimised, Atkins suggested that all fat production will cease. By preventing the body from being supplied primarily by sugars, it could instead begin to burn fats and proteins leading to a process called ketosis. If Dr Atkins' theory is right, someone following the Atkins diet will use their own fat as a source of energy and therefore lose weight.
The unlimited amount of fat in this diet is at direct odds with advice given by healthcare professionals, founded after decades of research.6 A high saturated fat diet raises cholesterol and low density