Atkins, Sugar Busters or Keto?

Ah, dieting. Some have said that diet is a four letter word. Yes it is, but diet should not only mean what we do to lose weight, but is a descriptor for a way of eating, a way of life. It took me several years to realize this; and it is true, especially if you want to maintain your weight loss.

As a nurse practitioner, I was only gifted with ONE course on nutrition, way back even before my actual nursing curriculum began, but I would venture to say that much of nutrition is common sense. When it comes to weight loss however, much of our common sense goes right out the window. We are all about the quick fix, the instant weight loss (lose 10 pounds in 10days!) or the magic pill (anyone heard of the size zero pill?), but we seem to forget that it took several months, if not years, to get to our current weight, and so it really should come as no surprise that it may take a while to lose the extra weight. We have so many bad habits to overcome, and we have to retrain our mind to resisting what we know are delicious tasting foods.

When my husband and I started on the “Atkins Diet” back in May, we did so blindly, only knowing the basics of eliminating carbohydrates as much as possible. We knew that science will tell you, if you eliminate one of the three food sources, carbohydrates, your body is forced to utilize the other two (fat & protein) for energy. We read about how we could forget about counting calories, and only worry about carbohydrates, and because sugar substitutes are “not digestible “, we didn’t have to count them towards our actual carbohydrate count. We can subtract any grams of fiber as well, for the same reason. But, what if you are a diabetic, or have a heart condition, high cholesterol or some other health concern? People with kidney failure should definitely NOT go on a high protein diet. People with Gout may also experience problems, since most meat contains purines. If you are diabetic, I strongly caution you against relying on those “high protein bars” and other “diet food”, as many people still experience blood sugar spikes with sugar substitutes. Additionally, although many of these bars are touted as meal replacements, as suggested by Livestrong,

Atkins bars aren’t free foods. They still have carbohydrates and don’t offer the same nutrition as whole foods. If you find yourself using them as an occasional meal replacement or to satisfy what could be a disastrous sweets binge, then they could successfully aid your adherence to the low-carb plan.

But, if you rely on these as free treats or find yourself eating them more than once per day, the bars could hinder your weight-loss progress. If you’re diabetic, especially with type 1, you might still experience a rise in blood sugar if you consume too much of any sorbitol-containing food, including the bars.

Needless to say, our foray into the “Atkins” diet has been greatly modified over the past 8-9 months. We’ve come to appreciate the low-carb lifestyle, but we want to nourish our body while we continue our weight loss and beyond. We want a “diet” that is sustainable and healthy, as well as one that we enjoy, and don’t feel like we are constantly depriving ourselves.

This brings us to the “Sugar Busters” diet, “The Zone”, and the “South Beach”diets. What I like about these last three are that they not only use common sense, they use real food. It’s about restraint, reminding yourself that some foods are good for you, and some are not. Some things can be eaten in moderation, and some only occasionally, with healthy, low fat, low carbohydrates and fairly high protein intake as the basis for every day eating. People often forget that protein is a building block of your muscles, and we’re not just talking biceps here – your heart and lungs, and other organs are muscles too, and we need to feed them. Ever hear of a fatty liver? Hmmmm, wonder how it got that way?

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