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Atkins and Cycling(26 posts)

Atkins and Cyclingbiketillyapuke
Oct 22, 2003 3:22 PM
Has anyone out there managed to combine a strict Atkins diet with intense training? I would like to get input on the idea of training with Atkins or low carb. Can it be done without bonking?
I havent even come close.
Not unless you limit your speed...PdxMark
Oct 22, 2003 3:30 PM
to about 10 mph. That's about the speed you can maintain in a bonk burning nothing but fat.
Come close to bonking or close to following the strict diet?nmLone Gunman
Oct 22, 2003 3:36 PM
Bonking by the way is not the worst thing to happen to a cyclist. First you get to learn what your personal warning signals are for bonking and then you can take stock of what you did incorrectly to bonk and make sure you do not do it again. Unless you are riding 25+ hours a week or more or are in a build or intensity phase of training, you should not be going balls to the wall all the time which to me (I could be misinterpreting here) is what you are indicating you are doing. Atkins and low intensity building aerobic capacity should work fine, it is a fat burning mode of training. It is when you get into the high intensity training that you wil have problems. And you may not need to follow Atkins that closely restricting carbo intake. Everything in moderation.
Sorry for the nm, there is a message afterall nmLone Gunman
Oct 22, 2003 3:39 PM
Well, sort of rightKerry Irons
Oct 22, 2003 4:06 PM
The only problem with this advice is that a "zero carb" pace will let you go about 12 mph (200 calories per hour). Obviously, even on a strict Atkins diet you are getting some carbs, and your body can metabolize protein as well. However, it is not likely that you can do "normal pace" rides on a strict Atkins diet. We're not talking high intensity intervals, but just steady 20 mph pace (600-650 calories burned per hour). It's real hard to find easily burned calories to sustain that pace for 2-3 hours on a strict Atkins diet. Throw in some intensity and it will all be over quickly.
re: Atkins and Cyclingcarbs
Oct 22, 2003 4:17 PM
I've tried Atkins twice and had to quit after 5 days both times. Energy level gone completely. I started South Beach 3 weeks ago and while things slowed down, I never bonked like I did on Atkins. I've also lost 12 lbs in the process.
Hasn't been a problem . . .Look381i
Oct 22, 2003 4:49 PM
I've been on the induction phase for over seven weeks. I am 54 years old, and my goals are to return to near college competition weight and improve my blood lipids (chronically low HDL, chronically high triglycerides). Latter goal was reached after 6 weeks (HDL up to 48 from long-time average of 35 (42 just before Atkins) and TGs down from 208 to 50. Total cholesterol also dropped from 196 to 163. I've lost 16 of 22-pound goal.

During the first two weeks, cycling was a little tough -- not as much speed (off probably 2-3 mph), not as much endurance (kept rides under 50 mi.) and I didn't feel strong, so I didn't push it. Then things began to improve rapidly. By about week four I was near normal, and in past couple of weeks have ridden two centuries at 18+, which is a little better than I usually do, with shorter rides (40-60) with averages over 20. I can sustain long periods at 21-23, and higher surges, in pacelines. All riding is rolling terrain. These speeds are right for this time of year, on average. If there is a deficit, it's max effort sprints and climbs. I blow sooner.

With the exception of a little caffeinated tea, an occasional glass of wine or light beer and an Atkins bar for cycling "lunches," I have kept the strict regime. Part of that is taking vitamin and mineral supplements and drinking a lot of water. I use only water, no carb drinks, on rides. My usual breakfast is two eggs and seven pieces of nitrate-free bacon. When I plan to ride over 50, I add one more egg. No bonk problem, no aches or pains.

The diet has worked much better in all respects than I expected. YMMV, of course, and later phases of Atkins allow a full range of healthy carbs. But don't let people tell you that it can work because "science" says so. Science doesn't seem to yet have all the answers and explanations regarding Atkins. If you need to lose weight and have a blood lipids problem, it might be the ticket.
Don't try an unhealthy diet because of anecdotal evidence...Mr Nick
Oct 22, 2003 7:32 PM
Should be the statement, not "don't let people tell you that it can work because "science" says so"

If you understood the physiology behinds Atkins and were up on your current "science" you would know that high protein diets have been shown to cause large calcium losses in urine and thereby increase risk of osteoporosis. Atkins type diets, if done strictly, limit most carbohydrates. When your body does not have CHO it likes to use body protein as a source of fuel. People on Atkins tend to loose muscle quite easily. Also much of the weight lost on Atkins initally is water weight because the liver and muslce glycogen are quickly used up. Also strict CHO lacking diets can cause the body to go into Ketosis, which is extremely unhealthy and means your body has a dangerously high pH. It is the same thing that occurs when you are starving to death. Finally when you say that you burn fat, this is only in an aerobic situation. Fatty acid oxidation in the Kreb cycle can only occur with oxygen. Also fat only burns in a CHO flame which means you have to be ingesting some carbohydrates.

Finally the thing that no one remembers when they talk about diets is that the only thing that really matters is Calories. It comes down to the first law of thermodynamics, "energy is neither created nor destroyed, it merely changes shape". If you want to loose weight you eat less calories. The reason that Atkins is easier for people is that a low calorie diet is more satiating than with CHO. But protein can easily be stored as fat so if you ingest 3000 calories of protein and you only need 2000, you are going to gain weight.

People who participate in sport need CHO to feed their brain and there muscle. More and more data is indicating that Atkins is not healthy. If you exercise enough you will not need to diet, just eat healthy. So in reality people should not be getting so worked up over "diet" but instead just go out and ride more.
Perhaps it is fortunate that I am under a physician's . . .Look381i
Oct 23, 2003 4:13 AM
supervision and not yours. I teach at a university, so have many friends at our med school, and other docs who ride with me. They are, unlike many, willing to keep an open mind about the diet. They also educate themselves about the diet and don't draw conclusions from incomplete information about its requirements and recommendations. They are among the first to admit that science, especially in the area of nutrition and diet, has some catching up to do. Given the mounting anecdotal and occasional scientific evidence that Atkins can work (perhaps not for everyone), more proper studies are perhaps new theories are needed.

I am having my blood and urine tested every four to six weeks. So far, after three tests (two urines and a blood) all chemistry is spot on. And, as I said, my blood lipids have moved in the direction that science and most physicians deny should happen and no low fat diet ever accomplished. Conventional scientific wisdom says it's only logical that a high fat diet can't reduce blood fats. Apparently conventional wisdom is wrong in my case and in those of several good friends with similar or better lipid and weight loss results.

Many who criticize Atkins are destroying a straw man. Those who actually read his book(s) discover some surprising things. First Atkins promotes "healthy" carbs, not "no carbs" and certainly not junk carbs. The low carb induction phase is recommended for two weeks, after which more quantity and a broader range of carbs are added. Even in the induction phase, cruciform veggies, salads and some fruit work fine. (I have done it longer because I wanted to lose faster and am curious about its longer term affects.) Second, he recommends proper supplementation for those nutrients that can go missing in the diet. Calcium can be one, although the diet incudes milk products. Third, he recommends regular exercise. Many people walk or jog. My cycling experience tells me that long, fairly high intensity workouts are fine.

By the way, the main purpose of the induction phase is to induce ketosis or lipolysis, meaning in essence shifting the body from a carb-reliant, insulin junky to a fat-burner. It then looks primarily to ingested fats and stored fats for energy. Most people have plenty of the latter. Most diets seek also to burn it and do so by slow starvation, with all the unpleasant hunger pangs and cravings that accompany it. Perception of starvation can cause the body to slow metabolism to conserve resources, making weight loss more difficult. At least Atkins allows me to feel like I am eating enough.

The doc and I have been trying to follow Atkins related data, to the extent reliable, scientific tests have been published. I and he would be interested to know what scientific publications you draw on for your assertion that "More and more data is [sic] indicating that Atkins is not healthy."
Very well said, anyone truly interested should read the bookterry b
Oct 23, 2003 5:40 AM
And I'm glad you posted it and saved me the work.

Almost no one who touts the negative effects has actually read the book. The biggest misconception (which I believe is media driven) is that you drop everything from your diet except meat and eggs. The first question I get when I tell someone I'm doing it is "don't you get tired of eating all that meat?" Well, like you, the only thing I've done is actually drop a few foods that I was abusing in the first place.

In reading the book the message I took away was "get rid of the processed carbs." Refined sugar, refined flour, junk calories. I was surprised to see that I could essentially leave my regular diet alone and merely substitute a second vegetable or salad for potatoes and rice and fruit for the pastry style desert I was having. I was also surprised to see the gradual increase back to the carb level that sustains your desired weight. That's where I am today, and unlike the naysayers predict I am not having any problems spending 10 hours a week riding hard. It's clear that you're not having that problem either.

Every person that I know that's tried it and failed has done so because the did not want to make a true change to their eating habits. "I really got tired of depriving myself." Well, that's the reason that all diets fail despite their design. Funny thing is, the deprivation is so short term (but then so is the dedication of most people.)

Ill health side effects? I don't know, but I find it odd to think I'm headed down the path to ruin when all I've really done in the end analysis is add 2 eggs a day into my diet and dropped a whole bunch of foods I did not need.
Literature can be found in PubMed...Mr Nick
Oct 23, 2003 5:43 AM
While some of it is being done at my University. Specifically, studies being done to try and counter the calcium loss from high protein diets. We in the nutrition field are probably doing more than you'll ever know in the way of working with Atkins because our ultimate goal is to provide safe, healthy and reliable information to the public. There is a lot of data that needs to be collected on Atkins, and most people would agree that it does reduce blood tryglerides and reduces cholesterol. But like anything is just a small aspect of the whole picture and in itself does not make the diet safe or healthy. Just like high blood triglycerides or high cholesterol in itself does not cause CHD.

You brought up Ketosis and I will mention it again. It is not safe. I work with many physicians and registered dieticians and non that I know are willing to put a patient into Ketosis unless they are morbidly obese and the danger from ketosis don't out weight the impending death of the client. I would also like to remind you that Ketosis is not lipolysis. Lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation occur everyday, all day in everbody. In fact 60% of energy requirements during resting activity come from fat. Ketosis is not necessary to induce this activity since it is going on constintly and frequently.

Perception of starvation does not change body metabolism. Lack of calories decreases metabolism. Satiation with high protein foods is only beneficial mentally, not physiolgically. The most variable component of metabolism is still physical activity.

Finally I would be weary about trusting only your physician about dietary matters. It might be the case that he is not only an MD but also an RD, but in most cases this is not the fact. Registered Dieticians are the licensed and accredited nutrional experts in the United States and they are the ones who will have the most information about diets and current literature. Classically trained physicains usually have almost no nutritional education. This tends to be a problem dealt with at our universisty regularly. So I would recommend going to a the American Dietetics website and doing some research of your own.
You raise good points, but how is this menu is bad for me?terry b
Oct 23, 2003 7:15 AM
I don't disagree that the extremes you list may be bad for you. Problem is, Atkins does not have to be about extremes. Here's what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast:
2 eggs
4 slices canadian bacon
2 oz. orange juice, watered up to 8 oz.
carbs = 7 (from the OJ)
Snack:
1/8 cup almonds
carbs = 3
Lunch:
Ethnic Gourmet Chicken Tikka Masala microwave meal
1 banana
carbs = 65
Snack:
1/8 cup almonds
1 tangerine
carbs = 25 (22 from the fruit, 3 from the almonds)
Dinner:
grilled wild Coho salmon
1 cup fresh white asparagus with aioli sauce
carbs = 5 (from the aparagus)

carbs for the day = 105

The point is, Ketosis is not required to follow the diet, unless you're trying to lose lots of weight. Or, you can do it for a short time, a long time or not at all (I didn't.) I'm following the diet plans in the book to the letter, 100-150 carbs a day is my level to maintain my weight given the level of exercise I employ and it's working fine. If I was gaining, I could take it back to 65 grams without any problem. If I keep losing, I'll take it up to 150-200. It's a flexible plan that allows you eat more or less whatever you want, and does not have to adhere to the extremes that people use to pick it apart.

And, I'm pretty hard pressed to believe that people can't maintain a high level of exercise eating as I've described. I'm doing it, I suspect others could too.
Might not be bad for you but...Mr Nick
Oct 23, 2003 10:45 AM
You do have to look at the whole picture. I have not analyzed your meal, but if it is high in protein there could be some problems, like the calcium loss that I discussed. Also there is no data indicating the long term effects of higher protein diets on health.

My main point for arguing against Atkins is that is is a fad diet. All diets are fad diets. They are created by people who's sole purpose to is generate revenue. If people ate a healthy diet that consisted of all food groups in moderation they would be fine. There is no magic diet, there are only brilliant marketers who take peoples money. The people in my field spend there whole life studying and trying to determine what is healthy for the public. Yet people claim that "science" is lying. But they will trust a single guy who writes a book and who really just wants to make money. If you want proof that Atkins is a fad you can look back and see how long his books have been around. People pick up the diet in cycles. Then it goes away and then he writes a new book that says the same thing and the media picks up on it and then it is popular again.

In the U.S. there is an epidemic of obesity. We are trying to figure out how to cure it. We know that people need to increase exercise and decrease caloric intake, but how. We don't believe the answer is in fad diets that claim some food are bad. We don't believe Americans need to spend billions of dollars on somebodies new book. But as long as people live off anecdotal evidence and think that science is out to get them, then very little progress will be made.
Might not be bad for you but...terry b
Oct 23, 2003 11:57 AM
Funny thing is, the menu I posted is virtually identical to what I was eating before I read the book and made some adjustments. Breakfast used to be cereal and fruit, followed by a blood sugar low and intense cravings 1 hour after eating. Those are gone now. Lunch is unchanged except that I no longer eat desert. Dinner is identical except that I dropped rice/pasta in favor of a second vegetable. And, no desert. Snacks are no longer crackers, they'e nuts or fruit. The only protein I've added is my morning eggs and the nuts for snacks. I've dropped a huge amount of carbs with no impediment to my exercise program.

One might argue that I'm not really doing Atkins, and that I've lost 15 pounds by cutting back on calories. And that's true. At the same time, this menu is built on Atkins meal plans and meets the requirements of his dietary recommendations.

The problem is everyone who thinks it's smoke and mirrors (or even dangerous) makes their argument by talking about the extreme ends of the spectrum. And arguing that way is a reductio ad absurdum. If people are smart enough to read the book, comprehend what's really being said and design a plan for themselves then "yes, Atkins works." If they're going to decide by following the media and reading conflicting points on a cycling forum then they deserve what they get. Making hyperbolic claims about disease and death however turns people away from something that may work for them. I know my media (and cycling forum) driven view of Atkins was extremely negative until I picked up the book and read it. The basic message of eating foods that digest more slowly so you're not hungry in an hour, cutting out processed sugars/flour and adjusting carbs to the point where your weight is stable is not witchccraft, in fact it's not much different than "eat less calories and exercise more." Had I not opened my mind and tailored it to my needs, I'd still weigh 172 pounds in spite of 10-15 hours of intense exercise weekly.

While I agree with you that this (and all) diets are fads, fads are unfortunately what engage the American mind. People need some sense of purpose and belonging to a cause to be successful. They need targets and they need immediate feedback. Most people do not have the willpower or even interest to eat smaller amounts of better things, and that's why you're correct - we have an epidemic of obesity in this country. In order to solve it though, the dedicated people attempting the task are going to have to understand that existing paradigms might not be correct, that things might not be as simple as they assume and that people need something to rally around other that a dry press release from the NIH.

There is no pat answer my friend. If people need a fad to lose weight, then they should embrace that fad with both arms. If people can control their weight by doing the right things right, then God bless them. But one thing is for sure - closed minds are not going to solve the epidemic you've highlighted.
Thanks for the info . . .Look381i
Oct 23, 2003 4:02 PM
I'll check it out.

I don't ask my doctor for nutritional advice. I ask him to evaluate my blood and urine tests, conduct other medical exams and to look for signs of medical problems. Other than improved lipids and lower weight, he has found physiological changes.
though not on Atkinson for quite a few years, concurcyclopathic
Oct 23, 2003 2:30 PM
I had been on Atkins diet several years back and had to quit. I had lost 8lbs in first week (~6% of body weight), and had problems with bleeding.

However, LDS (100-770mi) rides in resent years I had done resulted on many occasions into riding bonked, with all glycogen depleted for many painful hours.

A few observations: first longer you ride better it gets. One longer ride more beneficial then many of the same distance. Second, climbing suffers but there's a way to fix it.

Here's the theory: from what I read and observed your muscle make up determines your fat burning rate. Slow twitching fiber is primary fat burner; fast twitch cannot/doesn't burn fat.

When you climb, you tend to use different groups of muscles. Load shifts from hamstrings to quads and to upper body (esp out of saddle). If you look at the muscle make up, quads and upper body have much higher % of fast twitching muscle. In your case your fast twitch suffers from glycogen depletion, that is why you cannot produce sufficient power.

Problem worsens because with typical cycling training these groups usually called to help at high LT effort, when fat burning metabolism practically shuts off, so that little slow twitch you have up there never gets a chance.

The way to fix it is to target slow twitchers in those muscle groups. You can either climb more (zone 2-3 effort) or to ride more in emulated climbing position (out of saddle). Weight training can be also very helpful; however target repetition, not max.

And I guess the answer is simple: ride lots. ;)
It's working for me with some adjustments.terry b
Oct 22, 2003 4:50 PM
I'm doing it to break some bad eating habits - deserts and sodas primarily. While weight loss was not my primary goal, I figured 10 pounds off wouldn't be too bad.

So I dumped cookies, candy, soda, rice, cereals, fruit juice and pasta. I changed my breakfast to eggs and canadian bacon. I changed my snacks to almonds and fruit. Dinners became fish or meat with two vegetables instead of one and a starch. I did not do the induction phase, instead I limited my daily carb intake to 60-100 grams instead of the 100-300 I was getting.

Normally I ride three nights a week, 20-30 miles @18 mph. Some climbing some flats. I have managed to keep that up without adjusting my diet.

Weeekend rides are 40-60 miles both days at the same intensity. I continued with my regular 2 Pop Tarts and a banana breakfast on those days. I dropped the PowerGel at 90 minutes that I used to need.

Result - down 15 pounds (5'11", now 159.) For the first month or so, I had no problem exercising during the week and I had *extra* energy on my longer weekend rides. I presume I made the shift to buring stored fat. Last Saturday, although I did not eat a PowerGel during my ride, I felt so depleted 2 hours later that I changed my routine on Sunday to include one at the 1/2 mark. Result, no post ride mini-bonk.

Is it working for me? obviously yes. I'm pretty sure I was in an interesting state of entropy - riding 150-200 miles a week all summer, eating what I wanted but never losing any weight. Put in, burn off. Made the diet adjustment, lost the poundage and now I'm climbing better than I ever have, no longer have the carb swings I used to have, fixed my poor eating habits and am investing in all new blue jeans.
Like you, eating up to riding level . . .Look381i
Oct 22, 2003 4:58 PM
was my problem for years. I was on a low-fat regime to attack a blood lipids problem. All I did was eat pasta, veggies, salad, breads, milk, fish, chicken, turkey, occasional red meat, etc. until I replaced all the calories I had burned riding. Some months I would get up to 1200 miles, but never lose an ounce.

unlike you, I haven't found the need to eat more than 20 grams of carbs a day, even on long, hard rides. maybe I just had more fat to burn . . .;-)

Good luck.
Atkins and Athletics don't mix.Uncle Tim
Oct 22, 2003 6:50 PM
I've done a lot of study of the Adkin's diet. It ain't all bad. But I would say that, for most serious cyclists who do high mileage, it is not the way to lose the fat.

If you are riding a lot, you are going to be burning fat. That is your advantage. Your disadvantage is that cycling doesn't burn that many calories in the real world. When you stop every 15 miles and pig out, you actually put more fat on than you burn.

The Adkins diet works because it tricks the body. Each gram of fat you hold takes 9 calories to burn away. When you restrict carbs to 30g/day, the body has to react (Ketosis)by burning fat. The fat is basically turned into long ketone bodies that your body can't burn completely. The extra ketones pile up in the blood, changing the pH, and your body has to kick them out through the urinary tract. That's why they tell you to drink lots of water.

The advantage to this is that this means that your body only has to burn 5 calories to get rid of the gram of fat. The other 4 calories are literally peed away.

The danger of this isn't so much bonking, it's that you need to have some sugar in your system and that can only come through carbs. The brain, in particular, needs glucose. When your blood lacks sugar, the body will make it from your muscles - and it doesn't care which ones. Fats and proteins cannot be converted to glucose.

This is why people with anorexia or on high protein diets have been known to harm their hearts.

The Atkins diet can be useful for sedentary people with serious weight problems. If you are already a serious cyclist, you have already taken a huge step towards controling weight.

The best way to lose weight is to kick the junk out of your diet. DO eat a light breakfast each morning, making sure that you have glucose in your system. Eat a light lunch and then a light dinner. The idea is to run a slight caloric deficit while still eating a healthy diet.
Keep it up and you'll be in for Gall bladder surgery!mazobob
Oct 22, 2003 7:30 PM
I did it to me! Can you spend a summer without riding? Keep it up! You will be in the hospital. Need a goood surgeon
what i do with atkinskneebreaker
Oct 23, 2003 1:41 AM
i ride three times a week at least 45 miles a day.

i take alot of water and include a pack of cheese and crackers. i eat them half way of my ride. they only have 12gr of carbs and are just enought to help me with my ride.

i have been on atkins for 14 months now. i feel great.

try it.
Good work . . .Look381i
Oct 23, 2003 4:17 AM
What results have you seen? Lost weight? Improved lipid profile? Cleared up skins problems and yeast infections (by denying sugars to the critters)?

What Atkins phase are you in?
re: Atkins and Cyclingdotkaye
Oct 23, 2003 9:38 AM
'combine a strict Atkins diet with intense training' - it can't be done. That's a matter of basic physiology. Per the good Dr. Coggan, in a rec.bicycles.racing post,

**** begin quote ****
"David A" wrote in message
news:jyxVa.19830$v9.9021@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...

> I am looking for someone that can say, with some authority,
> that you can eat low carb and still perform at a high level.

Good luck.

> And if not, why not.

Because muscles prefer carbohydrate over fat as an energy source during high
intensity exercise.

For information regarding the effects of alterations in dietary
macronutrient composition on metabolism and performance, read:

Coggan AR, Mendenhall LA. Effect of diet on substrate metabolism during
exercise. In: Lamb DR, Gisolfi CV, eds. Perspectives in Exercise Science and
Sport Medicine, Vol. 5: Energy Metabolism in Exercise and Sport. Dubuque,
IA: Brown and Benchmark, 1992: 435-464.

(Note that while the above review is a bit dated, Atkins-like low
carbohydrate, high fat and protein diets have been around for quite some
time...and hence have been studied previously.)

**** end quote ****

I can't find a web link to this study, but here's another discussion that makes interesting reading:
http://www.edinburghtri.org/articles/howmuch.htm

There is as yet no good evidence (published peer-reviewed reproducible studies) that Atkins is helpful even simply to lose weight, never mind all the potential problems associated with a high fat diet. Atkins certainly doesn't make any sense for an endurance athlete.
I spoke to guy who did..cyclopathic
Oct 23, 2003 1:33 PM
on randon list. He was boo'ed (as the whole idea is here) but it did work for him. He lost weight, climbed better, rode longer. His avg picked up. However, being a randonneur, he rarely needed to go into red zone; you mostly ride at Zone 2 effort.

The 200cal/hr thrown around is bogus. First amount of fat calories burned depends on effort; second it varies upon training and diet. Our paleo ancestors on high protein/fat diet were certainly capable running for hours, with calorie expenditure 600cal/hr+

and no, you can't really bonk on Adkins diet /how can you run out of fat??/, but you can't ride fast either.
As the one who started this debatebiketillyapuke
Oct 23, 2003 5:30 PM
I have a few observations:
1) The majority of calories burned by Atkins appears to come from people talking about Atkins. I had no idea I unleashed such a monster.
2) Despite what Atkins says, there is no such thing as a bad vegetable. When 75% of the vegetables consumed by Americans are French Fries, a diet that steers people away from vegetables seems dangerous.
3) You should be getting all you RDAs and antioxidnets from your fruits and vegetables as well as your fiber. Your body was designed to digest before anything else beyond breathing. If you are supplementing then something is wrong (in my opinion).
4) The "induction" phase might seem a tad dangerous in the Gallbladder dept as you are sweating a ton while you cycle. I think it would be best to drink a whole ton of water. Then you have to stop every mile to pee.

Finally I just want to put out a note of appreciation for everyone who contributed to an interesting and informative discussion. I am really glad that you have found a diet that works for you and you all seem wel informer of the risks. I hope you can stick with it.
Once again, read his book before describing "Atkins" . . .Look381i
Oct 24, 2003 3:45 AM
"2) Despite what Atkins says, there is no such thing as a bad vegetable. When 75% of the vegetables consumed by Americans are French Fries, a diet that steers people away from vegetables seems dangerous."

--Atkins does not say there are "bad vegetables." He does not steer people away from them. In the induction phase (ordinarly two weeks), he encourages eating broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, squash, salads, etc., but in moderation. After that, he encourages much veggie consumption.
Remember, although people focus on the induction phase, Atkins is a dietary and lifestyle program for life, not just for a few weeks or months. It would probably be unhealthy to follow only bits and pieces (e.g., eat steak but don't drink water) or to start it by following rumors of what is required. But the whole program is hardly radical. It essentially recommends eating a well-balanced diet, including moderate amounts of fish, meats and natural fats, avoid becoming an insulin junkie, drink healthy liquids and a lot of water, and exercise as much as you can. Those who do exercise and have an ordinary metabolism can eat upwards of 100 grams of carbs per day. That's a lot of veggies and complex carbs, as well as fruit.

He does say there are, in effect, "bad carbs." He advises generally against white flour, sugar, etc. and other simple carbs that cause an insulin uptake and provide empty calories.

"3) You should be getting all you RDAs and antioxidnets from your fruits and vegetables as well as your fiber. Your body was designed to digest before anything else beyond breathing. If you are supplementing then something is wrong (in my opinion)."

--Again, after induction phase, all RDAs can come from a sensible Atkins diet. By the way, I have yet to hear from a nutritionist or doctor who thinks it doesn't make sense to take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement.

"4) The "induction" phase might seem a tad dangerous in the Gallbladder dept as you are sweating a ton while you cycle. I think it would be best to drink a whole ton of water. Then you have to stop every mile to pee."

--Atkins requires at least 64 ounces of water per day, in addition to any other drinks one might consume, such as soft drinks (w/o Nutrasweet or sugar), herbal teas, etc. I find that I have to pee about once every two hours or so. When cycling, I drink even more water, but have to pee less frequently, due to perspiration and respiration losses.

BTW, my office has seen a rash of gallbladder problems in the past two years. All six are people in their late 40s and 50s. All had been on doctor-recommended, low-fat, high-carb diets for quite awhile, either in an attempt to lose weight or to manage blood lipids. (None was successful in those efforts.) Two of them are now on Atkins, one for seven months and has lost 60 pounds. No gallbladder problems for either. Go figure.