Persuasive Speech_The Atkin's Diet

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Pickering 1 Leticia Pickering English 118 Dr. Nathaniel Preston 3 December 2006 Low Carb Dieting: The Perfect Solution? The United States is a country built on innovation. Our history is filled with men and women who devoted their lives to making everyday tasks faster and easier. Some tasks that are constantly being reinvented are those of health, fitness, and, most importantly, weight loss. The United States, considered by many to be the homeland of fad diets, has seen thousands of quick weight
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  Pickering 1Leticia PickeringEnglish 118Dr. Nathaniel Preston3 December 2006Low Carb Dieting: The Perfect Solution?The United States is a country built on innovation. Our history is filled with menand women who devoted their lives to making everyday tasks faster and easier. Sometasks that are constantly being reinvented are those of health, fitness, and, mostimportantly, weight loss. The United States, considered by many to be the homeland of fad diets, has seen thousands of quick weight loss programs in the past: the tuna diet, thegrapefruit diet, the salmon diet, the low fat diet, and the low sugar diet, just to name afew. While each of these programs enjoyed a brief period of popularity, none haverivaled the cult status of the Atkins Diet.Dr. Robert Atkins introduced his first version of the highly controversial diet in1972. Although the diet has undergone several changes over the past thirty four years,the basic concept has remained the same: a high protein, low carbohydrate diet that produces rapid weight loss. The controversy does not lie in the statement that this diet produces rapid weight loss, but rather in the claim that the Atkins’ Diet is a healthy, longterm lifestyle. The complex framework of the diet hides the unhealthy side effects thatcan occur.The Atkins Diet is divided into four stages: induction, on-going weight loss, pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance (SirGan Paragraph 6). Before these stages can beunderstood, it is important to first know and understand the process of ketosis. Ketosis is  Pickering 2caused by a low intake of carbohydrates and is thought to be a major contributor to theweight lost in the Atkins diet. As carbohydrate intake decreases, fat stores are used for energy sources. Ketone bodies are then produced by the liver and excreted in the urine. Aheightened level of ketone bodies in the blood is attributed to suppressed appetite whichmay further contribute to weight loss (Steer 44).The purpose of the induction stage, the most restrictive phase of the diet, is torestrict the carbohydrate intake enough to achieve ketosis. “Carb intake is restricted to 20grams per day” and this continues for approximately two weeks (SirGan paragraph 7).Once this has been achieved, the program progresses to the on-going weight loss stage.During this stage, carbohydrate intake is increased to slightly more realistic level, but ismaintained at a level where weight loss can still be achieved. This stage often persists for weeks, until a person reaches a body weight within approximately 4.5 kilograms of thetarget weight, at which time the program moves to the pre-maintenance stage (SirGan paragraph 8).The purpose of the pre-maintenance stage is to gradually increase carbohydrateintake, in search of the critical carbohydrate level “which represents the maximumnumber of carbohydrates a person can eat each day without gaining weight” (SirGan paragraph 9). After achieving this level, the program proceeds to the final stage of thediet: lifetime maintenance. This stage focuses on utilizing the critical carbohydrate levelas a means of keeping off the weight that has been lost, and avoiding the “unhealthy” practices that lead to weight gain. On paper, the diet seems to be innovative and rooted inscientific research, but still the question remains: is it too good to be true? The answer isyes.  Pickering 3If a high intake of carbohydrates was the only cause of weight gain and obesity,the Atkins Diet would provide a perfect solution to the problem. However, the truth isthat a healthy lifestyle is composed of more than just a controlled carbohydrate intake. Ahealthy lifestyle includes a balance of exercise and nutrition. A knowledge of thefundamental concept of nutrition is essential in achieving such a lifestyle. Nutrition can be broken up into five main categories: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, and vitaminsand minerals. The Atkins Diet violates basic human needs in all five of these categories.The major issue addressed in the program is that of carbohydrates. The AtkinsDiet greatly restricts carbohydrate intake while this does produce remarkably rapidweight loss, the reason has little to do with the restriction of carbohydrates. Rather, it can be attributed to the dramatic reduction in calories associated with the reduction of “calorie dense items like cakes, biscuits and bakery confections” (Steer 44). A studyconducted on the effectiveness of low carbohydrate diets confirmed this data. In acomparison of low carbohydrate diets, Atkins and the Zone Diet for example, with lowcalorie diets, such as Weight Watchers and Ornish Diets, the results revealed a greatdifference in carbohydrate intake, but an insignificant difference in weight reduction.Instead, “weight loss tended to be associated with dietary adherence rather than diet type”(Wolever 133). Ketosis, as discussed previously, can also be linked to weight loss. If  prolonged, ketosis has been known to cause irreversible damage to the liver. Fortunately,the occurrence of ketosis is low, as most low carb dieters do not maintain the diet for long, and revert to the “natural tendency of people to regain the weight that they havelost” (Wolever 134).Unfortunately, the side effects do not end here.  Pickering 4Protein is an essential element in a healthy diet, and a proper balance is vital tothe body. There is no deficiency of protein in the Atkins Diet, but rather a gross over abundance. There are several serious effects of consuming high levels of protein over along period of time. High levels of protein have been linked to excess calcium loss, andare thought to be factors for osteoporosis (Manore 210). Another major consequence of high protein intake is kidney disease. Additionally, high protein intake is linked to highcholesterol levels. This is because the diet allows for proteins mostly from animalsources, which tend to also be high in unhealthy, saturated fats and can lead to anincreased risk for cardiovascular disease. Though closely linked to protein intake, a highfat intake can have other, very serious health effects.Contrary to popular belief, a healthy diet can and should include fat. It is onlywhen consumption is taken to the extreme that it can cause serious problems. The amountof fat, both saturated and unsaturated, is outrageous. High intakes of saturated fats have been shown to dramatically increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Further, high intakes of trans fatty acids have been linked to an increased risk for developing breast, colon, and prostate cancer.Another huge problem associated with high fat intake is high cholesterol. It is no secretthat the country has a problem with high cholesterol, but the cause may be surprising.Many are under the impression that consuming large amounts of cholesterol is thereason for our high cholesterol problem. The truth is the solution is much morecomplicated than simply limiting our intake of dietary cholesterol. In fact, Americanstypically consume less than the daily recommended amount for cholesterol. The problemlies with the high consumption of saturated fat. The body is capable of producing a
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