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Is The Atkins Diet Safe? Answer May Shock You!

is the atkins diet safeI could have named this article, “25 year vegetarian admits Atkins diet is the best!” and it would have been accurate!

Most people don’t question the awesome effectiveness of low-carb dieting for weight loss. However, the number 1 issue is always, ‘Is it safe?’.

I’ve already blogged about the saturated fat & cholesterol myths but more and more results of studies just keep coming in.

I want to bring to your attention a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented here at Stanford University (Lecture filmed on January 17, 2008).

The lecture below is given by a 25 year vegetarian, Christopher Gardner, probably not the best candidate for telling the world about how healthy a low-carb diet is. However, he is fair and balanced in his approach and seems like his intention is to actually help people succeed rather than push his own preconceptions down people’s throats – how refreshing!

The low-carb diet of choice for this study was Atkins, so if you’re wondering ‘Is the Atkins diet safe?‘, you’ll want to watch this one with interest.

The results aren’t surprising to me in the slightest, but I hope a few of you skeptics start to reconsider what constitutes a healthy diet.

The study involved 311 women over a 1 year period. They were split into 4 groups, each group doing their own diet. At one extreme, we have a very low-fat/high-carb diet. At the other, a very low-carb/high-fat (Atkins) diet with the other 2 diets falling somewhere in between.

Well, guess what diet produced most weight loss? Atkins of course – by now that shouldn’t surprise you.

However, they were also interested in how healthy each diet was. Here’s the point (and something I’ve been stressing for a long time), Atkins beat all other diets in every single health marker – ALL OF THEM.

The Atkins diet saw most improvements in:

  1. Weight
  2. Systolic Blood Pressure
  3. Diastolic Blood Pressure
  4. Triglycerides
  5. HDL cholesterol
  6. LDL cholesterol
  7. Insulin
  8. Glucose

To quote Gardner “There was no group that did better than Atkins in anything“.

This is a long video so I’ve made a note of the most important parts for you.

  1. Watch 20min to 26 mins – Results of the Study
  2. Watch 53.30 to 54.30 – Here Gardner says how hard it was to admit that Atkins works best. He says it in good spirits though, I respect that :) . He shows his openness to low-carb by saying, “I think there’s something there.” Wow, someone actually respecting what the data really shows!

Enjoy the show!

Mark McManus

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Joe June 18, 2008, 9:08 am

    mark, I was hoping you make a reference to Atkins on your site at some point, nice one!

    I have been following your site for the last month or so and the content is really useful, I haven’t been able to find this combination of info anywhere on the web. I think it makes a big difference thats it UK based which helps with food shopping etc.

    Since i have been low carbing, the difference in myself is really good. Less bloated, less time in the toilet :) and loads of energy.

  • Uplift June 18, 2008, 10:10 am

    Gidday, more interesting stuff. The conditioning thing is amasing. When I was working for a country hospital in a small town I had moved to, the CEO, regional doctor and matron were horrified at my diet, which was really similar to yours. As I wasn’t competing in top level sport anymore, and my training load had dramatically decreased, I was eating around a dozen eggs daily, heaps of cream, full fat cheese, yoghurt, milk, butter etc, small amounts of selected fruit, grains, nuts and veg. However, I still strength trained hard, and surfed heaps, so was pretty active. Cholesterol was the buzzword, and the govt health dept was sending teams around the country undertaking free cholesterol, blood pressure tests etc. my employers insisted I have the tests, as they said it would be negligent of them to let me work there with such a dangerous diet.

  • Uplift June 18, 2008, 10:31 am

    Somehow the comment got submitted too early, so here’s theremainder and crux of it.
    I already knew what the results would be as I had had heaps of tests when playing sport, so resisted, not appreciating the pressure and insinuations. Eventually I told them I would take the test if they changed their thinking on seeing the results. They smugly agreed, and away we went. As they had told the government tester my ‘horror story’, they all waited with bated breath for the results. Which, to their horror, was low blood cholesterol levels, perfect levels, virtually the best in the town. Same with blood pressure. They insisted it was a mistake, and after the third test, with my finger resembling a pin cushion, sat dumbfounded. I must admit, I had heaps of fun stirring them, especially when the doctor and matron had utterly shocking levels.
    The real comedy was when most of the town, who also had shocking results, had to make appointments with the doctor to get dietry advice and fix the problem. I had a ball… the blind leading the blind.
    So despite that, and despite the story spreading like wildfire, as things do in small rural towns, nothing changed. And people would still say I had a weird diet and would die or get really sick… soon. Conditioning, which is virtually brainwashing, is very powerfull, which can be an awesome thing if you use it to your advantage. But, it can be a double edged sword if you allow yourself to be blindly conditioned.
    Think of the power of unconscious conditioning. In one culture, mud worms are an absolute delicasy, sought out and savoured as they slimily slither live down the eaters throats. Yet, in another culture, the mere thought of exact same thing is enough to make someone unconsciously react, recoil in horror, even throw up. All because of belief, a mental construct, conditioning.

  • Andrics June 19, 2008, 6:53 am

    Mr Uplift , any advice for me? I have just gone from 6.4 to 9.4 in 10 weeks of doing MANS ! Not a great result. I guess you are just genetically gifted.

  • Uplift June 19, 2008, 7:39 am

    Gidday Andrics, 6.4 is even considered high. I was/am always around 5 or lower. So, it might be worth looking into why yours were high to start with. Also, this might not apply to you, but lots of people used to say they wanted to eat like me, and ask all about it, and say they were doing it, but, as I highlighted in another post, I honestly never saw anyone else strictly do it. Usually they just added eggs, cream etc, to all the other stuff they ate. Sugar was usually in the mix.

  • Mark McManus June 19, 2008, 8:19 am

    Guys, I can’t let this become a forum discussion on a post page.
    We can really chat through all these things when I have the forum up. There can be many factors involved.
    Andrics, I’ll email you
    Thanks for understanding guys,
    Mark.

  • Andrics June 20, 2008, 6:58 am

    Uplift here is my last post looks like its blocked on the other article due to too many posts:
    Hi all, first I would like to say what a great site this is. Its author and content are spot on. I constantly login daily checking for new articles and updates.

    Being honest I was quite sceptical about the MANS diet and the conflicting information around the whole subject. In the end I thought I would test it by trying it both for its bodybuilding advantages and the fact I had a slightly elevated total cholesterol level at 6.4 and a triglyceride reading of 1.3 hoping to bring these down too.

    Today after 10 weeks of following MANS in its strictest form I am devastated to get my blood results back. It’s reached a whopping 9.4!
    I am truly gutted and now very confused. I have not got the full report as the nurse could not tell me more without seeing my GP first who will no doubt insist I take the dreaded statin !

    I hate to be the bearer of bad / negative news but what more can I say, the results seem to speak for themselves. Mark this is no way a derogatory dig at you.

    I wonder have you or your dedicated low carbers out there taken blood tests recently. I am sad to say that overnight I have gone from MANS breakfasts to a girlie bowl of Alpen and skimmed milk ;0(

    Back to the books and experiments

    Andy, uk

  • Uplift June 20, 2008, 7:34 am

    Gidday Andy, I’ll bet you are pretty upset. I won’t say much, as Mark points out it’s not a forum here, and prefers we don’t. But I think you should check the medical angle, to be sure there are no medical reasons for your present, and importantly, previous reading. All the best to you, and good on you for being honest.

  • Andrics June 20, 2008, 7:40 am

    Thanks mate , look forward to the banter on the forums ;0)

  • Gazo June 21, 2008, 7:49 pm

    Hi mark,
    just reading what Andrics has written about his cholestrol level have you got any info posted anywhere here about this and could this happen, also Uplift mentions about eating and people adding cream and eggs to add calories if I understood that properly well thats what I do. As ive mentioned im not a massive eater and I ate all day one day and counted my calories i was was under a childs RDA by 100 next day just added cream cheese more meat then i managed 4400 so this brings me concern could you please put me straight or point me the right way all the best.
    Gazo

  • robert June 25, 2008, 10:25 pm

    I actualy just took a blood test yesterday, the results came in today and the doctor said everything was perfect. I actaly stopped following the mans diet in the sense of the weekly carb load, and began focusing on losing some weight twards a six pack.

  • Clement September 15, 2008, 8:49 pm

    I would recommend researching the effects of too much animal protein, namely cooked animal protein, on the body over prolonged periods of time. Read the China Study by T. Colin Campbell phD on books.google.com. Read the first chapters and make your own conclusions.

    Clément

  • Jo February 4, 2010, 7:49 pm

    I think Campbell’s China Study book has been pretty well debunked by observations that he cherry-picked data from the actual study to support his vegan agenda. Human beings have thrived on fatty meat since the species began. Tofu and PUFAs, not so much.