Atkins vs. Carb Addicts
This was my Yahoo Health Fitness Tip of the Day....glad to see someone giving information about different low-carb programs instead of being negative!!
Atkins vs. Carb Addict's Diet
by Jonny Bowden, M.A., C.N.S.
Which diet plan is better -- the Carbohydrates Addict's Diet or the Atkins Diet? I have been doing the CAD diet for seven weeks now and have lost seven pounds, but I am struggling with the "reward meal." Knowing that there are "no limits" during this meal is causing problems fo
r me. A.
Although the particulars are different, the basic premise of both plans is similar: The most important thing you can do when it comes to losing weight is control your body's hormonal response to food.
Because the body doesn't burn fat while there are high circulating levels of insulin, consistently elevated levels of insulin are the dieter's nightmare. Unfortunately, many people are prone to just that scenario because their bodies simply don't metabolize carbohydrates optimally. For those for whom weight loss has been an ongoing struggle, the conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat approach is the wrong way to go, according to both these plans.
When you eat, your blood sugar goes up. How fast and how much depends entirely on the food, the amount, the combination and your own personal physiology. In response to this increase in blood sugar, your body secretes the hormone insulin, which in turn helps "escort" that sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. Preferably muscle cells.
In some people, however -- especially those who have been eating a high-carbohydrate diet for years and have been sedentary to boot -- this mechanism just doesn't work in an ideal way. The typical high-carb, high-sugar meal causes blood sugar to rise quickly and stay up there. The body has to secrete more and more insulin to bring it down; over time, the body becomes less sensitive to the insulin, requiring even greater amounts to get the job done. The result is high circulating levels of insulin, blood-sugar roller coasters, cravings, mood swings and a tremendous difficulty in losing weight. The muscle cells become more and more resistant to the effects of insulin, and the body becomes better and better at storing that sugar in the fat cells.
Most of the "best-selling" diet plans and books written in the past decade have addressed the issue of the hormonal response to food and attempted to solve it in different ways (The Zone, Protein Power, Lean Bodies, The 5-Day Miracle Diet, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution and The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet).
The Atkins plan is stricter than the CAD. For the first two weeks, it keeps carb levels to a very low 20 grams daily. The CAD takes a different approach. It tries to limit insulin surges by keeping two of the three meals very low in carbs (almost identical to the Atkins plan) while allowing you a "reward" meal in which you can eat anything. The reward meal has to be completed within an hour, to keep the body from releasing a second "shot" of insulin, and should be balanced between carbs, protein and fat.
Some people gravitate to the CAD because they feel less "deprived" knowing they can eat whatever they like once a day; others prefer the structure of the Atkins program.
If you're a person for whom the idea of "eating whatever you want" during that "reward meal" causes anxiety and concern, you might give the Atkins (or Protein Power, a similar program) a try. An awful lot of people have had success with both, illustrating once again that it's a question not of which is the best program but of which is the best match with you.