There are certain common side effects of following the Atkins diet, and they are mainly caused due to the restricted intake of carbohydrates. The following NutriNeat article elaborates on the possible side effects of this diet.
Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet program, which restricts the consumption of carbohydrates for weight loss purposes. It is a diet designed by Dr. Robert Atkins in the year 1972. In 1972, he recommended a low-carb diet to treat obesity. The foods high in carbohydrates are replaced by the foods high in proteins and fats. The calories from carbohydrates are compensated by the calories from fats and proteins. This diet is not only used to treat obesity, but also to treat epilepsy or diabetes. However, there are certain side effects of this diet plan, which one should be aware of, so let us take a look at it in detail.
About the Diet
- The very first thing you need to do is, restrict the consumption of carbohydrates such that it must be only 40 g a day.
- When you restrict the intake of carbohydrates, your body enters a state of ketosis. In this condition, the body burns fats, and uses it as a fuel for getting energy.
- There are four phases in the Atkins diet, viz., the induction, ongoing, pre-maintenance, and the maintenance phase.
- The induction phase is for the first 14 days, in which, you can see an ongoing weight loss occurring. The rapid weight loss is due to the restricted intake of carbohydrates of only up to 20 g a day. The foods included in the induction phase are, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. The starchy foods, like, potato, yogurt, etc., are eliminated from the daily diet.
- In the next stage, the ongoing phase, the intake of the carbohydrates is increased by 5 g.
- Pre-maintenance is the phase, in which, the weight loss is slowed down. After you reach the target weight, your weight maintenance phase starts, and it includes carbohydrates, but not those which increase weight.
Once you get an overview of the diet plan, you can readily understand its adverse effects.
The possible side effects of the diet include, bad breath, dizziness, tiredness, nausea, and weakness. Let us discuss them in detail.
- As mentioned before, due to low consumption of carbohydrates, the body enters a state of ketosis, wherein, ketones are generated in the body.
- As the ketones are generated, they are excreted from the body via urine and breath. This is the reason for bad breath that is typically seen in ketosis. To avoid this, you must drink a lot of water, so as to excrete all the ketones from the body.
- According to the Atkins theory, people are addicted to foods high in sugar. When they follow this diet, the intake of carbohydrates is dropped suddenly, which causes certain withdrawal symptoms. They are, fatigue, dizziness, palpitations, cold sweating, and weakness. However, these symptoms disappear in three days, but if they persist for more than three days with an increased severity, you must stop the diet at once.
- Constipation is another major side effect of the Atkins diet. In this diet, you restrict the intake of foods high in fiber, which leads to constipation. To avoid this, you can make a vegetable salad (only those as per the diet), and eat it several times a day.
- Some people may experience cramps, which is mainly due to the lack of minerals in the body. Hydrating your body, and taking the required amounts of potassium and magnesium supplements may help you markedly.
If any of these side effects is severe, you must consult the doctor immediately and discontinue the diet. Also, it is advisable to not follow any of these diet plans on your own, and always seek expert opinion.