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From Woodstock, New York, USA:

I would like your opinion(s) on the Atkins Diet. It's the one that's no carbohydrate, meat, and mostly fat diet. My husband has tried it once, gained weight back and is trying it again. My husband says that Dr. Atkins says this is a perfect diet for diabetics and Dr. Atkins claims diabetics can stop their medicine (I assume insulin, too). What's the deal on this one? I am reluctant to do this diet. I understand about lowering carbos for diabetics, but to put one's self in almost ketoacidosis sounds a bit risky to me.


There is a lot of controversy about this diet and you are correct to think that it could be risky to put oneself into ketoacidosis. By only using protein and fat as fuel sources you are cutting back on the demands for insulin, however, you also increase animal fats (is cholesterol a problem with your husband?) and the weight is easily regained once carbohydrate is introduced into the diet.

Getting off insulin would be a different story for a person with Type 1 diabetes. The diet is deficient in many vitamins and minerals with the exclusion of carbohydrates. The fact is, many diets will work if they are followed, that includes the ones that are balanced. You will not see the dramatic weight change at first, but slow steady weight loss does have an advantage over quick and drastic: it stays off and good lifestyle changes are always a plus.


Editorial comment:

For clarification, the Atkins' Diet will cause production of ketones, and will lead to ketosis. The Atkins' Diet is unlikely to cause diabetic ketoacidosis, but stopping insulin therapy certainly can! Patients with type 1 diabetes should not discontinue their insulin therapy, and certainly not stop insulin because they are on a highly-promoted diet.

Also, see a followup question and answer about this issue.


Original posting 10 Apr 1998
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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