The Atkins Diet and Me (part two).

by Owen Jones.

Some people try make your life miserable, if you let them. Everyone could see that I looked better and felt happier, but some people just have to try to spoil it. I was told: many people have died of kidney or liver failure after being on Atkins I read it in the paper; you will have a heart attack, it’s not natural; your cholesterol will shoot up and you will need your legs amputated or you will have a stroke; it will affect your eyesight. All sorts of drivel. So, I went to my doctor, who admitted that he knew nothing about the Atkins diet, but also added that he had heard nothing bad about it either. He sent me for a series of tests, but the results all proved satisfactory. He was very happy that I’d lost 18 lbs and so was I. Six weeks later, I went for another cholesterol check, because of the high fat levels in the diet and, although my cholesterol level was up very slightly, the doctor said there was absolutely no cause for concern.

The Atkins diet warns that you might develop halitosis (bad breath). I don’t know whether I did or not – no-one said anything, but I started brushing my teeth four-five times a day just in case. I suppose that that’s another benefit of ‘doing Atkins’ – increased oral hygiene. It also warns of constipation. I didn’t get that either, although I didn’t give up black coffee, which has always been a laxative for me. But surely you can’t suffer from constipation if you eat about a 1lb of greens a day? I hadn’t been eating that amount of roughage before starting the Atkins diet! So my two main concerns did not exist.

A couple of weeks later, I was getting bored not going out so much. I was still happy with the diet, but because I am single and am used to going out and drinking beer. So, I decided to go about this scientifically. One day, after work, I drank three pints of Guinness and felt great – the taste was wonderful. Before the diet, I would have drunk five or six pints. To my surprise and delight, the next morning the ketone stick told me that I was still ‘on the diet’. Over the following weeks, I really enjoyed experimenting to find out what would ‘work’ and what would not. I discovered that even a small amount of cider would ruin the Atkins diet; some beers and some lagers were all right; red and white wine were OK. Consuming alcohol does not knock you off the Atkins diet, but it slows down your rate of progress. Even slow progress is progress, I say. Better than giving up the diet or not going out.

Don’t let people encourage you to ‘just have a little bit’. They don’t understand or don’t want to understand the trouble they’re causing you. One’s body can hold two days worth of carbohydrates: one square of chocolate, one slice of bread, a bowl of cornflakes or one sugar in your coffee will cost you TWO days to clear out of your system. Don’t let people do it to you. This is not a diet that you can stop and start when you like, in fact I think that it probably could be dangerous to keep allowing your ketone and other levels to fluctuate wildly. There are also the high fat levels in the content of the Atkins diet, which is not dangerous if you keep to it, because you body devours fat and cholesterol in the absence of carbohydrates.

The story ends so far, with me having got down to under 16 stone and keeping it there, until very recently when I moved to the Far East to live. Once I get used to the food and my own house and own kitchen, I will go down to 15 stone, I know I will ” with very little effort.

Anyway, thank you, Mr. Blackwell, wherever you are, you changed my life and my understanding of food and thank you, Mr. Atkins too.

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