My Journey Part 2: How the Atkins Diet Failed Me and What I Learned

Obviously, by reading the title of this article, I am not a fan of the Atkins diet.  Although I think it was possible that Dr. Atkins was onto something, I think it’s clear that he just didn’t quite reach a good enough scientific consensus.  When most of us think of the Atkins diet, we typically think of low carbohydrates and high protein.

Actually, when most of us think of this sort of diet, we typically think of things like a plate full of greasy ground beef topped with tons of bacon and melted cheese.  The Atkins diet is a diet that places an emphasis on keeping your carbohydrates very low and replacing those carbohydrates with protein.  Although there are also references to increase your fat levels, the overall emphasis is on protein.

I have heard many people say that it was possible that Dr. Atkins actually intended for the diet to be a high-fat diet with low carbs and moderate protein, many believe that his leaning more towards protein was simply a result of the current landscape regarding the push for low fat in today’s society.  Let’s face it, years ago when the Atkins diet first came out, the public was not ready for a high-fat diet.

Low-Fat Brainwashing

I can remember from day one of constantly hearing people buzzing with prescripted phrases such as “I’ve cut the fat” and “watch that saturated fat”.  Let’s face facts, fat has become seriously demonized and the general public has become brainwashed against it.  Years ago if Dr. Atkins came out announcing that he was going to help the world lose weight by increasing the fat, they would have taken him out and beat him with a rubber hose.  The public was simply not ready for a high-fat diet.

Even today, people are still holding onto those old tired lines of cutting calories and buying low-fat foods while washing them down with diet soda.  It doesn’t take very long to find someone out there who still believes in cutting fat in order to lose fat.  The sad thing is when I meet these people, most of them don’t even know what fat is, nor do they know what role it plays in their diet.

The food companies have everyone convinced that fat is just fat, period.  Saturated fat, monosaturated fat, trans fats, fatty acids, Fatboy Slim, if it has those three little letters then it must be bad!  Most people don’t even realize that there are different types of fat, fat from meats and even fat from vegetables.  They don’t care to know because they have never been educated about them, because the food companies want you to just keep chanting the “no fat” line while destroying their health eating their chemical-laden foods.

What Atkins did for me

After getting diabetes and listening to the initial advice I got from my friend Craig, I went right into action.  I cleared my kitchen of anything processed, sugar-laden, or packed with carbs.  I reduced my grocery list to just the very basics.

At this initial phase, I was dealing with uncontrollable urges for sugar, as I was seriously addicted.  I knew that I had to stay off of the sugar, that my life depended on it.  Seeing that I was a junk food fan, I decided to take an approach where I would stuff myself with the right foods.  The whole idea was to deal with the sugar cravings by filling my stomach up with everything except for sugar.

One of my favorite foods to eat are buffalo wings, I used to suck them down by the dozen with no issue.  I also love blue cheese dressing, and there is only one brand for me and that is Marie’s Chunky Blue Cheese, not the fake blue cheese they typically sell in the dressing aisle at the grocery store.

Seeing that I loved buffalo wings, I went out and purchased a deep fryer.  My plan was to buffalo wing my way out of diabetes.  The wings were not breaded, and Marie’s Blue Cheese has zero grams of net carbs, so I was good to go, right?

From Buffalo Wings to High Blood Sugar

I was surprised by the results, in just a few days my blood sugar was normalizing.  I started to feel better again, and I was loving this ability to eat all buffalo wings, all of the time.  I was stuffing myself with buffalo wings, and feeling better with every bite.  Could this be for real?  The cure for diabetes is to stuff yourself with wings loaded with blue cheese?

I will admit, it worked for a few days until all of a sudden my blood sugar went right back up.  After the rise in blood sugar, I started to take a closer look at my diet, trying to find the hidden sugar that was causing it.  I even opted to cut back on the blue cheese, thinking that maybe there was something snuck in there that was causing my downfall.

Despite my efforts, blood sugar was still up, which put me in a very frustrating position.  How is it that I can literally micromanage every food that goes into my mouth, making sure there is no sugar and very little carbs, yet my blood sugar is once again high?  Why was my blood sugar low for a few days along with my diabetes symptoms disappearing?

The Truth About High Protein

I started to do some more reading on the Atkins Diet and discovered something very interesting.  As crazy as it may sound, my body was actually taking all of the protein I was ingesting and converting it into glucose.  This process is called gluconeogenesis, and it is the reason why a high protein diet may be as harmful as a high carbohydrate diet.

In my high protein heaven, I was enjoying myself but I was seriously out of balance.

What I learned From Atkins

My short experience with Atkins showed me that diet is not as simple as many of the diet gurus want people to think.  Left and right we have all kinds of fad diets that promise amazing results with little to no effort to get there.  These so-called “experts” are simply marketing geniuses that have learned to play directly into people’s laziness.

We’re all lazy to a point, I think we can all admit that.  In the type of society we are in today we’re always looking for convenience, the quick fix, everything at the push of a button.  Managing a proper diet is a little more than just getting onto the latest greatest fad, it’s about education, personal discipline, and hard work.

One Good Takeaway From Atkins

I do have to admit that there was one good lesson I learned from my short experience on the Atkins diet.  This was the very first diet that I attempted during my journey out of diabetes.  During this initial period, I was dealing with the biggest part of my sugar addiction.  I did take notice that when I ate things that I enjoyed without sugar, it made dealing with the addiction a lot easier.

Sugar addiction is by far one of the biggest tools that are used by the food companies, trust me when I tell you they don’t want you to break this addiction.  My learning experience on Atkins and sugar addiction led me to what I believe is a groundbreaking technique in helping people to overcome the addiction, which you can read about in my next article.


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