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Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet Food Guide Pyramid, Part 2: Structure of the Food Guide

Sunday, July 18, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Atkins Diet, Food Guide Pyramid, low-carb diet


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The pyramid is quite cleverly constructed. Mirroring the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid, the Atkins pyramid puts the "foundation" foods at the bottom, indicating that these foods should make up the majority of your diet. On the Atkins pyramid, these foods are eggs, fish, poultry, beef, pork and soy products. Basically, these are the "meats" of the diet. It's no surprise that these are the foundation of the Atkins Food Guide Pyramid, since the Atkins diet is based on avoiding carbohydrates and consuming proteins and dietary sources of fat.

Moving up the pyramid, the next section is made up of vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, salad greens, and so on. Vegetables offer outstanding nutritional benefits, regardless of your dietary strategy. They appear prominently in the Atkins diet because they are rich in fiber, they offer disease-reversing phytochemicals (such as the anti-cancer compounds found in broccoli), they're rich in vitamins and minerals, and they lack insulin-boosting refined carbohydrates. The positioning of vegetables on the Atkins pyramid suggests that people should eat fairly large quantities of these foods, making them their secondary source of food.

Next we have fruits. This smaller size of this level of the pyramid suggests dieters should eat less of these foods, which include avocados, blueberries, strawberries and other fruits. The more a person exercises, the more that can choose higher glycemic index fruits such as cherries and apples.

Higher up the chart, we see oils (from vegetable and seed sources), nuts, legumes and dairy. The oils and nuts are to be used sparingly not because they're unhealthy, but because they pack such high caloric density (they have a lot of calories for their size) and thus are easy to overeat.

At the very top of the pyramid, you'll find whole grain foods like brown rice, barley, and oats. The more a dieter exercises, the more they are allowed to consume from this category, extending their dietary choice to breads and other more processed carbs.

That rounds out the fundamental pyramid structure. But the Atkins pyramid adds a clever mechanism that makes it a real winner when it comes to following today's best nutritional science: additional food choices extend to the right of each food group, allowing the dieter to choose more of these foods as they add exercise. The structure of the diagram correctly implies that people who engage in longer and more frequent exercise can consume a large variety of fruits, nuts and even carbohydrates. This one simple mechanism has extraordinary implications for dieters, which will be discussed later in this report. In short, it's simply brilliant.

The Atkins pyramid also comes with several important guidelines. It says, for example, that the entire diet should have "no added sugars" and "no hydrogenated oils." This is outstanding nutritional advice and, all by itself, would go a long ways towards reducing the presence of chronic disease in affluent societies like the United States.

Added sugars, for example, are well known to promote obesity and diabetes. They've been linked to colon cancer, sharp nutritional deficiencies, mood disorders, ADHD, clinical depression, bone disorders such as osteoporosis, and many more. To see a full list, visit the refined carbohydrates section of Low-Carb Diet Warning.

Hydrogenated oils, for their part, are devastating to human health. Once thought to be harmless, they are now known to ravage the cardiovascular system and promote heart disease, weight gain, and even cancer. Avoiding hydrogenated oils, which are present in virtually all baked goods, margarines and shortening products at every grocery store, is essential for achieving a high degree of health, regardless of a person's weight loss strategy. To see more evidence showing the health damaging effects of hydrogenated oils, visit the hydrogenated oils section of Low-Carb Diet Warning.

That's a wrap of the basic structure of the Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid. Now let's take a look at what all this means. First off, there are several important things to notice about this structure.

This article is reprinted from Analysis: The Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid, a public education ebook provided free of charge by the non-profit Consumer Wellness Research Center.

Next: Part 3: Unrefined, Unprocessed Foods


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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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