Before we get into the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD), if you don’t know what the Atkins Diet is, it’s a ketogenic diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat… a diet that sounds almost too good to be true.
To shed those pounds, it claims that all you have to do is to start your day off with bacons and eggs, feast on steaks fried in butter, and snacks on chunks of cheese. Sounds amazing right? But like all things that sound too good to be true, there’s a catch. And in this case, it means that filling up on high-fat foods needs to be balanced by giving up most carbs, including bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, crisps, cake, fruits and vegetables.
It’s a very restrictive diet that has been criticized by many health professional and has been viewed as unsafe and nutritionally unsound. However, that hasn’t stopped many from trying it. Throughout the years, the Modified Atkins diet has been evolved which is a less restrictive, higher in carbs and protein, diet.
What is the Modified Atkins Diet?
The MAD diet basically is a change from the traditional “classical” ketogenic diet, which is less restrictive. Many families who have been following the Ketogenic diet for many years have eventually stopped weighing and measuring all ingredients, but noticed that seizures still remain under control. It’s been shown later in the years that the efficacy in controlling seizures are very similar to ketogenic diets.
How is it different from ketogenic diet?
Many foods are very similar, but the key differences are:
- There are no calorie restriction or limitation
- Although fats are strongly encouraged, they are not weighed or measured. Most clients also consume plenty of dairy and oils.
- Typically, 35% of calories for a client on the MAD comes from protein.
- Foods are not weighed or measured, but carbohydrate counts are monitored
What is the diet like?
- There will be lots of high fat foods such as bacon, eggs, mayonnaise, butter, meats, heavy whipping creams and oils
- Certain fruits and vegetables, nuts, avocados, olives and cheese are used
- Carbohydrates are limited, but not as restrictive as the ketogenic diet.
- There are more food choices and more protein in the MAD diet compared to ketogenic diets
Although it’s less restrictive than the ketogenic diet, it is still not easy to achieve, and many families and clients still need the support to achieve their goals.
Yes, like any ketogenic diet, there are side effects that come with it due to the low carb content:
- Some clients lose weight – which can be a good thing for those who were overweight in the beginning
- Some clients’ blood cholesterol may go up
- The change in diet can result in ketosis, which makes the client feeling groggy and ill
- Kidney stones can be a problem due to the high fat content in meals
- Lacking in essential nutrients due to a low carb consumption
For all these reasons, it is vital that you only follow the MAD diet with a physician and dietitian supervision. Yes, it is a diet that can help you lose weight quickly, but remember we should always look after our health before our weight.
Modified Atkins Diet. (2017). Epilepsy Foundation. Retrieved 28 May 2017, from http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/modified-atkins-diet