Sun, 27 Mar 2005

Total speculation on why Atkins works

The following is a set of facts on which I speculate. Yeah, I'm making my conclusion up. It fits the facts of which I'm aware, but that doesn't mean that I know all the facts, or that there isn't a better theory.

It's been proven through dietary testing that the Atkins diet (extremely low carbohydrates initially, followed by a slow ramping back of low-glycemic carbs) works. They catered in a bunch of people's meals, with some of them cooked regularly and the others cooked with lower carbs. The foods were carefully regulated as to caloric value. The low-carb diet was more effective at helping people lose weight even though the number of calories was identical.

So, the key feature of the Atkins diet is the training period. What is being trained, you ask? Well, did you know that there are enough ganglia in your gut for it to qualify as a second brain? There's a reason why digestion continues with no attention from your brain -- because it's being processed by a second brain in your gut. That's why Terri Schaivo is able to live even though her forebrain (the part of the brain that made Terri Terri) is non-functional. Interestingly, the brain in your gut is sophisticated enough to be trained. Unfortunately, no, I don't have a cite for that.

Now comes the speculation: that the Atkins diet trains your gut to stop relying on carbs for energy, but instead that it should expect a supply of fat that it should learn to burn efficiently instead. Your gut responds by changing the mix of chemicals in your gut so that the energy in fat is the target of digestion rather than the energy in carbs.

Hat tip to Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey, for whom the Atkins diet is working.

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