Low carbohydrate diets such as Atkins have strong short-term effects. I don’t know anybody who couldn’t lose a ton of weight with it.
I also don’t know anybody who was able to keep the weight off once they reintroduced carbs.
This doesn’t work for a bunch of reasons.
1. A lot of the weight that you lose on the low carb diet is water weight. Every gram of carbohydrate that you ingest is generally accompanied by 3-5 grams of water. When you lose the carbs, you lose the water. After you decide to start eating carbohydrates again, not only do you get the water weight back, but your body also rebounds against you and starts retaining all new water that comes in. Sure, after a few days, your body will stop retaining the water, but at this point, your mental state has been wreaked upon. This does not help you psychologically when trying to maintain weight loss.
2. If you drop your carbohydrate level too low while exercising, you can alter your body’s T3 levels. This will lower your metabolic rate, which will cause all sorts of bad effects, including losing weight slower.
3. When you don’t eat carbohydrates, your body takes whatever protein you get and converts it into glucose, which is then used for energy. This is usually what the role of carbohydrates are, but since you’re depriving yourself, your body needs to adjust accordingly. The result of this is that you don’t get to experience the important benefits of protein (maintenance, repair, and growth of body tissues), because it’s too busy being converted into energy instead.
4. Your muscles lose their density and flatten out when on a low carb diet. Your muscles feel softer, and your energy level goes down.
5. When this diet was popular in the 1970s, doctors saw that people regained their weight very quickly after getting off the diet. They found that this was because people became very carbohydrate sensitive when coming off the diet. The effect was magnified if these people exercised while on the diet. The body would horde as many carbohydrates as possible when they were eaten again, out of fear that they wouldn’t get more later.
People gained a lot of water weight that did come off, but people noticed that it was much easier for them to gain weight in the future, and much harder to lose it.
There are many other effects that come with the low carb diet as well… many of them are devastating.