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Biotech Science

Hackers On Atkins 918

Posted by timothy
from the day-pass-rocks dept.
`Sean writes "Salon.com has published a story about Hackers on Atkins. Although going on a diet is the last thing on the minds of the stereotypical geek basking in the ambient radiation of multiple monitors for 15 hours per day, many hackers have been embracing Atkins because utilizing low-carb methods to modify the metabolism is analogous to hacking and overclocking the body. Others have been combining Atkins with other systems, such as John Walker's The Hacker's Diet. I've personally lost a hundred pounds so far and will toss in the obligatory if I can do it, anyone can ism."
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Hackers On Atkins

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  • by SpaceCadetTrav (641261) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:28PM (#7372582) Homepage
    The future of the stereotypical fat, bearded unix admin is in serious jeopardy.
  • by KDan (90353) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:28PM (#7372585) Homepage
    From what I've heard, Atkins is extremely harsh on your kidneys, with some seriously bad side-effects when you use it for prolonged periods. Surely getting thin is not worth dying or having permanent renal damage for...

    Daniel
    • You've obviously never been fat. 4'10 and 320 in my teens...i'm now 5'9, 160 at 21. And trust me....being 5'9 160 is rather important when you're both a nerd and gay. As if having the stigma of being a nerd wasn't enough....being a fat nerd is even worse, but being a fat gay nerd just sucks. They can repair the damage to my kidneys -- they can't repair the damage to my soul.
      And the men of yale are so shallow anyway....
      • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan @ g m ail.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:33PM (#7372623) Homepage Journal
        That's the most ridiculous crap I've ever heard. If you're in dialysis someday with kidney failure, you'll realize that your health is far more important than social perception.
        • by rsidd (6328)
          If you're in dialysis someday with kidney failure, you'll realize that your health is far more important than social perception.

          Not only that, but there are healthy ways to lose weight. Eat a balanced diet, with normal-sized portions (the Europeans do it right, as do lots of other communities that have eaten traditional forms of food for centuries), and take plenty of exercise (just walking half an hour a day should do a lot of good). It's a win-win situation: not only do you lose weight but you become h

      • by VivianC (206472) <`internet_update' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @06:04PM (#7373303) Homepage Journal
        I was on Atkins for a year and a half and lost about 80 pounds. I also got kidney and gall stones as side effects. Nothing you can do about the gall stones, any rapid weight loss can cause them. But for the kidney stones, you need to make sure you are drinking enough water. Also, watch for died blood flecks in your urine (I thought they were from a vitamin I was taking). They can be an early sign or irritation.

        I am not a doctor, but I've been there. Eventually went for the major "case mod" and had gastric bypass about a year ago. Down 150 pounds to 260.

        Can't help you on the gay or nerd things. Some crosses you just have to bear. ;)
    • by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:39PM (#7372678) Homepage Journal
      From what I've heard, Atkins is extremely harsh on your kidneys, with some seriously bad side-effects when you use it for prolonged periods.
      From what I've heard, the moon is made of cheese, and a pill will make my penis longer.

      From what I've heard.

      • How about reading up on what "ketosis" does to your body sometime? (This being the thing all the hackers^WAtkins-idiots rabbit on about in the linked Salon article.)

        I've heard it's pretty bad.

        Oh wait, I've gone through having my kidneys die (spent pretty much all of 1998 on dialysis and eventually got a kidney transplant, 9 Dec 1998). I can tell you first hand that ketosis is nothing you want to fuck around with.

        Word to the wise, kiddies, ketosis is not a state you want to be in. It's not a fun plac
        • by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:58PM (#7373263) Homepage Journal
          Word to the wise, kiddies, ketosis is not a state you want to be in. It's not a fun place to be.
          Please learn the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. [survivediabetes.com] You've got them confused.

        • How about reading up on what "ketosis" does to your body sometime?

          How about understanding that there is more than one corcumstance that will cause ketosis and they are not equal:

          1. Serious diabetes: No insulin in the blood, so glucose can't be used, so the body (starved for energy) frantically turns fat into ketones, but these are also ill used in the absence of insulin. Kidneys are probably ALREADY damaged by years of high blood sugars before this ever happens, as high glucose by itself is enough to d
          • Do you have any understanding of what a ketone is? Taken organic chemistry? Ketones are bad news, whatever the source, because of their effects on the pH of the solution (blood).

            There's really no such thing as a good or safe level of ketones in your system, only what the body is nominally able to handle. Artificially seeking to boost this (thus lowering the pH of your blood, again this is basic chem), is really dangerous.

            In the 70s tape worms were considered a valid way to diet (just kill off the w
    • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:43PM (#7372732) Homepage
      It can be harsh on your kidneys if you consume a lot of protein without drinking enough water (as in straight H2O, not mixed with caffeine, coloring and sweetener). A high protein diet puts means more nitrogen (urea) to be excreted.

      But, drinking plenty of water both negates the problem and also lowers your hunger level in the first place. If you're getting the kind of side effects you're talking about, you're doing some other high protein, low everything else diet, not Atkins (at least, not properly).

      Oh, and there's a difference between "getting thin" and "reducing your weight" for a lot of people -- for many, the risk of kidney damage from an Atkins-like diet is far lower than the risks of not losing that weight (high blood pressure, cardiovascular damage, heart disease, back and knee problems from the extra weight, etc, etc).
    • Having had several family members use Atkins successfully, I can say that the above is misleading. It is true that high protein with near 0 carbs is hard on your kidneys. However, this extreme measure is only recommended for the first week, to "jump start" the weight loss. Some versions of Atkins don't recommend it at all.

      To balance the dangers of high protein, 0 carb, consider the danger of a diet high in simple carbs: adult onset diabetes. That can cause permanent damage also - and is way too preval

    • by Davak (526912) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:50PM (#7372806) Homepage
      As one of slash's physicians, I feel I should contribute a little research on the topic. The summary of the research is that Atkin's probably works and probably lowers cholesterol. I recently read a study that followed people out for 12 months that found the diet safe.

      I tend to follow the Mediterranean diet [carotids.com] but have no better science supporting it either.

      This New England Journal of Medicine article agrees with my beliefs. The important thing to remember is that weight loss requires changes to diet for life! Any diet, even Atkins, only works as long as you can follow it...

      New England Journal of Medicine Article [nih.gov]

      BACKGROUND: Despite the popularity of the low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat (Atkins) diet, no randomized, controlled trials have evaluated its efficacy. METHODS: We conducted a one-year, multicenter, controlled trial involving 63 obese men and women who were randomly assigned to either a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet or a low-calorie, high-carbohydrate, low-fat (conventional) diet. Professional contact was minimal to replicate the approach used by most dieters. RESULTS: Subjects on the low-carbohydrate diet had lost more weight than subjects on the conventional diet at 3 months (mean [+/-SD], -6.8+/-5.0 vs. -2.7+/-3.7 percent of body weight; P=0.001) and 6 months (-7.0+/-6.5 vs. -3.2+/-5.6 percent of body weight, P=0.02), but the difference at 12 months was not significant (-4.4+/-6.7 vs. -2.5+/-6.3 percent of body weight, P=0.26). After three months, no significant differences were found between the groups in total or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. The increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and the decrease in triglyceride concentrations were greater among subjects on the low-carbohydrate diet than among those on the conventional diet throughout most of the study. Both diets significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure and the insulin response to an oral glucose load. CONCLUSIONS: The low-carbohydrate diet produced a greater weight loss (absolute difference, approximately 4 percent) than did the conventional diet for the first six months, but the differences were not significant at one year. The low-carbohydrate diet was associated with a greater improvement in some risk factors for coronary heart disease. Adherence was poor and attrition was high in both groups. Longer and larger studies are required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diets.
    • According to an article originally published by The London Telegraph (online version here [telegraph.co.uk]), The Burning Question, but which I read in Sydney Morning Herald [smh.com.au] on 23 October 2003, two separate studies have been unable to prove any ill-effects from following a high-protein diet. Both studies showed that the Atkins diet work. This somewhat distressing for one of them as it had been funded by the American HEart Association, a fierce critic of Atkins.

      Being to lazy to sum up the article I paste the full text of the
    • by crazyphilman (609923) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @09:49PM (#7374819) Journal
      Here's something plenty of people probably haven't heard about: GOUT.

      I went on Atkins, and was totally successful. I lost thirty pounds, and dropped a couple of pants sizes. I was totally happy. So far so good, right?

      So one morning, out of the clear blue sky, I woke up in scarlet, hot-as-fire pain. My left big toe's joint swelled up and turned shiny and red, and it felt as though a metal spike had been pounded straight through the joint. Within a week I couldn't walk without a cane. I immediately stopped eating meat entirely, and started eating lots of cranberries, cherries, cranberry, cherry and grape juice, and loading up on carbs. Even with all that, and some NSAID horse-pills my doctor gave me, it took FOUR WEEKS for my foot to go back to normal. It was absolutely fucking horrible.

      Gout is caused when an individual is sensitive to purines, i.e. he/she doesn't eliminate uric acid from his/her blood fast enough. A normal diet won't generally cause a gout attack, but Atkins is protein-rich, and protein is high in purines, which get turned into uric acid in the blood. So you're loading up on protein, and your body is building up the amount of uric acid in your blood, and before too long (maybe a few weeks) uric acid crystals start building up in the large joints of your feet. Which HURTS like NOTHING you have EVER EXPERIENCED.

      Atkins is great for most people. BUT, if you're susceptible to gout, boy, oh boy are you in for it. And, there's no way to tell whether you are or aren't until you have an attack. It's only like about 1% of people who suffer this, but you should know it's possible before you start the diet.

  • by DirtyJ (576100) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:28PM (#7372588)
    The Atkins diet is really very convenient for hackers. All you have to do is order your standard pepperoni pizza, and then throw away everything below the pepperoni.
    • An actual tip (Score:5, Informative)

      by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:22PM (#7373041)
      The Atkins diet is really very convenient for hackers. All you have to do is order your standard pepperoni pizza, and then throw away everything below the pepperoni.

      Heh.. that's not far off.. but for those of you who want to do Atkins and get stuck in awkward pizza-ordering social situations, I have two words for you:

      chicken wings

      Not breaded, not honey-garlic, but regular chicken wings will not 'knock you off' ketosis, and you can still eat with your pals.

  • by bucketoftruth (583696) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:33PM (#7372619)
    Eat less, excercise more. It's free and easy. It's covered under the GNU diet license so feel free to share with other fatties.

    • IT AINT FUCKEN EASY! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      Eat less, excercise more. It's free and easy.

      Free, yes. Easy? No way. I have tried excercising everyday for about 1/2 hour, and only lost about 5 pounds. That payoff is like earning less than min wage. Plus, jogging can be boring as hell, and more interesting activities like basketball leave you sore and injured often. I still excecize, but not every day.

      As far as eating less, your body knows very well that your intake is less than it wants, and not only cranks up the cravings to high heaven, but also
      • by olman (127310) *
        I got one practical piece of advice for you. Buy a bicycle. Far less boring than jogging plus you can actually go to places with it.

        Won't do much for your calorie burn, but neither will jogging. At least you'll be a bit more healthy because you're getting some excercise, plus those muscles require more energy even at rest.
      • by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio.yahoo@com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @07:35PM (#7373975) Homepage Journal
        jogging can be boring as hell, and more interesting activities like basketball leave you sore and injured often

        This is why DDR [ddrfreak.com] is the best video game ever invented. It makes exercise fun, even when it's just you.

        The only thing that could top it would be a hack & slash video game that worked both upper body and lower body, but I think we'll have to wait for holodeck technology for that one.

      • by MKalus (72765)

        Free, yes. Easy? No way. I have tried excercising everyday for about 1/2 hour, and only lost about 5 pounds. That payoff is like earning less than min wage. Plus, jogging can be boring as hell, and more interesting activities like basketball leave you sore and injured often. I still excecize, but not every day.

        Fat burning doesn't really start until around 30 minutes in the exercise, plus if you're still overeating you won't loose anything.

        The goal would be not to go below 500kCal of your daily requirem

      • Holy denial Batman (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gosand (234100)
        Science/tech created the problem, let it also fix it without this miserable 24/hr discipline shit.

        Wow, dude, are you in denial. Please explain how science/tech caused you to sit on your ass for hours on end and eat fast food 4 meals a day. Until you realize that *YOU* are the problem, all your diet efforts will be in vain. Convenience food is convenient, not mandatory. Did you get insanely fat overnight? No, it probably took you years and years of abusing your body to get that way. So stop looking f

    • not quite (Score:4, Funny)

      by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:28PM (#7373078)
      Eat less, excercise more. It's free and easy. It's covered under the GNU diet license so feel free to share with other fatties.

      No. That is the hardest diet ever.

      As Steve Martin once quipped, "I'd do anything to look beautiful - except eat right and exercise more."

  • It works. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:33PM (#7372621)
    5 weeks. 15 pounds (so far).

    I eat low carb cereal for breakfast, have meat, veggie and sugar free jello for lunch, more meat and a salad for supper. I have beef jerky, sugar free candy and sugar free jello for snacks.

    I ate a lot of fat the first week. When I got used to it, I cut the fat. I walk around the block twice after supper.

    Easiest diet I ever tried. I am aiming to lose 45-50lbs total.

  • aaah, not Johnny Walkers [beerliquors.com], ok i thought yous had all lost your mind there! everyone knows this [bushmills.com] is what REAL hackers drink ;-)
  • For those of you interested in dieting, do check out The Hacker's Diet. It's dieting explained in terms of engineering and project management. It's very clear and describes the essentials without resorting to euphemisms or nonsense.

    --Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu

  • by AntiPasto (168263) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:35PM (#7372637) Journal
    ...but exercise!!! Most of us eat right, etc, but are actually fairly imobile people. Get up! Get out! Walk around!!!!!! Not just for weight loss or building muscle, but just to be healthy.

    Also, its good to eat a regular portion. If you stuffed yourself, you probably ate too much. Most restaurants will give you a dump-truck full so long as you hit their price point or $5~7 per person.

    IANAD, but that's just my thoughts.

  • Come on People! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kanan (527196)
    Atkins is okay, but there are better systems out there. Just focusing on diet isn't going to make a person healthy. You need to exercise, and especially strength-train. I would devote about 2/3 of my workout to full-body strength training, and 1/3 to cardio if you are trying to lose weight, and only work out 5 tims a week for 45 minutes. More is not better because of muscle catabolism that starts to really kick in after 45 minutes for most people. You should take in high GI carbs right after a workout,
  • Dieting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuggz (69912) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:42PM (#7372722) Homepage
    Most people have terrible diets.

    Fancy systems may or may not work, they may or may nto have nasty side effects.

    The one that I think works best is simple.

    Eat less and healthier, get some excercise, and drink water.

    Few points, it is cheaper then most systems.
    It is probaly cheaper then your current unhealthy diet. Drinking enough water, or excercising alone are going to improve your health.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:43PM (#7372734)
    John Cash, who used to be with iD Software, once published this diet plan in his .plan back while they were developing Quake II.

    Plan:
    Busy, busy, busy workin' on Quake2. I wish I could tell you about it, but I can't.

    For now, I'll introduce "the Cash diet" to the world. I'd never really formalized my secret diet before, but the guys and girls (w00p) in my clan dragged it out of me one night. So here it is. [drumroll]

    The Cash Diet Plan
    ==================
    What to eat:
    Red meat
    Lots of it. Cooked rare or medium rare.
    Burgers, steaks, meatballs.. whatever.
    No steak sauce, but gravy or juice is good.
    Fried stuff:
    Mainly potato chips and french fries.
    Not those lame baked ones; real ones with
    salt and oil and fat (and flavor) and maybe
    bbq, vinegar, or something hot/spicy.
    Dessert
    Good stuff, not that low fat/low calorie crap.
    Whipped cream is a definite plus. Important
    note: you are not restricted to only one.
    Feel free to start out with a dessert as a
    pre-appetizer appetizer.
    Appetizers
    Loaded nachos, Buffalo wings, Onion rings.

    What to drink:
    Non-diet soft drinks (preferably with high
    levels of caffeine)
    Real beer

    Snacks:
    Yes, of course. Anytime you want. I find
    a snack to be good right before or right
    after exercising. Contrary to what you might
    be thinking, fruit is actually OK as a snack...
    as long as you "wash it down" with a candy bar.

    Exercise:
    Hey, what kind of diet doesn't include exercise?
    This is the key to my diet. There is only one
    exercise that is aerobic, burns lots of calories,
    and you'll actually enjoy doing. As an added
    bonus it can be singles, couples, or even teams.
    I'm talking, of course, about good old fashioned
    sex. The more the better (but take it easy when
    working out alone!) BTW, here's where that
    whipped cream on the desserts can come in handy.

    There you have it. I think it'll catch on.. I mean,
    what is there not to like?

    So, I hear you thinking: sounds great, but does it really work? Well, it does for me. I'm 5'10" and
    weigh 125 pounds. I eat what I want, when I want, and "work out" as often as possible (w00p!!!)

    Warning: There is one possible side effect of this diet... ummm... I have two of 'em... both boys So practice safe dieting.

  • by acordes (69618) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:45PM (#7372751)
    Props to all those who have tried Atkins and lost weight. However, I can't understand how a diet that tells you not to eat pears, apples, etc. can be healthy for you. It will be interesting to see 10 years down the road what the long term effects of Atkins are.
  • by christopherfinke (608750) <chris@efinke.com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:46PM (#7372760) Homepage Journal
    Oh, I'm on the Drinking Man's Diet,
    It came from a book I was loaned.
    It's really terrific and quite scientific
    And I'm half stoned.

    For breakfast some cornflakes and vodka,
    But cornflakes have carbohydrate;
    So I don't eat those fattening cornflakes,
    I eat the vodka straight.

    Drink, drink, everyone drink;
    It's not as bad as we used to think.
    With every Manhattan your stomach will flatten,
    So drink, drink, drink.

    The Air Force invented this diet,
    A fact which they hotly deny.
    Of course they deny it, 'cause this is the diet
    That got the Air Force high.

    For lunch you can have three martinis,
    What better lunch is there than that?
    But caution: do not eat the olives,
    'Cause olives make you fat.

    Drink, drink, everyone drink;
    It's not as bad as we used to think.
    If pounds you would burn off, then turn on your Smirnoff,
    And drink, drink, drink.

    For dinner, a nice Scotch and soda
    Now that oughtta help you to lose.
    No whipped cream, no butter, just lay in the gutter
    And booze, booze, booze.

    Suppose you should meet a policeman,
    Who says you've been quenching your thirst;
    You just tell him it's physical fitness
    And health comes first!

    Drink (hic!), drink (hic!), booze everywhere (hic!);
    Pass that decanter of bourbon there.
    I'm fatter than ever, but here's what's so clever:
    I don't care!

    -- Allan Sherman
  • Gross (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pave Low (566880) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:46PM (#7372766) Journal
    I've seen the people on Atkins, and just watching them eat makes me puke. I love bacon, steak, and fatty stuff as much as the next guy, but who likes downing all that stuff everyday without carbs, and other stuff.

    It's usually morbidly obese people who are doing this, and while I don't doubt it works, those people are still far from healthy. They still carry a few extra pounds, don't exercise, and they reek.

    It's funny how humans have lived on a staple of grains, rice, potatoes for thousands of years, and billions around the world continue to do so, and now it's no good for you? No thanks, I'll continue to eat whatever I want in moderation, and exercise frequently. It's a lot easier and healthier than these fad diets.

  • by Klowner (145731) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:49PM (#7372797) Homepage
    I myself am not a vegan, but my mother is. She's nearly 50 and she only requires about 5-6 hours of sleep, and is way more hyperactive than I am (I'm 20, and about 10lbs over where I'd like to be). She didn't go on the diet to lose weight or anything, just for health reasons.

    I don't have the will power to do such a thing, but I know I'd be more mentally and physically active if I did.. And although the high meat intake of the Akins diet may cause people to lose weight, I know it would make me feel like crap in the long run, and give me cancer or something. I've also heard of people on the Atkins diet having real problems with energy, although most geeks don't expend much physical energy, the mental energy is still required.

    utilizing low-carb methods to modify the metabolism is analogous to hacking and overclocking the body
    Yeah, and overclocking often causes equipment to have a slightly shorter life span, doesn't sound good to me.

    If anything I need to give up the coffee and start eating more plants.. And if anyone is interested in learning more about the diet here it is [hacres.com].

    - Klowner
    [Klown's Wallpapers [dugnet.com]]
    • She's nearly 50 and she only requires about 5-6 hours of sleep,

      That's probably the reason right there, nothing to do with being a vegan. Everybody tends to need less sleep as they get older.

      Me, I figure I didn't spend three billion years climbing to the top of the food chain to just eat vegetables. How much intelligence does it take to sneak up on a leaf anyway?
  • by ebusinessmedia1 (561777) * on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:49PM (#7372801)
    You can't fool Mother Nature

    Human beings did not evolve to subsist on protein. We evolved as *active* animals who browsed and hunted for food.

    The current social environment mitigates against health. There is too much food available, too much stress, not enough 'meaningful personal connection' (loss of the tribe?), too little movement [exercise], etc.

    It's understandable that a population that is grossly unhealthy seeks tweaked solutions to health.

    Atkins, like many other tweaks, will sooner or later be found to cause health problems, and drop from favor.

    What's unfortunate - and ironic - about all these body tweaks, is that there is a grain (pun intended) of truth in most of them. It's probably a good thing that people move away from refined carbohydrates, add reasonable amounts of healthy fat to the diet, consume a greater portion of protein relative to carbs than has been the case for the last several decades, etc.

    Unfortunately, the 'overclocking' crowd hoes whole hog (pun intended, again) on this stuff - the water diet, the grapefruit diet, the protein diet, etc. A price will be paid.

    The Atkins Diet not what Mother Nature intended, and she always has her way in the end.

    What I would like to see is a more in depth analysis - by individual - of how different bodies matabolize different foods, or combinations of foods. That day is coming. When we're they're (it's a way off), we'll have a better idea about what 'works' for us as individuals, and be able to intelligently act on that.

    One last thing: populations and food availability co-evolve. One of the reasons why the French and Italians do so well with a lot of wine is because they're been drinking it for hundreds of generations. Those who coudn't take the Italian, French, Chinese, or whatever diet, died off, and tended not to reproduce. Those who were left are the ones who were able to handle it, and thrive on it (for the most part).

    There have been interesting studies that return Southwest American Indians to their original diets, lost generations ago. What's startling about these studies is that many individuals who were diabetic, or had other health problems, experienced dramatic returns to health, or major improvement as a result of diet.

    We might say the same for the typical American diet, with it's high sugar, refined carbohydrate and other oddities. If we did nothing at all, over generations (many of them) an 'American' genotype would evolve that was able to deal with the current toxins in the American diet (even pesticides), and thrive on them.

    Sure, Atkins will work very well for some small number of people over a long period of time. However, many more people will most likely pay a price in compromised health (or general frustration)over the long term with Atkins diet, or any other diet that doesn't work the way MOther Nature intended.

    • by The Snowman (116231) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:36PM (#7373127) Homepage

      The Atkins Diet not what Mother Nature intended, and she always has her way in the end.

      Mother Nature did not intend for us to sit on our asses all day, eating cheeseburgers and french fries. Compared to the previous thousand years or so, our race has been very sedentary and has eaten too much sugar the past hundred years or so.

      Atkins is not about low carbs so much as balanced carbs, i.e. what humans had been eating before soda/cola was invented and the industrial revolution made [most of] us fat and lazy.

      We might say the same for the typical American diet, with it's high sugar, refined carbohydrate and other oddities. If we did nothing at all, over generations (many of them) an 'American' genotype would evolve that was able to deal with the current toxins in the American diet (even pesticides), and thrive on them.

      It would take a very long time, perhaps 1,000 years, for our race to evolve to the point it could consume carbohydrates without consequence. By that time, many generations would have died from diabetes and heart disease. Why wait? I am alive now.

    • by MoralHazard (447833) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @06:34PM (#7373510)
      This old logical fallacy? Haven't you ever read "Candide", man? Modern civilization is THE TESTAMENT to the triumphs of technology over "Mother Nature". Try this on for size, ebusinessmedia1:

      "Human beings did not evolve to hunt using guns, or to farm using plows. We evolved as hunter-gatherers who browsed and hunted for food without implements."

      Fact is, evolution is NOT, NOT an intentional, planned affair, as your second sentence implies (and upon which your entire argument depends). Evolution produces, in each generation, an organism that can thrive in a range of possibile scenarios. The state of a current generation DOES depend on the conditions under which its parent population evolved, but that doesn't mean that the population can't deal with different conditions. Conditional changes occur in nature all the time that put organisms into environments that differ from the conditions under which those organisms evolved... in fact, that's what CAUSES evolution. They don't always deal well with it, but they thrive often enough.

      So you build a "best of all possible worlds" fallacy on top of a confusion of "sufficient" conditions with "necessary" conditions, enough to reverse the factual relationship between the cause and the effect.

      Look at the theoretical picture, by analyzing the whole class of phenomena: the human immune system didn't evolve in the presence of antibiotic treatments. But we're not objectively worse for the wear. Same thing with cars or horses (as opposed to walking). Sure, there are costs of these kinds of advances (pollution) or hidden risk-shifts (a population with substantially lower native bacterial resistance, after a while). And those costs may or may not outweigh the benefits of the technology. But by and large, technological advancement helps rather than hurts. As evidence, I would point out that the human race has generally exploited technology to minimize environmental threats and increase productivity, both of which contribute to a greater short-term and long-term survivability of the species.

      I like the book "Hammer of the Gods" (ripped off as "Armageddon") for the super-example: the dinosaurs all died because they couldn't do anything about a massive asteroid impact. While humans may or may not be able to actually detect and prevent/minimize an asteroid impact, we can at least discuss the possibility and make a reasonable attempt. Give us 50-100 more years of technological growth, and we will certainly be able to stop an asteroid. We are the most successful organism in the history of the planet, because we have the potential to become nearly un-extinctable, as a species. All because we say "FUCK YOU!" and flip the finger to Mother Nature, and we try to take an active control over our destiny.

      Oh, and for the record, I'm with you on the Atkins topic, specifically: they're just now starting to see cancer risk accumulations associated with regular pot smoking, but only over a 30-40 year span. I'll wait on Atkins until a substantially larger population has guinea-pigged it and found out the REAL risks.
  • Alternatively (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greygent (523713) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:51PM (#7372817) Homepage
    Alternatively, you can implement a life plan where you exercise and eat right (Atkins diet != right).

    The key is to collect recipes for quick meals that are comprised of as few processed foods as possible. A George Foreman grill is a must. I suggest subscribing to the few men's fitness magazines that are out there, as they have both recipes and exercises for people in a hurry. The magazines are tailored for busy people. Buy the $16.95 Body For Life book as it is full of exercise and food tips.

    Dumb bells and a weight bench are cheap, alternatively, you could just go for 30 minute walks. Avoid driving, when possible. Shitcan your pansy-assed Segway. Invest in a good bicycle.

    Fad diets, like the Atkins diet, are just stupid shortcuts that work, somewhat, but don't think it's a healthy lifestyle. The Atkins diet is for lazy people who don't exercise much. You'll certainly get thinner, but not any healthier. And once you go off the diet, you'll just balloon up again. Whereas with exercise and more muscle, your body will burn more calories (and fat).
    • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:59PM (#7372882)
      It's not a diet where you just quit when you've lost weight. It's a change in your way of eating, and you can have still have a very proper diet on it. Once you've reached your goals, you can introduce some carbs back in (healthy ones, like fruits) to keep you at your ideal weight. You don't just quit and start eating pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, many people don't exercise because they're overweight, so losing weight often gets people interested in being more physically active.

      Our "modern diet" is killing us, and since the government has been preaching "low fat" the past few decades, things have only gotten worse. People are eating more because carbs cause insulin surges which increase appetite.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        You're right about the maintenance. People have been losing weight, going off their diet and gaining it back as long as the concept of a "diet" in its current sense has been around.

        On the other hand, there is no such thing as a "good" carbohydrate. There are rapidly and not rapidly digested carbohydrates, which may be what you mean, but fructose is not one of them. It's pretty readily converted.

  • Why it works (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adjensen (58676) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:03PM (#7372923)
    Okay, this is from the perspective of one who has done Atkins, and been successful at it. Not "I heard from this guy" or "my sister's friend told me". Real experience.

    I've struggled with my weight since I was in high school over 20 years ago. I've been up and down, weight wise, for a long time. Tried low fat, exercising like crazy, and just failed at it.

    Finally, in February of this year, I went on Atkins for the third time (first was just a fad that I didn't do seriously, back in the 80s, second took me from about 250 lbs to 230 about three years ago,) determined to finish the plan and get to my goal weight. I also began exercising by walking on my treadmill and walking when golfing instead of using a cart.

    To do Atkins properly, you spend a minimum of two weeks on "induction," which reduces your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day or less. This forces your body to stop using simple sugars and other carbs for fuel and start burning fat. You will most likely feel like crap for a couple of days during this phase, but it will pass.

    Right about then, two wonderful things happen very quickly which are what makes the diet successful for so many people. First, you will begin to notice, within those two weeks, that your clothes are looser and, if you are weighing daily, a pretty dramatic loss of weight. This positive feedback is mostly water weight, but not entirely, and you feel like you're making progress.

    Secondly, and more importantly, changing from consuming mostly carbs to mostly fats and proteins has the effect of making you feel full on much less food. In addition, your blood sugar levels stabelize and most people see "food cravings" (like eating a box of cookies!) going away. A low fat diet simply replaces fat with sugars to make the food more pallatable, and you end up with a bunch of empty calories and you're hungry a short time later.

    You're told that you can eat as much as you want, so long as you keep the carbs low -- I'm not sure that I agree with that, you still need to keep an eye on calories, but the point is that after a couple of days, you could eat ten burger patties, but you'll be full after two and won't want to keep eating.

    Once you've gone through induction, you can either stick with it (as I did) or start adding carbs back, a bit at a time, until you're eating a more balanced diet but still losing weight. You do have to stay away from sugars and simple carbs, though, because that will screw up your blood sugar levels.

    Now, onto the myths. First, I have never seen (and I've looked) any reputable study that says that kidney damage has resulted from a healthy person (healthy in that they don't have existing kidney problems or AIDS or something) following this diet. Pointers to such a report (not something sponsored by the "American Bread Makers Association") would be appreciated, if they exist.

    Secondly, people will tell you that it's unhealthy because you can't eat anything but meat. That's crap. There are loads of veggies that you can eat during induction, and you can add more, plus fruits, as you progress through the diet. I stayed on induction for seven months, and enjoyed salad every day, along with green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.

    Again, the proof is in the pudding (sugar free, if you please) -- in September of this year, I finished the diet, weighing 180 pounds, the first time in about 25 years that I've been the weight I'm supposed to be for my height. Now, I just check my weight periodically, and if it starts going up, I watch things for a couple of days.

    Finally, the greatest help for this (or any) diet is a website I'd encourage you to use. It's free, and it tracks your caloric intake, exercise and weight. It's at Fitday [fitday.com]

    Good luck to anyone trying to lose weight. Regardless of how you go about it, it's the best thing that you can do for yourself.
    • Re:Why it works (Score:3, Informative)

      by iabervon (1971)
      Constant ketosis is a treatment for epilipsy, and from the records of patients under that treatment, there is evidence of kidney damage. This can be effectively treated with increased hydration (maybe that initial loss of water weight isn't such a good thing). Of course, the epilepsy treatment is much more extreme than Atkins, but it points out the potential risks and mitigating factors.

      Considering that a large portion of people are constantly dehydrated, it's probably worth drinking more on Atkins.
  • by Powercntrl (458442) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:07PM (#7372939)
    Remember when "Low Fat" products were all the rage? The only problem with "low fat" is low fat usually doesn't mean low calories... Take Snackwell cookies for example, low fat doesn't mean shit if you're planning on eating the entire box in one sitting. Low carb is just another trend that is totally meaningless if you think it keeps you from counting calories.

    The only reason diets like Atkins work at all is simple: just about everything has carbohydrates in it! There's so few things you can eat if you strictly adhere to the diet that you inevitably end up eating LESS CALORIES.

    Howstuffworks has an excellent article [howstuffworks.com] on dieting and the gist of it is, you guessed it - limiting your calories consumed.

    If you are willing to tolerate counting calories and figure out exactly what you need to maintain your desired weight, you can pretty much eat whatever you want. 100 calories of carbs = 100 calories of fat. If you're the type of person that needs a "banned foods"-type list to really feel like you're on a diet, Atkins probably is for you. If you're the type that can push away from the table - you probably don't need to do anything more than watch your calories.
  • by AssFace (118098) <(stenz77) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:08PM (#7372948) Homepage Journal
    Atkins or any low carb diet will only work if you are fat. Once you get down to a reasonable 12-15% bodyfay, then the low carb diet will stop being effective. So you get to go through all of the annoyance of converting the keytones for energy instead of carbs, all of the discomfort, and without any of the benefits - BONUS!

    Once you get to 12-15%, you are better off going to a isocaloric diet (even percentages of fats, carbs, and protein - where most all of the fats come from the Omega3/6/9).
    If you go lower total calories on that during the week and then going high carbs on the weekend (or just one day if you are highly sensitive), then you can see an anabolic rebound which is beneficial to those that are weight lifting.

    It should also be noted that if you are trying to compete at all in any sort of endurance event - doing anyting low carb diet at all is about as retarded as you can get.
    If you feel that you are going to do that, at the very least, try to get a lot of fruit and fruit juices so as to be able to replenish your liver glycogen levels.
    But again - if you are you competetive at an endurance event, you are likely under 15% bodyfat - which means that you are wasting your time on the low carb diet.

    No matter what diet you are on, as long as the calories are less than your expendatures for the day (so you can also not diet at all and just exercise more), then you will lose weight.
    If you are fat - then you will see fast and great results down to about 20% bodyfat or so - then after that, you will start seeing resistance.

    Depending on how long you sat at your high bodyfat levels, your leptin levels might be your worst enemy at this point - the carb loading on weekends and caloric depletions on the weekdays will help counteract that.

    Once you go back to normal eating, then your leptin levels will again come back to haunt you.
    So you can't just diet and then go back to eating like a pig - it is a lifestyle change.

    Or you could just live life on the edge and use DNP - again, no good for endurance runners - and really no good for anyone. Especially if you are inclined towards depression at all since it prevents the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
    Generally speaking, there is a reason the FDA banned it from diet drugs back in the day - it is dangerous - although the most effective chemical in existance for burning fat.
    • Please don't consider the parent post as anything but random drivel of someone who thinks he's an armchair doctor and knows what's good for you.

      PLEASE don't turn to Slashdot for anything even remotely resembling advice--you'll get burned every. Single. Time.

      PLEASE see your doctor and get an expert's advice. They know you, will examine you, will find out your medical history, and will have access to modern medical equipment which can aid in greatly improving your health in ways that the parent poster appar
  • Low-carb experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by UtilityFog (654576) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:18PM (#7373018) Homepage
    I started trying this a year and a half ago, and
    wrote the following after the first few months.
    All remarks are still valid:

    Alimentary, My Dear Watson

    While I was on vacation in early July, I happened to read the NYTimes
    magazine article by Gary Taubes which opened my eyes to an extent.
    The import of the article was that modern dietary conventional wisdom
    has it pretty much backwards, and that eating a low-fat diet is actually
    the cause of the current obesity epidemic and a lot of heart disease
    and diabetes.

    Getting back home and doing a flurry of research revealed that Taubes
    had published a similar article in in Science about a year ago.
    What he documents is that the notion that fat is bad for you is
    a political, not a scientific, result, and that the actual studies
    don't show it at all. Since the NIH and FDA got the bee in their
    bonnet about fat, they've spent more than a billion dollars trying
    to prove it, and failed.

    Consider an "epidemiological" study of cars. Let's assume that the
    researchers believe that engine oil is a prime cause of engine trouble.
    You could quite easily take a sample that showed that there was a
    strong positive correlation between cars that dripped oil and ones
    that broke down. Then you could just as correctly show that you
    could prevent oil dripping by not putting any oil in at all.
    Bingo! The "proof" of your presumed conclusion. That's about how
    rigorous the basis for the antifat doctrine is.

    The reality is much more complex. In fact, the famous Boehringer
    Mannheim metabolic pathways chart covers an entire wall in finely
    detailed arrows and chemical formulae. But a very simplified version
    goes something like this: There are three basic classes of food,
    called the macronutrients; they are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
    Proteins and fats are essential for human life; carbohydrates are not.
    Carbohydrates are all converted to glucose in your bloodstream. The
    more you eat, the more glucose. The body reacts to glucose in the
    blood with insulin, which acts to cause cells to burn glucose for
    energy and convert it to fat to be stored.

    A whole raft of hormonal imbalances can result when insulin is
    constantly overproduced. There seems to be some general mechanism
    that tries to balance anabolic and catabolic hormones. Insulin
    is anabolic. Too much of it for too long and the body will either
    overproduce catabolic hormones or underproduce the other anabolic
    ones.

    The upshot of long-term carbohydrate consumption is a phenomenon known
    as "Syndrome X", so named by Gerald Reaven, MD, professor of medicine
    at Stanford. It's a cluster of symptoms that tend to occur together,
    including high blood pressure, high serum triglycerides, decreased HDL,
    and obesity, and marks a risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    Well, go to any grocery store and look what you'll find in the
    so-called "heart-healthy", low-fat foods: carbohydrates. Loads
    of them. Remember, it doesn't matter whether it's sugar or starch,
    honey or whole wheat, it's all glucose to your bloodstream.

    So it would seem that the arrogance and ignorance of the high
    priesthood of health in this country has contributed to, if not
    indeed largely caused, the current (real, well-documented) epidemic
    and of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

    Oh, yes, one other thing for those of you who are into life extension
    and know about the caloric restriction results -- one of the main
    physiological markers for caloric restriction is low insulin.

    Well, who can believe that? I did a bunch of research, and discovered
    that there are more different opinions among dietary advisors than
    among economists. The only thing that *everybody* agreed on was that
    olive oil was good for you, and trans-fatty acids (margarine) was bad.

    One of the more interesting subfields I ran across was the paleolithic
    diet. The id
  • But really... (Score:3, Informative)

    by CoderByBirth (585951) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:56PM (#7373250)
    ...how hard is this anyway? There are a zillion weird diets like this:
    Only eat fruit.
    Only eat bacon.
    Only eat eggs.

    You've probably heard this before, but here goes:
    Eat food that is low on fast carbs. This means vegetables, no refined grain products and definitely no sugar.
    Eat meat which is low on saturated fats. This means fish and fat fish such as salmon, sea-food and other lean meats.

    Excercise daily.

    Now, I may not exactly follow these instructions
    down to the last word myself, but I try to.

    Think about it; the human species as a whole has probably evolved on a low-carb, low-fat diet and lots of movement.
    They didn't eat raw sugar 10 000 years ago, which is yesterday on an evolutionary timescale.
    And they sure as hell didn't have a guy named Atkins tell them to eat bacon and eggs three times a day.

    I call bullshit on this being a 'hackers diet'.
    I'm a hacker, and to me this diet is like fixing a bug (ie. being fat) while having no understanding of the entire system (ie. the human body).
  • by barfy (256323) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @06:17PM (#7373390)
    Ok, the simple truth is this...

    As adults... (The growth mechanism of children is quite different then the maintenance mechanisms of adults...)

    We are genetically inclined to eat carbs. Our whole body from taste buds, to energy use, and insulin cycles are based upon the carbohydrate energy cycle.

    Two problems... 100's of years of developing tasty food (IE food that has been shown to have maximum effect on our carbohydrate systems), and secondly, unparalled access to limitless quantities of such food.

    And a third problem, we are hormonally beholding to the carbohydrate cycle. And hormones win nearly everytime over will-power. (Anyone who disbelieves this, is either genetically "lucky" or is woefully ignorant of modern psychiatry and the biomechanical nature of the brain and how it affects behavior).

    This results in overeating of carbs (we are just doing what feels normal...) This results in insulin resistence (the body going... I am sorry sir, but I cannot possibly store any more energy in these cells), followed by type 2 diabetes (the blood is a lovely red syrup), followed by nerve damage, loss of limbs, blindness and death....

    All of this because, well historically (ignoring the past 50 years or so), it was genetically superior to be carb-centric. Those that are carb-centric lived longer, were revered, and had more power.

    Atkins works because it lowers blood sugar due to lack of carbohydrates in the diet. This essentially stops type 2 diabetes.

    If calories are below need then energy is released by cells. (This will increase insulin sensitivity as cells now have space to store excess sugar)... (Though the calorie equation is best a guess. Basing how much water temprature rises is equivelant to biomechanical energy release is at best a sketchy and not fully understood relationship).

    Ultimately people are MUCH healthier not being in type 2 diabetic and insulin resistent state. Than being *in* that state.

    However, lack of blood sugar has negative affect on brain activity, and excess protien in the blood has been shown to increase kidney stone production, and may be related to renal failure....

    So, once moved to the much healthier non-diabetic bloodstream, and non-insulin resistent cell-state, a balanced macro-nutrient diet, is probably best (as research done on sports teams, and diabetic patients)...

    BUT.... Oh and this is a big BUT!!! We are still hormonally driven beings.... And hormones will drive you back to Carbo-Heaven... Cuz that is what we are genetically incline to eat. And this will make this an ongoing mental and physical exercise to exorcise the hormonal demons..
  • by Captain Beefheart (628365) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @06:26PM (#7373455)
    ...Atkins discussions for some reason seem to draw out more urban legend, second-hand, and bad information than any hot topic I've ever come across, including politics and religion. There are many reasons for this:

    1. People who don't read the book and try eating meat and cheese to lose weight. They suffer and end up badmouthing the diet.

    2. People who watch the above suffer and assume the diet is bad...and go around badmouthing it.

    3. People who've "heard of" vaguely ominous scientific studies but can't provide concrete rebuttals.

    4. People who say Atkins is BS because all you need to do is exercise and "eat right." Well, according to Atkins, his diet *is* "eating right."

    Low-fat diet+exercise will simply not work for a significant percentage of the population. Some people will simply not lose weight with the traditional exercise and diet route. The human body is a complex and often uncooperative machine.

    In conclusion, read the material. No, really. Actually read the book. Just one chapter, even. Don't skim. At least focus on one chapter. I garantee you wouldn't be so hard on the diet if you just did a little homework.

  • by gessel (310103) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @07:23PM (#7373906) Homepage
    OK kids, all crap aside, lets go back to basics:

    Any energy that goes into your mouth goes one of 3 places:

    1) You burn it. Literally - and burning food generates heat. Each gram of fat contains 9 Calories, which is equivalent to jogging for one minute. That's 9000 calories (little c) which will heat your average 200lb sysadmin 0.2 degrees F. There are 27 grams in an ounce - that's a half hour run per ounce of fat. Think about how sweaty that would make you. This is an important thermodynamic consideration we'll get back to.

    2) You store it. One gram of fat in becomes one gram of fat on your ass. One gram of carbohydrate or protein in becomes 1/2 gram of fat on your ass. There's no magic here; joules don't vanish.

    3) You excrete it. This is what chiral analogs of various energy sources do, such as Olestra. If this was happening, you would know it; the term is anal leakage. Sugars you cannot digest, like the sugars in beans, create equally socially endearing outputs.

    Now the article claims that Atkins overclocks the body. Crap. If it did you'd get hot. Run a motor fast, it gets hot. Run your body fast, it gets hot. Take amphetamines, you start to twitch and sweat. Thermodynamics. You can't beat it. Atkins can't beat it. Atkins does not make you hot. If you burned an extra pound of fat you'd heat your body to boiling. It does not accelerate your metabolism, it does not perform any insulin magic. The whole thing is the stunningly ignorant optimism of the hopefully overweight.

    But people do lose weight on it - or so it seems (statistically this isn't really borne out by actual controlled studies, but hey, who needs science when we can make choices based on anecdotes). Why? Because in a normal diet 60-70% of your calories come from carbohydrates and you cut them you and you're on a calories restricted diet. Bingo. Eat nothing at all and keep your activity level up and you'll lose about 1/2 pound each day (8.2oz of fat = 2000 calories). Eat more calories than nothing and prorate that weight lose. Joules are joules, they body isn't happy about wasting them, and if it does, bacteria won't and your cube neighbors won't be happy about that.

    So much for the insulin magic and ketosis crap, but there's this wacky claim of "satiety " the claim that fat and protein is a high satiety food and that if you eat it, you'll eat less total. Could be. Maybe for some people, not for others. If it works for you, go for it, just don't make magic claims or act like the self-righteous health nuts who claim to Received The Counterintuitive Truth.

    As for the health of it all, if you stop eating processed sugars, like every nutritionist including Atkins has been saying for 50 years, you'll generally lose weight, probably a lot of it, and you will be healthier. My mom used to call them "empty calories," but that's too kind. Sugars are bad, and Atkins is right about refined sugar (complex carbohydrates absorb more slowly, "glycemic index" crap aside) - you do tend to crash after (all nutritionists know this). Crash means metabolism temporarily slows. Slow metabolism means less calories burned. Not a lot less - watching TV burns 2.4 calories per minute, walking 2mph burns 2.8 - but a bit less, which means a small difference, a few grams of fat a day maybe. The big difference is eating less sugar - 4.5 Cal per M&M adds up fast.

    As for the health of it, if you eat "too much" protein your piss will start to smell weird. If that happens back off. Otherwise it's not likely to kill you. Don't chow down on high saturated fats, the "Atkins helps heart disease" stuff is crap. If you lose weight your cholesterol level will drop, but that doesn't contradict about 50 years of very well documented data showing a direct correlations between saturated fat and heart disease, which strikes thin, otherwise healthy people too.

    Skipping fruit is dumb, but it won't kill you if you're eating your veggies. All the vitamins and minerals are in vegetab
  • Weight Watchers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tedrlord (95173) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @07:32PM (#7373954)
    Personally, I think Weight Watchers is a total geek diet. I know most people think of it as mainly for middle-aged women, but it works even better for young guys.

    Mainly, the thing I like is that they generalized foods and forms of exercise into a points system, so you can easily figure out how much you need to eat and how much exercise helps. It's like playing a dieting RPG, or something. The best part is that it gives you a really good sense of how much you actually should eat, rather than how much to think you should. You can keep your weight down much more easily that way later on.
  • by nomadicGeek (453231) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @08:19PM (#7374344)
    Let's just start by saying that I don't believe in the Atkins diet. While you may lose weight while you are on it, I think that you are doing damage to your body for short term gain (not weight gain). There is plenty of evidence out there to support that claim. Many of the other posts probably cover it better than I could. I would like to live a long and healthy life and I think that you have to be careful how you do things when you are younger because there will eventually be a price paid for abusing your body.

    I guess I have struggled with my weight as much as the next geek. I remember seeing my college graduation pictures and being appalled by how bad I looked. My face was pale, I had a little double chin action starting, and I had milk titties with a paunch that hung over my belt. My posture was bad as well. In short, I looked like shit and I felt like shit. Any kind of physical exertion like climbing up a few flights of stairs made me feel ill.

    I've found the best approach is to eat a balanced diet consisting of protein, carbs (tending toward goods with a low glycemic index and trying to stay away from processed sugars), unsaturated fat, and fiber combined with exercise. I split my exercise between weights and cardio.

    When I first started to work out, I hated it. I was always sore for a couple of days after weights and the cardio always made me want to puke. I felt awkward being in the gym because I didn't know what I was doing but after a couple of months I really started to enjoy it. My body got used to exercising and I was reading some books and magazines to figure out what to do. Once you get into it there are so many rewards.

    Weight lifting is more difficult than it looks. How you do it determines the gains that you make and how likely you are to hurt yourself. Technique is the key and it takes a while to learn. I'm to the point now where I set goals for things like squats, dead lifts, and bench press. I work out the plan and then work hard to get there. It's like learning a new scripting language or maybe picking up Linux for the first time. When you first start you don't know what the hell you are doing. After a while you become a pro. Now I'm not a big muscle head, my body is just better proportioned. My shoulders are wider than my love handles, my chest is wider, and I have better posture. I just look better overall. I've also noticed that a lot of nagging aches and pains have gone away. My lower back feels good. I also have an injured shoulder that is going much better now that I have built up a little muscle around it.

    I started running for cardio. My goal was to finish a half marathon. It was something to focus on and judge my progress against. I still do a half marathon every year but I decided that running is not my thing. I've taken up cycling and love it. Just like weights, I set goals to keep things interesting. I started out by signing up for an 860 mile trek from Miami to Tallahassee, FL. I worked out a plan of the number of miles a week that I wanted to ride and did two 100 mile rides the two weekends before the ride. I'm planning a cross country ride in 2007 (why set small goals). I enjoy the cycling on a lot of levels. I get to see a lot of places that I normally wouldn't see. I've met a lot of really cool people. It also clears my mind. I can't tell you how many times I have been frustrated with a technical problem, taken an hour off to cycle, and then come back and knocked it out. I also really enjoy the physical challenge and pushing myself to do things that I wouldn't have imagined that I could do a few years ago.

    I probably sound a little like a zealot here but I can't imagine going back to living the way I used to. I'm happier, healthier, and more energetic.

    I think that if you are now where I used to be years back, I would seriously consider a sensible balanced diet and find some physical activities that you enjoy. If you do it right, it can be very physically, intellectually, and spiritual
  • by MasTRE (588396) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @09:14PM (#7374657)
    "..because utilizing low-carb methods to modify the metabolism is analogous to hacking and overclocking the body."

    More like being retarded. Like the guy who's fine with his box crashing 2-3 times a day as long as he _knows_ it's oc'ed to the max. Your body will crash too - there is no magic. The difference is that Atkins, when he was alive, marketed for profit his unsafe body overclocking methods that could seriously fuck you up for life, whereas frying a Barton will only hurt your pocket the average monthly salary of a chinese factory worker making the motherboard you fried it on.
  • by LookSharp (3864) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @09:26PM (#7374710)
    Granted that the plural of anecdote is NOT data (as snopes.com loves to tell you), I wanted to give the results of four web/Unix geeks where I work. This is going to sound like an infomercial, but all I can do is give you what I've got, and let you decide if I'm honest or not. Hopefully my low UID and post history will help convince you that I'm sincere.

    My buddy, late 30s, lost 35 lbs his first six weeks. One colleague lost 65lbs in 6 months (early 40s), and a guy in his late 20s lost 70lbs in 6 months. So I joined up-- I have been on for eight weeks (I'm 28), and have lost 38lbs (from 262 to 224) so far, following Atkins' New Diet Revolution. That includes going from a 44 inch waist to 38. In two months, without excercise (yet.)

    Basically, the Atkins Diet is like a cult of people who cut almost all of the sugars and starches out of their diet. Permanently, if done correctly. I also cut caffeine out (what a hellish 36 hours withdrawal/hangover that was!)-- not required by "The Diet" but I found it helpful. I call it a cult because you have to continually remind yourself and/or your Atkins Buddies that they're doing well, and steer them clear of carby foods. This often means randomly annoying strangers by picking up food containers and looking at them increduously when you look at the labels. For instance, a small bottle of Cranberry juice has 49 carb grams in it; enough for 2.5 days worth on Atkins' Induction phase.

    Here are my pros/cons list:

    -Pro: I find that I fall asleep/wake up better, and feel "regulated" throughout the day. I do not have post-lunch lag, or groggy mornings where I "need" coffee/Code Red.

    -Con: You need to be creative with your food selection and menu planning. You can eat plenty of junk food, as long as you are getting sugar-free candy and soda, and eat stuff like Beef Jerky and Pork Rinds for snacks. You can and should eat the green vegetables specified, in the amounts specified in the book.

    -Pro: You are losing weight, especially in the early weeks, enough to look in the mirror and tell the difference. Especially those of us who are fat around the face.

    -Con: You need to supplement your diet with vitamins and PLENTY of water. The Diet dehydrates you. I personally find myself drinking somewhere in the neighborhood of a gallon of plain water every day, because I literally feel that thirsty. You also need to make sure you are getting enough fiber, or you will get constipated. The good news is that many sugar-free candies are loaded with non-digestable plant fibers which will take care of that... and much worse if you overdo it!

    -Pro: Your total cholesterol goes down. "Good cholesterol" goes up. This is only if you are doing the diet right. The FUDders like to spew that "there's no way so much meat and cheese can be healthy for you." Bullshit. If you're doing it right, your body is metabolizing what you eat, and you are pissing away (literally) your weight through lipolysis-- the breaking down of your stored fat cells. You don't have to skip bacon and eggs, but you also can't eat greasy, saturated-fatty foods for every component of every meal.

    -Con: You eventually start to plateau on your weight loss. At this point, if you're not already doing this, it's time to start excercising regularly to kick-start your CV system and calorie burn.

    The final con is that about 2/3rd of the population is going to accuse you of eating "unnaturally" or foods that are "unhealthy." Franky, I think they are full of shit. Of the dozen or so people I know that have read the book and implemented it to spec, EVERY ONE has lost between 15 and 30 lbs in the first month. Not a one has had negative health effects with the possible exception of some constipation (not enough fiber/water). The trick is staying on the diet, monitoring your blood sugars and cholesterol level with your doctor, and taking the mindset that The Diet is a whole change in lifestyle, not just a quikc solution to kick 20lbs.
  • Worked for me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plazman30 (531348) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:29PM (#7375260) Homepage
    I did Atkisn for over a year and lost about 100 pounds on it. The whole time I was monitored by my doctor and my blood chemistry improved DRAMATICALLY. If you've never been on Atkins and have NEVER EVEN read the book, then I would say, SHUT THE HELL UP, before you go and make comments about this diet.

    Sure you eat more fat and protein than the average guy, but NOWHERE does Atkins tell you to go and deep fry everything you eat, or cut all veggies out of your diet. And he STRESSES beyond anything else to take vitamin supplements because he says it is an UNBALANCED DIET and you have to get yourself IN BALANCE once you get to your goal weight. That's where you start the maintenance phase.

    The hardest part of the diet for any geek would be the complete lack of caffeine on the diet.
  • late to the party... (Score:3, Informative)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @11:51PM (#7375338) Homepage
    Ive been on atkins since last february, lost the 35 lbs I was aiming for. in that time, Ive stopped snoring, I no longer have heartburn, I sleep better, I have more energy, my teeth are cleaner, my blood pressure is in the perfect range, and my skin is in better shape.

    I have added a few carbs back into my diet, but I watch everything I eat.
  • by theolein (316044) on Monday November 03, 2003 @05:31AM (#7376330) Journal
    AS someone who has battled the pounds/kilos his whole life I thought I should relate this little story for the aspiring low kilo hacker:

    I was born crippled with congenital dislocation of the hips, which meant that a lot of my childhood and early adulthood was spent with a lot of pain if I had to walk distances or even stand for more than 30 minutes. My mother was and is a health fanatic and put me on a number of diets which never seemed to work very well (one of them was an early version of the Atkins diet). I tried to do weightlifting/bodybuilding at school to compensate for my bad self image with a little success but stopped when I went to Uni and ballooned because I did the usual student thing of eating loads of fast food shit that I'd never had at home.

    I left my home country (South Africa) and went to live in Berlin, Germany where I worked for the USAF. During this time I discovered swimming, the one sport that I could do with little pain. I was amazed. In about three quarters of a year I was as fit as hell with my four times weekly programme of 45 minutes crawling back and forth in the distance swimming lanes of the local indoor pool. I felt wonderful, for the first time in my life girls were going nuts over me and life was good.

    During the dotcom years I gained massive amounts of weight due to enormously long work days and a diet of pizzas, burgers and beer.

    That was three years ago and I've been a depressed, lonley fat pig the whole time. A while ago I decided that work could kiss my fat butt on the hole and I started my swimming programme (3 times a week@40 minutes at 6AM in the mornings) as well as simply stopping junk food (No pizzas, burgers, beer).

    Already now, only a short while later I am feeling damn good about myself and looking forward to having a social and love life again with the added plus of having a clearer mind than any fad diet could give me.

    In my time working for the USAF and my one visit to the US, I noticed how damn difficult it is to buy vegetables and food you actually have to cook--most supermarkets seem to be stuffed with precooked, processed shit that is neither nutritional nor healthy and people resort to chemical crpa like olestra etc in order to avoid actually getting out of their huge fucking cars and moving their bodies.

    Do sport, drop the junk food and beer and eat vegetables (not from cans). You'll be fucking amazed.
  • by Cronopios (313338) on Monday November 03, 2003 @07:54AM (#7376640) Homepage Journal
    This subject has already been discussed on Slashdot [slashdot.org].

    The conclussion is that, if you want to get in shape, you just have to live healthy.

    This is:
    - Drink plain water (no soda, beer, coffee, etc)
    - Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less fatty stuff. Have you ever heard of the mediterranean diet [carotids.com]?
    - Do physical exercise. Walking [americanrunning.org] is good enough and pretty easy. Biking is also excellent. Forget about elevators, and try some martial arts or any other sport you like.

    Good luck!
  • by bigsmelly (165699) on Monday November 03, 2003 @08:05AM (#7376664) Homepage
    From my own experience, foods high in protien (meat, beans etc), make me feel fuller.

    Therefore, try an Atkins -style diet, with high protien foods (meat, fish etcetera. Roast meat, grilled is all good ).

    Eat less carbs (pasta, chips, bread)

    Don't eat fat unrestrainedly as Atkins seems to reccommend. (i.e. you dont need to be paranoid about it, but avoid butter, lard, massive fry ups)

    Eat more protien! Mmmm good.

    Eat lots of fruit and salad

    PS Drink Lots of water contary to poular belief it does not make you fatter (bloated) but helps you stay thinner.

    PPS Exercise

  • Exercise. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamie(really) (678877) on Monday November 03, 2003 @08:43AM (#7376768)
    I did enjoy the one post that said ketosis has been a natural part of the human metabolism for millions of years. The bit about "ketones providing energy for you to chase the rabbit even though you havent eaten for two days" is particularly relavent I feel, and yet no mention of exercise was made by the author, other than "it would be nice".

    If one is to argue that ketosis is ok because our bodies are designed for it, surely one has to say that actually our bodies are designed for a combination of glucosis, ketosis and exercise. Arguing for just one (glocosis) is exactly what the author complains about, and then promptly goes off to do it himself.

    There is also evidence to suggest that the human body has already evolved in the few thousand years that agricultural technology has been used. There is even evidence that blood groups have changed in this short period to accomodate new living practices.

    My wife is a personal trainer and nutritionist and has investigated lost of different diets. Bottom line, if you want to loose weight and control your metabolism, exercise! Its the one aspect of your metabolism that has been unchanged for millions of years. You'll feel better too. Hell, you might end up meeting a pretty girl and marrying her :-)

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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