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Hometown: NYC, NY
Motivation: Helping people find a way of eating with low carb that promotes robust health outcomes and sustainable weight loss and maintenance.
Favorite Atkins Friendly Food: Cashew Trail Mix Bar
Tips for Success: Read your labels. Watch out for hidden carbs; to calculate the grams of carbs that impact your blood sugar, subtract the number of grams of dietary fiber from the total number of carb grams. Also double-check serving sizes on labels; some foods and drinks are actually two or more servings, so you need to add in those extra carbs and calories.

This Is Your Brain on Atkins

August 22, 2011

Most of you probably discovered Atkins because you were interested in long-term weight loss and weight maintenance, but did you know that following a low-carb diet like Atkins could also have a variety of other health benefits? I’ve discussed Atkins’ effect on heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome before, but even more research continues to suggest that a ketogenic (high-fat, low-carb) diet like Atkins has some interesting effects on the brain.

A ketogenic diet like Atkins has been shown to be effective in helping to control the symptoms of epilepsy in children, even when medications were unable to work. One study of 272 children and adults found a 50% reduction in seizures after following a modified version of Atkins. Even better, the improvement in the symptoms happened quite quickly. Research from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine suggests that this nutrition plan would be helpful for adults who have epilepsy as well. The research on children has been so positive, that ketogenic baby formulas are being developed to help alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy in children.

Additional research has shown that a diet like Atkins can also help with Alzheimer’s, and low-carb drink supplements are being developed for people to take if they show symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Initial research shows that consuming a specially formulated low-carb drink supplement may help slow the advance of the disease in adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

A modified version of Atkins has also shown the potential to be effective in helping with chronic migraines, and more research continues to suggest that ketogenic diets like Atkins may have a positive effect on conditions such as autism, brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, Tourette syndrome and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). These early research indications demonstrate that the brain is not static in its fuel options. In fact, Dr. Richard Veech, an N.I.H. researcher and one of the world's experts on ketones, claims that the heart and the brain run 25 percent more efficiently on ketones than on blood sugar.

As you can see, new research continues to support the fact that a diet like Atkins may offer a lot of potential health benefits, above and beyond just weight loss. Stay tuned!

Recommended reading; Ketogenic Diets. Fifth Edition. Treatments for Epilepsy and Other Disorders. By Eric H. Kossoff, MD

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What are your thoughts on these other health benefits of a diet like Atkins? I’d love to hear! Please share your thoughts with the Atkins Community and also let me know what you’d like to hear about in the future.

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