There are many different approaches to weight loss. Most are straightforward and extremely unappealing to us – they espouse eating less and exercising more. That approach will undo work, but if we ate healthy foods and exercised we probably would not need to lose weight in the first place. So that approach involves a behavior change that most of us will find difficult to accomplish. Some weight loss programs rely on chemistry – appetite suppressants, miracle "fat burners," things to speed up the metabolism.
These approaches may work, but they are undeniably bad for you. Additionally, once we stop taking the chemical the appetite comes back, the metabolismism backs down down and we begin gaining back the weight we just lost. Yet a third approach, the one proposed by this article, relies on biology. The standard human metabolism is fueled by sugar. The carbohydrates in the food we eat are broken down into simple sugars and used by our body. We even build up carbohydrates reserves, to be used whenever our carbohydrates intake drops.
The fats in the food we eat are not used at all, typically. They are stored as fat reserves, to be used in times of desperation. A biological strategy of weight loss is to stop taking in carbohydrates, so that our body is forced to use up the reserves it has built up, and to switch over from a carbohydrate-burning metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism. That, in its most basic form, is the concept behind the Atkins Diet. Atkins aficionados have lots of other details in their regimen – they take certain vitamins, they eat a certain number of times a day, they take in very limited carbohydrates with certain criteria, etc.
The effectiveness of these additional details is sometimes a matter for debit among specialists. What is not in question, however, is the fact that changing from a carbohydrate-based metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism undeniably causes the body to burn fat reserves and to lose weight. As with most diets, the trick is to keep the weight off once it is lost.