Atkins diet violates a Law of Thermodynamics?? Read all about it!!

Now im an atkins believer but even i dont think the diet violates physics laws but interesting point, if a calorie is a calorie then how do people eat more of them and lose more weight?

Because how the body processes the food varies depending on the nature of the food, not on the number of “calories” contained therein. A calorie is a calorie, but a slice of bread is not a glass of wine is not a filet of fish. IIRC the familiar calorie ‘counts’ are not normalized for metabolic equivalence.

If your theory is that the body will be more inclined to store away the “calories” from starchy food, and more ready to burn or pass those from fats and proteins, you replace carbs with meat. Then you have “higher-calorie” foods going in, but less of that caloric intake turning to flab.

All I know is that I lost 50 pounds over the course of a few months on the Atkins diet and I ate quite a bit. You can’t really argue with results. everyone seems to have this extreme hatred for this diet. I don’t know why.


I think the general hatred and dismissal is because the Atkins diet somewhat resembles earlier “fad diets” that didn’t work.

It’s kind of as if someone really did invent a pill that turned water into gasoline: we’d all laugh at him for quite a long time…until his claims were, finally, proven.


I did this diet to the letter for a month before my desperate cravings for fruit (among other things) took over. I lost 5 lbs of water weight. That’s it. I’ve lost weight better by sticking with fruits and veggies, whole wheat bread and moderation. I’m not saying the diet doesn’t work. If it works for you, great, just know that it isn’t some miracle cure-all for everyone, just one alternative.

The difference is that making energy out of water actually does violate the 1st law of thermodynamics- it makes energy out of nothing. Ingesting excess “calories” as food does not guarantee that it will be absorbed in the intestines. If the caloric value of the feces produced by Atkins dieters is not considered, one cannot begin to analyze diet & metabolism in a thermodynamic analysis. A proper double-blind study is impossible, since the subjects would definitely know whether they are consuming a low-carb/high fat & protein diet vs. a control diet, but I doubt a placebo effect would affect the composition of the feces of the subjects. Maybe a single-blind clinical study would produce acceptable data for a thermodynamic analysis of the Atkins diet?

BTW, I’m not a believer in the long term effects of an Atkins diet. I’ve seen it work in the short term with on a friend of mine, but the weight came back and brought more when it returned.

**No, it makes energy out of water – as you yourself stated. As long as the gasoline doesn’t contain more energy than the water did, the First Law isn’t violated. This is potentially a violation of the Second Law, though… but since the Second Law is a statistical one, it can be violated.

In any case, this has nothing to do with the Atkins diet.

Atkin’s diet doesn’t work for many people, and it has dangerous side effects.


Cite what?

If you eat lots of fat and meat, you will be sucking in lows of cholesteol. If you skip carb and veggies, you will be low on fiber. This is pretty basic knowledge.

Urban…making a factual statement that i disagree with and then request you to support it with a source is a fairly standard Straight Dope procedure as you well know. As you also well know “this is pretty basic knowledge” does not suffice as a cite. If you assert factually that atkins has dangerous side effects please cite those dangerous effects and thier probability. I mean asprin, ibuprofin etc have a million side effects listed on thier box but most consider it a “safe” medication. Even without a cite for the diets “dangers” what is your proof that eating lots of cholesteral is inherently a bad or “dangerous” thing. In fact if you have bothered to read the article i quoted in the OP you will find that the Atkins diet greatly increased the “good cholesteral” vs low fat diet and had little effect on the bad cholesteral. Plus to state “If you skip carbs and veggies you will be low on fiber” indicates your ignorance of the Atkins diet particulars. At no time does Atkins suggest you dont eat vegtables. In fact he has a list of permissable veggtables that is like 2 pages long and include most green leafy vegs including celery<a VERY HIGH source of fiber> tomatoes cucumbers onions, the list is long.

The Atkins Diet is bad for you because excess protein inhibits calcium absorption. You want osteoperosis in 20 years? Try the Atkins Diet. Especially if you are a child.

And then there are the issues with excess fat that go hand in hand with a diet high in protien.

From Human Anatomy and Physiology, 3rd Edition, by Elaine Marieg, R. N., Ph.D.; published by The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc., Redwood City, California, 1995.

(This is my college textbook kept from two semesters of Human A&P)

Chapter 25: Nutrition, Metabolism, and Body Temperature Regulation, Page 871:

Hope that helps, jonpluc - I’m not otherwise qualified to comment any further. Perhaps one of the medical doctors that frequents the board will drop by and give us a professional opinion.

Until such time, I will say that I suggest following this (or, really, any other) diet under a physician’s supervision, just to be on the safe side.

Please cite one victim that has had osteoperosis due to the Atkins diet. Also im not at ALL clear as to “issues with excess fat” Atkins states that fat intake is ok and better for you than carb intake. Your just using this 30 yr old fat is evil fable that you have had drilled in your food pyramid head since you were a small child. Cutting edge research is indicating that fat is not the evil you think it is.Please read the article i cited in my OP.

Why do you keep citing Atkins when we haven’t all agreed that he’s a worthwhile authority?

And for its worth, some fats (particularly trans-fatty acids) are known to be bad. Check your research again.

The article linked in the OP doesn’t give me enough detail to say one way or another whether the evidence is convincing.

The Creationists are attacking Atkins now?

Yes it’s on the Atkins site, but it’s all independent research. Read away.

“Common knowledge” does not evidence make.

I don’t think anyone has suggested it for children, but rather, adults. And I’m sure they are taking in much more Calcium than other people.

All foods will kill you eventually. Fats no more or less than others.

The atkins diet is a proven winner for some people. If it works for you, I’m all for it. I’ve heard a lot of people whisper in the dark about what horrors await those who ignore the Orthodoxy of Vegetables and Grains, but as long as the heretics are happy, why should I care?

Ive been on the Atkins diet for just over 2 months now, ive lost just over 30 lbs. I had a medical before i started, and one just last week, my doctor was impressed by my now lower cholestreol
level, and my fat% score. Then i told him that i was on the Atkins diet, thats when he changed. Im not saying that its good or bad, but the scores are saying its healthy. Doctors seem to be stuck in the old fat bad attitude, the same as the diet industry. Lets remember that a lot of money is made by the low fat diet industry, why should their research be any more honest than Atkins?


Did he check your ketone levels as well?

I think he would have appreciated being told that you were trying the Atkins diet before he ordered specific tests, regardless of his personal opinion of its effectiveness and safety.