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Dr. Terry Simpson

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Gain weight even though you are on Weight Watchers or the Atkins diet?  Can it be true?  Well, we're here to tell you that you can gain weight despite the fact you're following diets such as Atkins.  We will always tell you that there are no bad foods, just bad quantities of food (although some foods are healthier for you).

A number of my patients, when deciding to get to their weight loss goal, ask...




...“Should I go back on Atkins or go to Weight- Watchers?”  The answer is no, and the reason is simple: Those are diets, not lifestyle changes.  Sure, some of those do proclaim that they offer changes in lifestyle, in their own way, but they are really a diet.  If diets worked, would we need weight loss surgery?  Ask the famous question, “How does that work for ya?”

Diets are a set of rules imposed on you by someone else

How do you respond to someone telling you what to do?  I was in a restaurant a number of years ago while on the Atkins diet when they offered me some of their fresh bread.  My response was, “No thanks, I am on Atkins.”  It felt good to say that because I was following a rule-bound diet and doing a good job—but I missed the bread.  I was following someone else’s rule for a diet that makes no sense.  It is far better to adopt a healthy lifestyle with healthy choices.  Those choices are not strange, they are simple.

The Atkins diet - the one food or one food group diet

The most famous diet, at least today, is the Atkins diet.  It has been almost universally tried by all of my patients and misunderstood, perhaps even by the Atkins folks themselves.  Robert Atkins made a great deal out of the body going into “ketosis” where it burns fat instead of turning food into fat.  He had a complicated set of theories.  None was ever proven, in fact, the reason you lose weight on that, or any low carbohydrate diet is fairly simple: you eat less.  The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that the average consumption of calories in low-carbohydrate diets is much less than other diets, and hence they are successful at losing the weight.

I gained weight on the Atkins diet —or, biology does not overcome the laws of physics

How can you gain weight on a diet that promises that you will lose weight if you avoid carbohydrates and eat meat?  Because if you eat enough calories you will gain weight.  Meat—or protein—contains calories, and your body is perfect at counting calories.  Your body doesn’t care where the calorie come from, it will count every calorie even better than you will, and if you eat enough protein or fat, or drink enough alcohol, or eat enough carbohydrates, you will gain weight.

Most weight loss surgery patients have been on this diet or a variation of it...

...and they know—given their pre-operative anatomy—that they really did gain weight on a diet, without cheating.  After all, when you have a stomach that can hold a small mammal, you know you can eat your way into ketosis and weight gain on the Atkins diet.  Simply put, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.  It doesn’t matter if you get the calorie from meat, from figs, from bread, or from alcohol.  If you get a bunch of calories together you will store them, and if you store them, you will store them as fat.  Eat enough steak and you will gain weight.



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