Calcium and the Atkins Diet

Where calcium and the Atkins diet are concerned, two factors may lead you to add supplements to your diet:  ketosis and the potential for lowered calcium intake.  However, you need to understand that through proper reintegration of beneficial carbs into your diet after Induction, those on the Atkins diet do not necessarily need calcium.  It is important to be aware of how the Atkins diet affects your body so that you can maximize its benefits while taking step to prevent any unintended side effects. 

The Atkins diet causes more acid to be required because it is needed to help metabolize your fat stores during the process of ketosis.  Those on the Atkins diet lose calcium because the additional acid caused by the low-carb diet leaches it from the bones when you donâ??t enough in your blood.  A low-carb diet will cause increased acidity in urine.  Calcium helps neutralize the increased acidity.  Unfortunately, at the same time your body needs more calcium the period of Induction does not allow milk or yogurtâ??two prime sources of this vital mineral.

For the first month or two of the Atkins diet, it may be a good idea to take a calcium supplement.  It is possible for you to replace the lost calcium from milk and yogurtâ??especially after Induction and you are able to start adding back carbohydrates into your diet.  Now at this point you need to remember why you started the Atkins diet in the first placeâ??to start living and feeling better.  Donâ??t be tempted to add back in pastas, breads, or even potatoes. 

Instead of adding back in â??sinfulâ? carbs and risking a lower level of weight loss in the Ongoing Weight Loss phase, focus on beneficial carbohydrates.  Green leafy vegetables are low in carbs, have dietary fiber, rich in antioxidants, and good sources of calcium.  Here are some to consider adding in after Induction:  arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelions, mustard greens and spinach.

The Atkins diet may induce a high rate of ketosis in the beginning, but this rate will decrease as time progresses.  Therefore, your calcium depletion will slow and the introduction of green leafy vegetables to your diet will compensate for the calcium lost by staying away from milk and yogurt. 

As for the critics who contend that the Atkins diet leads to increased risk of osteoporosisâ??the fact is that calcium depletion is a fact of life.  Once we reach our 30â??s, bone loss is inevitable because the regenerative processes in our bones slow downâ??no matter how much calcium we have in our diet.  Will calcium shortages in our diet lead to increased bone loss?  Yes, but the calcium lost due to ketosis and staying away from milk and yogurt can be compensated with supplements at first, and by wisely choosing which carbohydrates to reintroduce into your diet. 

One Response to “Calcium and the Atkins Diet”

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