Atkins Diet Side Effects

Changing the way you eat can have an adverse effect on your well-being. People following the Atkins Diet may experience Atkins diet side effects.

The latest craze to hit America is the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet eliminates carbohydrates, but allows for food typically forbidden for dieters. This sudden change in eating habits can contribute to the following Atkins diet side effects.

Food Withdrawal Symptoms

According to the Atkins theory, people suffer from withdrawal symptoms from certain foods such as sugar, caffeine, and other foods that cause a change in blood sugar levels. Atkins diet side effects can include fatigue, faintness, heart palpitations, cold sweats and headaches. While these symptoms usually disappear within three days, severe occurrences suggest that the dieter go off the Atkins diet. Slowly reduce the amount of caffeine and sugar in your diet before returning to Atkins. Make sure to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration.

Halitosis (Bad Breath)

More fat is broken down in a low-carb diet because your body begins the fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This results in the release of substances known as ketones, which are lost in urine and through the breath. This scent is not pleasant, but can be controlled with breath spray or mouthwash. Drinking water also helps.


Because of the low fiber content of the Atkins diet, constipation may occur. To combat this Atkins diet side effect utilize the full amount of vegetables and salad recommended. A fiber supplement may be helpful, but avoid supplements that include sugar among the ingredients.

Leg Cramps

Fluid and minerals are lost when you start to lose weight, and this may cause leg cramps. Experts recommend taking supplements that contain potassium, magnesium and calcium to assist with leg cramps. Most multivitamins will do the trick.

Other Atkins diet side effects have been collected in studies of dieters. One hundred and eighty-eight people participated. These findings include:

  • 44% reported constipation
  • 42% reported loss of energy
  • 40% reported bad breath
  • 31% reported difficulty concentrating
  • 22% reported kidney problems: kidney stones (11%), severe kidney infections (2%), or reduced kidney function (9%)
  • 5% reported gout
  • 5% reported diabetes
  • 5% reported osteoporosis
  • 4% reported colorectal (1%) and other cancers (3%)

In addition, other problems that were reported by at least three people:

  • 11 reported irritable bowel syndrome, severe abdominal pain, or cramps (6%)
  • 9 reported pain, cramps, tingling or numbness in the limbs(5%)
  • 9 reported feeling shaky and weak (5%)
  • 9 reported vertigo, dizziness or lightheadedness(5%)
  • 7 reported severe diarrhea (4%)
  • 7 reported severe or repeated headaches (4%)
  • 5 reported severe mood swings, apathy or depression (3%)
  • 5 reported general malaise (3%)
  • 4 reported nausea (2%)
  • 4 reported severe menstrual problems (2%)
  • 3 reported heart palpitations (2%)

As this study concludes, there were quite a few adverse Atkins diet side effects. Each individual may or may not see the same results.

Changing your diet can cause your body to react in many ways, some of which may be unpleasant. Your best bet before starting any diet plan is to consult your family doctor. If you are interested in a diet plan, such as the Atkins diet, your doctor can evaluate your current health situation and recommend slight changes to your lifestyle that will make your new diet plan easier to adapt to.