Enzyme Supplement Complements Atkins Diet, But Hard for EN to Digest


<IMG height=105 src=”/wp-content/uploads/newspics/basic_enzymes.gif” width=55 align=right>The Buzz. Basic Enzymes from Atkins Nutritionals is the newest addition to the famous diet doctor’s line of dietary supplements, all specifically designed for low-carbohydrate dieters.

The Basics. Basic Enzymes contains a blend of digestive enzymes, including proteases (to break down protein), lipases (for fats) and amylases (for carbohydrates). Unlike other enzyme supplements, which contain a higher percent of amylases, this product contains 45% proteases, 45% lipases and only 10% amylases to complement the Atkins diet plan of 45% protein, 45% fat and 10% carbohydrate. Basic Enzymes is available at health food stores, GNC and through the Atkins web site. It costs about $20 for a month’s supply. You take one capsule with each meal.

The Bonus. Although our bodies manufacture the enzymes needed to break down foods, proponents of such supplements claim that without additional enzymes, digestion is far from optimal. Even mainstream gastroenterologists acknowledge the possibility that enzyme supplements may be beneficial, particularly when recuperating from an intestinal virus or when taking antibiotics, though there’s no research to back this up.

The Bust. Still, EN doesn’t understand why healthy people should need supplemental enzymes on a regular basis. And we object to the Atkins diet itself, on which this product is based. Because it is high in fat (especially saturated), high in protein and low in carbohydrate, it has the potential for long-term negative health consequences. We?re also concerned that the specific sources of enzymes are not listed on the label, a potential hazard for people with allergies.

The Bottom Line. Unless you have a particular illness, such as chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis, the need for digestive enzyme supplements is debatable, although their use is probably not harmful. If you do choose to take a digestive supplement, we prefer one that complements a more healthful diet of more carbs and less protein and fat’that is, just about any digestive supplement besides Basic Enzymes.

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