The Atkins diet, which formally named the Atkins Nutritional Approach, is one of the most widely known low-carbohydrate1 diets. This popular eating plan was created by American cardiologist Robert Atkins in 1972. The diet places emphasis on protein and imposes severe restrictions on carbohydrates.
It consists of several stages and its main purpose is to make the dieter change his eating habits in order to help him lose weight and feel healthy.
Atkins Diet Review
The diet of Robert Atkins is based on the presumption that people having excessive weight consume too much carbohydrate. The main sources of energy in our bodies are carbohydrates and fats but carbohydrates are burned first. So, by reducing them in the organism you will force your body to use its stored fat. And when the body starts burning fat, you begin to lose weight.
The Atkins diet consists of four stages: induction (reducing consumption of carbohydrates to a minimum), ongoing weight loss (adding back some carbs), pre-maintenance (increasing the variety of foods), and lifetime maintenance (following the Atkins eating plan for life).
Atkins Diet Plan
There are four stages of the Atkins eating plan.
This is the strictest phase. You have to vastly reduce the consumption of carbs. You are allowed to eat only 20g of net carbohydrates in a day.
- Most of carbs come from different vegetables. Instead, you should focus on protein and fats (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, etc).
- You may not eat breads, pastas, most fruits, nuts, alcohol, baked goods and many other foods containing much carbohydrate.
The induction phase lasts no less than two weeks.
Ongoing Weight Loss
During this phase you can gradually add back different foods, rich in carbs.
- They are berries, some vegetables, seeds, and nuts. But you still concentrate on protein and fats.
This stage lasts until you are ten pounds from the goal weight.
You start eating fruits, whole grains, starchy vegetables and some other foods. Each week you are allowed to increase your carbs limit by 10g, but if you stop losing weight you have to cut them back.
When you reach your weight goal you still stay in the pre-maintenance stage for about a month.
You have acquired new eating habits during the previous three phases and the forth one is meant to carry them on. If you start gaining weight you must return to an earlier stage.
Atkins Diet Benefits
First of all, the Atkins diet really helps to lose weight very effectively. Its defenders also assure that this eating plan can improve or prevent many serious health problems, like diabetes, metabolic syndrome2, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, etc.
But you should understand that most reducing diets do it. When you lose excessive weight you, as a rule, always have better blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, and risk factors for many diseases are reversed.
Atkins Diet Health Risks
The Atkins diet is still highly controversial in most countries and its effects are hotly debated by dietitians, nutritionists and doctors. Many of them say that it can cause numerous health problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, fatigue, headache, bad breath, and even kidney stones or osteoporosis3.
What is more, the Atkins Nutritional Approach does not suit everyone. You cannot follow it if you have kidney disease. When you are pregnant or when you breastfeed a baby, the weight-loss stages are not suitable for you. In general, you should better consult the doctor before you go on the Atkins diet.
Atkins Diet Foods
The induction stage of the Atkins diet is the most severe phase, so we are going to tell about the foods allowed during this period.
You can eat protein foods, like meat, eggs or seafood, but you need to make sure that they have little carbohydrate. It is even more important to count carbs in the vegetables. Most cheeses, olive or canola oil, herbal teas are good for you too.
Do not forget that you need to drink much water. It is the preferred beverage for you.
Butter is acceptable but you should eat it in balance with some other fats.
Sugar should be replaced with Splenda.
What Foods Should Be Avoided?
When you follow the Atkins diet, you are not allowed to eat foods including sugars, fruits, fruit juices, grains, bread, pastries, cake, most dairy products, starchy vegetables, beans, peas, alcohol, nuts, and many other products. In fact, you have the list of the acceptable foods. If something is not on it, you may not eat it.
After the induction stage you will be able to add more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some other foods.
Atkins Diet Success Stories
When Andrea Morgan was a first-year college student, her weight increased to 255 pounds. She understood that she needed to change something in her life when she realized that she is the fattest girl in her group. Andrea gave preference to the Atkins diet because it allowed eating her favourite foods, like salads, chicken, eggs, and cheese. Of course, she had to give up eating bread, which was challenging, but she was able to manage it. By now, Andrea Morgan has lost over one hundred pounds and she is not going to rest on her laurels.
Paul Hanni was single for more than twenty years. When he met Jennifer, his soul mate, he realized that it was high time to lose weight, and he went on the Atkins diet. Very soon he understood that he had to commit himself to this way of life if he wanted to be really successful. Paul completely changed the way he ate. Now he is sure that it has saved his life. Paul has lost 180 pounds without starving or even being hungry. He feels much healthier, looks better and is confident of his happy future.
Cheri Lynn always knew she was overweight but she never thought of herself as very obese. But one day she looked through her old and new photos and realized that she had to lose much weight. Her friend Karen told her about the Atkins diet and Cheri decided to give it a try. She read the book about it and found many recipes on specialized websites. She also got acquainted with other people who were on the Atkins diet. At first, it was not easy for Cheri to follow all the instructions but she was able to do it. By now, she has lost over 130 pounds and her aim is very close.
Andrea Long had two babies in just two years and her weight went out of control. She had already been acquainted with the Atkins diet before her pregnancies and had good results with it, so she decided to try it again. It took her a bit more than one year to lose about 170 pounds and now she is very close to her goal which is 150 pounds. Andrea is really happy because she continues losing weight and at the same time she is able to eat her favourite foods. What is even more important, now she is much more confident and finally she can be who she really is.
In high school, Tim Johnston started playing football. When he was a member of the college team, he beefed up about forty pounds. Later he had several knee injuries and had to quit sport. At first, he did not pay attention to his packing on extra pounds but one day he visited his doctor and found out that he weighed over 320 pounds. Tim realized that he had to go on a diet and he chose the Atkins way. During the first two weeks of the induction period he lost eighteen pounds and after four months he lost almost one hundred pounds. Now Tim Johnston weight less than 220 pounds and is close to his goal of 210 pounds.
- Carbohydrate is an organic compound which occurs in living tissues and foods. It includes sugars, cellulose, and starch.
- Metabolic syndrome is a condition of the body associated with corpulence and increasing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones lose tissue and become fragile and brittle.