Originally popularized by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, the Atkins diet has become well-known throughout the world, with proponents claiming that the diet helps with both weight control and overall health.
What is the Atkins diet?
The Atkins diet plan has evolved slightly over the last few decades, but the basic idea of the diet has stayed consistent: it restricts carbs while encouraging the consumption of protein and.
There are a few key differences between the original Atkins diet and the more current variations of the diet plan. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, there are now a few ways to customize the diet according to your current weight and goals:
- Atkins 20: 20 grams of carbs are consumed in a day; good for people with diabetes or those looking to lose 40 pounds or more.
- Atkins 40: 40 grams of carbs are consumed in a day; good for those looking to lose less than 40 pounds.
- Atkins 100: 100 grams of carbs are consumed in a day; good for those looking to maintain their present weight.
The Atkins diet can be difficult to follow for an extended period of time, so even if you lose a lot of weight on this plan, it can be easy to regain the weight once you stop.
How does the Atkins diet work?
The Atkins diet focuses on restricting carbohydrates from bread, starchy vegetables, whereas high-protein foods, nuts, and seeds are encouraged. The Atkins diet works in four phases:
Phase 1: Induction
To kickstart weight reduction, you eat 20 grams of carbohydrates or less a day for at least 2 weeks. Phase I lasts until you are 15 pounds away from your ideal weight.
Your body will be forced into ketogenic metabolism, where your body burns fat for energy due to the absence of carbohydrates. During this phase, you will mostly consume protein, fats, and low-carb vegetables, such as leafy greens.
Phase 2: Balancing
You start eating 25 grams or fewer carbohydrates per day and gradually increase your carbohydrate intake until you are within 10 pounds of your target weight. Nuts, seeds, strawberries, blueberries, melon, cottage cheese, and yogurt can be consumed. If you aim to lose 14 pounds or fewer, you can skip the restricting first phase and begin here.
Phase 3: Fine-tuning
You adjust your carbohydrate consumption until you maintain your target weight for a month. Many people wind up consuming 80-100 grams of carbohydrates each day. This phase has fewer dietary restrictions and allows you to begin eating beans, starchy vegetables, and grains. You can slowly assess how you react to certain carbs.
During this phase, it is important to make sure you are staying on track with your desired weight. If your weight reduction plateaus, reduce your carbohydrate consumption again.
Phase 4: Maintenance
The goal of the last phase is to keep your weight stable. It is all about having minimal restrictions yet maintaining healthy choices. You can increase your intake of carbs and adjust accordingly if you start to regain some weight.
What foods are allowed in the Atkins diet?
Examples of foods are allowed on the Atkins diet include the following:
During phase 1
- Protein: Eggs, poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose, quail, pheasant), read meat (beef, pork, ham, bacon, lamb, venison), seafood (tuna, salmon, catfish, trout, flounder, oysters, shrimp, crab, clams)
- Fats: Plant-based cooking oils, such as vegetable, safflower, sunflower, sesame seed, canola, and olive oil
- Dairy: Milk and yogurt are not permitted during phase I, but full-fat cream, cheese, sour cream and butter are allowed.
- Vegetables: Bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, radicchio, lettuce, spinach
During phase 2
During this phase, you can gradually increase the number of foods to include in your diet, especially carbohydrates. Most dieters increase their carbohydrate intake by 5 grams each week. In phase II, all phase I foods are permitted. Furthermore, the following items are reintroduced into the diet:
- Starchy vegetables
During phases 3 and 4
In these two phases of the Atkins diet, you may continue to increase carbohydrates if you can maintain a healthy weight. All foods from previous phases are permitted.
What are the pros and cons of the Atkins diet?
- Can help manage blood sugar and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels
- High protein and fat content keeps you feeling full for longer
- Allows you to follow the diet in progressive phases
- May have lasting benefits on your health if it helps you change your eating habits in the long term
- Lack of fiber in the diet can cause constipation and dehydration
- May cause headaches and fatigue in the early phases due to reduced sugar intake
- May be hard to sustain and does not address behaviors that may be causing you to gain weight in the first place
- Can be easy to regain the lost weight once you return to previous eating habits
If you decide to follow the Atkins diet, be picky about what you consume and make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that most people can lose weight on practically any calorie-restricted diet, at least in the short term. Studies on long-term results, however, suggest that low-carb diets are no more successful for weight reduction than other weight-loss programs.
Latest Diet & Weight Management News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Science Direct. Atkins Diet. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/atkins-diet
Cleveland Clinic. What Is the Atkins Diet, and Is It Healthy? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-the-atkins-diet-and-is-it-healthy/
Fields L. Atkins Diet Plan Review. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/atkins-diet-what-it-is
Top The Atkins Diet: Everything You Need to Know Related Articles
Diabetes: Low-Carb Choices for Fast FoodLow carb and fast food don't often go together. Here's how to spot unhealthy carbs and make better choices from the menu.
Beat Belly FatCould your job be to blame for your belly fat? It might be, if it stresses you out. But there are a number of ways to get rid of it.
High Protein Diets: Good or Bad?Can a high protein diet help you lose weight fast and help you feel full? High-protein diets are popular, but is there a down side to high protein foods?
How Do You Stop Bad Breath on a Low-Carb Diet?Bad breath caused by a low-carb diet is called keto breath or ketosis breath. Keto breath typically has a fruity odor or an aroma reminiscent to nail polish remover.
Low-Carb SnacksInterested in low-carb snacking? Here are some ideas about smart snacks that are filling and low in carbohydrates.
The 10 Best Diet Plans For Weight LossDiet means a reduction in calorie intake. For the optimal management of overweight and obese patients, a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioral modifications may be helpful. Weight loss is directly related to the difference between the individual’s energy intake and energy expenditure.
What Are the 7 Things You Need for a Balanced Diet?There are seven essential factors for a balanced diet. They are carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water.
What Is the Number One Diet?As per recent survey and analysis, research has confirmed that Mediterranean diet is the number one diet. As per research, people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and are at low risk of cancer or cardiovascular ailments than other people.
Why Is the Atkins Diet Bad for You?Atkins diet is a popular low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss but it may not be good for your heart.