The Atkins Diet is known worldwide and is based upon a low carbohydrate diet with a relatively high protein nutritional count. Invented by Robert Atkins, it is intended to to transform your metabolism from one that stores fat, into one that burns fat, with a resultant loss of fat all over the body.
When asked ‘what is the Atkins Diet’, the simple answer is a ‘fat burning’ diet. Which normalises the insulin levels in your body and consequently, reduces the fat cells that cause weight gain and fat deposits.
How does the Atkins Diet Work?
The Diet Plan has 3/4 phases :
- The First Phase – Kick Start/Induction (no less than 2 weeks in this stage)
- Second Phase– Balancing
- Third Phase – Maintenance/ Fine-tuning
The first phase of the diet is a foundation programme, consisting of low-carb vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Certain types of hard cheeses are also permitted. Some food examples during the Atkins Diet Induction Phase are:
The Diet Food List – Phase 1
Fish and seafood, such as tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, trout
All meats that are not cured with sugar, Bacon, beef, ham, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, duck, turkey
Seafood, such as crab, squid, oysters, shrimp or prawns
Vegetables such as spinach, greens, sprouts, endive, fennel, lettuce, peppers
Other vegetables are allowed, as long as your intake is less than 15g of net carbs per day. A full list of vegetables and their carb intake is available on the internet.
Eggs – most forms of eggs are allowable.
Hard cheeses – parmesan, cheddar, gouda etc., but these all carry carbs, so check the lists available before consuming too much cheese!
You can be reasonably creative during Atkins Diet Phase 1, using herbs and spices, oils and dressings. As long as you check the net carb values, and avoid any dressings etc that contain sugar.
It is important to remember that the Atkins Diet Breakfast should be a major part of your day. This should be relatively high in protein intake, and include 115-175g of protein intake, which can be taken from meat, fish, eggs, cheese. A very important rule of the Atkins Diet.
Phase 2, opens up your choices of food intake. A complete list of foods is available on their website, but during Phase 2 you are allowed to up your carb intake and include fruits such as berries and melon. This phase is all about finding your tolerable carbs level and understanding your body, and its metabolic rate.
Phase 3 and onwards is about continued maintenance and fine tuning. If you have been steadily losing weight, then you can move on to Phase 3. However, if your weight loss has stalled, it could be you have not been balancing the food intake correctly. Or that you have not managed to level your blood sugar and insulin levels. It is recommended that you don’t pass on to another phase until the time is right.
Probably the most tricky part is actually starting the Atkins Diet Induction Phase or kick start, purely because you have to retrain your thinking in terms of food. Do not cheat, even a little, during the Atkins Diet Phase 1 or 2, and certainly no alcohol in the early stages! Visit the website, which gives you detailed food lists and Atkins Diet Information to guide you through any tempting times.
Does the Atkins Diet Work?
Yes, the Atkins Diet does work, as it is based on scientific fact, not fad. There is a foundation of logic to this diet. There are many Atkins Diet Success Stories available on the Atkins site, and other independent Atkins diet reviews. The success of the diet is entirely up to the individual and their body mechanics, so an element of trial and error through the phases will obviously occur. To summarise, Atkins diet results will depend on your full participation and diligence.
Health professionals are frequently asked questions about the Atkins Diet – is it safe? Does the Atkins Diet have side effects? Does the Atkins Diet have pros and cons, and what should I look for?
Pros And Cons of the Diet
Like any other diet, there are pros and cons, as well as side effects. Scientific reports have mixed reviews and whilst the safety of the diet does not seem to be an issue, the validity of it does. Very few people stay on this diet long enough to incur astounding weight loss, so the results are very difficult to monitor.
In terms of side effects, a medium amount of people suffer side effects in the initial phase, such as headaches, light-headedness, fatigue etc. Whilst others report that after a few days they feel much better in themselves. Like any diet, the initial stages will be difficult as you are making radical changes to your body and metabolism through what you eat.
Can Anyone Partake in the Atkins Diet Plan?
The most important factor of any diet is that you should be in reasonable health before embarking on changes to your food intake. It is always best without doubt, to consult your doctor or medical professional before making such changes. Whether this diet is healthy or not is debatable, as every individual is different.
Caution should be adhered to if you have any illnesses, such as diabetes. A normal low carb diet is certainly recommended by doctors as integral in controlling diabetes. However, every individual is different and perhaps something as stringent as the Atkins Diet may not be for you. Both UK and US medical boards are in limbo regarding this Diet and diabetes, its effectiveness and safety.
Once you have decided, with professional advice, that the Atkins Diet is safe for you to try, the relevant Information, both from their own site and independent sites, is readily available, or you can always purchase a copy of the book.