The Atkins diet has helped millions of people to loose weight in a short period of time. It has been a revolution in the world of nutrition because it introduced a new approach to the way of eating and the food you have to consume during a weight-loss diet. The Atkins diet is based in a low-carbohydrate consumption that forces you to have a close control of what you eat, being proteins and fat the primary sources of food, that is why it has been -and still is- quite a controversial diet. We give you all the clues and functioning of the Atkins diet, so keep reading!
What is the Atkins diet?
The cardiologist Robert Atkins invented this low-carb diet by limiting the sugar and carbohydrates intake of his patients. He was inspired by the research of Dr. Pennington in 1963 when he was looking for a restrictive diet for himself as he was overweighted. In 1972 he published the book Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution and it became a best-seller and the diet obtained the world’s recognition. Since then the Atkins diet has developped and has made some changes in the original version.
According to Atkins, starchy carbohydrates are the cause of weight gain and that they cause the body to overproduce insuline which metabolizes blood glucose and makes people feel hungry. Although, this theory has been criticised as being an oversimplification of the metabolic processes and other nutritionits claim that carbohydrates supply energy to humans. They also criticize that the Atkins diet might cause long-term health problems because of the low fruits and vegetables consumption which brings fiber to the diet. The Atkins webpage explains the benefis of the diet and that “everyone’s metabolism can use two different types of fuel for energy – either sugar (and carbs that are quickly turned into sugar by the body), or fat”. The Atkins diet plan makes you limit carbohydrates (sugar), so the body burns fat, including body fat, for fuel.
How does the Atkins diet work?
The Atkins diet is divided in 4 phases:
Phase 1: Induction.
It’s the most restrictive phase of the Atkins diet plan, its purpose is to jumpstart the weight loss and it’s considered the key of this whole nutritional approach and the fat burning metabolism.
This phase is supposed to last a minimum of two weeks and the goal is to drop your daily net carb intake to an average of 20 grams.
During this phase you are allowed to eat: fish, meat, fowl, shellfish, eggs, fats and oils, artificial sweeteners, cheese, foundation vegetables … Find out here what specific foods are accepted. It is recommended that you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.
Phase 2: Balancing.
In this phase of the Atkins diet you start to add different foods with carbs until you are within 10 pounds of your goal weight. The goal is to find your personal carb balance and lose most of your excess weight. You have to increase you carb intake in 5 grams and start with 25 grams daily. It is called the Carb Ladder, which you have to climb gradually in order to find your carb balance. The amount of carb consumption depends on your age, gender, hormonal status, activity level. It can fluctuate between 30 to 80 daily grams of net carb.
You are now allowed to combine more foods with the one from phase 1, check out here which ones.
Phase 3: Fine-tuning.
This is the pre-maintenance of your weight in the Atkins diet and you start it once you are 10 pounds from your goal weight and you end it once you have reached your goal weight and you have been able to keep it a month. During this phase you are going to raise your daily net carb intake 10 grams and to keep introducing new carb foods, but you have to keep an eye on your weight and see if you keep losing and are capable of maintaining the your new weight.
Here you can see a list of new foods you will be able to add to your Atkins diet at this point.
Phase 4: Maintenance.
Now your goal after the Atkins diet is the lifetime maintenance of the weight you have reached. It is more a permanent lifestyle than a phase and you have to adjust your carb intake if you see any kind of weight change or carb tolerance issues. At this level you might regain weight because you have been reintroducing foods and your hunger has increased, you must know that the vigilance has to be constant. Although, you probably won’t gain all the weight you lost. Take a look at this tips to keep an Atkins lifestyle.
Take a look to one of our atkins recipes, meatloaf recipe based on Atkins diet plan, a low-carb recipe! Try it!