The Atkins diet plan – effective for weight loss
Hi everyone, I’m here again to discuss another diet plan. The Atkins diet promoted by the physician Dr. Robert C, Atkins, who wrote a best-selling book about in 1972. Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose weight while eating as much protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid foods in high carbs. Low-carb diets without the need for calorie counting are effective for weight loss and can lead to various health improvements.
The Atkins diet is split into 4 different phases; Phases 1 Introduction, Phase 2 Balancing, Phase 3 Fine-tuning, and Phase 4 Maintenance. The main dietary focus is eating the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats optimal for weight loss and health. The Atkins diet is great for health and will help you avoid type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as the diet avoids the typical low-fat, high-carbohydrate American diet. The Atkins diet says that you don’t need to avoid fatty cuts of meat or trim excess fat. Rather, controlling carbs is what’s important.
The Atkins diet doesn’t require calorie counting or portion control. It does require you track your carbs, though. It uses a system called net carbs, which is total carbohydrate content of an item minus it’s fiber content. For example, a half-cup (4 ounces) of raw broccoli has 2.3 grams of total carbs and 1.3 grams of fiber, putting its net carb value at 1 gram.
The Atkins diet says its approach to carbs will burn off your body fat stores, regulate your blood sugar and help you achieve optimal health, while not leaving you feeling hungry or deprived. Once you’re at your goal weight, the Atkins diet also says it will help you identify your personal carbohydrate tolerance – the number of grams of net carbs you can eat each day without gaining or losing weight.
Exercise isn’t vital for weight loss. However, it acknowledges that exercise can help maintain your weight, as well as offer health benefits. Exercising is always beneficial to your health and if you can add exercise and fitness to the Atkins diet plan you will reach your weight loss goals quicker and be more successful in maintaining your healthy weight.
The Atkins diet says that its eating plan can prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
And most weight-loss diets – not just low-carb diets – may improve blood sugar levels, at least temporarily. People who followed the Atkins diet had better heart health.
Risks: The Atkins diet acknowledges that drastically cutting carbs in the early phase of the program can result in some side effects, including:
In addition, some very low carb diets restrict carbohydrates so much that they result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber, which can cause such health problems as constipation, diarrhea and nausea. It’s also possible that restricting carbohydrates to less than 20 grams a day – the level recommended for phase 1 of the diet – can result in ketosis. Ketosis occurs when you don’t have enough sugar ( glucose) for energy, so your body breaks down stored fat, causing ketones to build up in your body. Side effects from ketosis can include nausea, headache, mental fatigue and bad breath.
In addition, the Atkins diet isn’t appropriate for everyone, for example, the Atkins diet recommends that you consult your doctor before starting the diet if you take diuretics, insulin or oral diabetes medications. People with severe kidney disease should not follow the diet, and the weight-loss phases of the diet aren’t suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Four Phases
- Phase 1 (introduction): Under 20 grams of carbs per day for 2 weeks. Eat high-fat, high-protein, with low-carb vegetables like leafy greens. This kick-starts the weight loss.
- Phase 2 (balancing): Slowly add more nuts, low-carb vegetables and small amount of fruit back to your diet.
- Phase 3 (fine-tuning): When you’re very close to your goal weight, add more carbs to your diet until weight loss slow down.
- Phase 4 (maintenance): Here you can eat as many healthy carbs as body can tolerate without regaining weight.
Foods to Eat
- Meats: Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, bacon and others.
- Fatty fish and seafood: Salmon, trout, sardines, etc.
- Eggs: the healthiest eggs are omega-3 enriched or pastured.
- Low-carb vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and others.
- Full-fat dairy: Butter, cheese, cream, full-fat yogurt.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil.
As long as you base your meals around a fatty protein source with vegetables or nuts and some healthy fats, you will lose weight. It’s that simple.
- Water: As always, water should be your go-to beverage.
- Coffee: Coffee is high in antioxidants and quite healthy
- Green tea: A very healthy beverage
Foods to Avoid
- Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, candy, ice cream etc.
- Grains: Wheat, spelt, rye, barley, rice.
- Vegetable oils: Soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil and a few others.
- Trans fats: Usually found in processed foods with the word “hydrogenated” on the ingredients list.
- Diet and low-fat foods: These are usually very high in sugar.
- High-carb vegetables: Carrots, turnips, etc (induction only).
- High-carb fruits: Bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes (induction only).
- Starches: Potatoes, sweet potatoes (induction only)
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc. (induction only).
Atkins Diet Menu (1day)
Here’s a look at what you might eat during a typical day on phase 1 if the Atkins Diet:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese. Acceptable beverages include coffee, tea, water, diet soda and herbal tea.
- Lunch: Chef salad with chicken, bacon and avocado dressing, along with an allowable beverage.
- Dinner: Baked salmon steak, asparagus, and arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, along with an allowable beverage.
- Snacks: You typically can have two snacks a day. Snacks may include an Atkins diet product, such as chocolate shake or granola bar, or a simple snack such as celery and cheddar cheese.
The Atkins diet says that you can lose 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) in the first 2 weeks of phase 1 – but it also acknowledges that you may initially lose water weight. It says that you’ll continue to lose weight in phase 2 and 3 as long as you don’t eat more carbs than your body can tolerate.
Most people can lose weight on any diet plan that restricts calories – at least in the short term. Over the long term, though, studies show that low carb diets like the Atkins diet are no more effective for weight-loss than a standard weight-loss diet and that most people regain the weight they lost regardless of the diet plan.
The main reason for weight loss on the Atkins diet is lower overall calorie intake from eating fewer carbs. You may shed pounds following the Atkins diet because your food choices are limited, and you eat less since the extra protein and fat keep you feeling fuller for longer. Both of these contribute to lower overall calorie intake.
The Atkins diet has proven to be a great diet plan for weight loss. Phase 1 alone may help you shed 15 pounds. A very healthy diet, low in fat, low in calories, and high in nutrition. The Atkins diet is a safe diet with very little risks, with majority of the risks only at the beginning of the diet as you adjust to the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet can suit most people, especially those who need structure in their diet, limiting starchy, sugary carbs will help cut calories and allow for weight loss. And focusing on proteins and fats that are plant-based is the healthy and smart thing to do. I would recommend this diet for weight loss because of all the health benefits associated with the Atkins diet. For those people with ailing health conditions I would recommend consulting your doctor before participating in the Atkins Diet.
If you are currently on the Atkins diet, please leave a comment below and tell me your experiences on the Atkins diet. Or if you have a question please leave a comment. Thank you.
Shawn founder of Weight Loss Pro