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What Is The Atkins Diet?

atkins dietIn 1972 the Atkins Diet was introduced by Dr. Robert Atkins who was a cardiologist. The diet came about when Mr. Atkins read about a diet in a medical journal and then he took the diet and tweaked it and tried it on himself and he lost weight and then he started using his diet to help his patients.

NOTE: Any diet that you start be sure to combine it with a regular exercise program. And be sure to take a multivitamin.

According to Mr. Atkins, he says that there are factors that contribute to our eating habits that make us fat. The real cause why we put weight on is our indulgences of carbs, sugar, corn syrup and flour. The Atkins diet is a high-protein, high-fat, and low-carb. It encourages meat, cheese, and eggs, while avoiding foods such as bread, pasta, fruit, and sugar. It is a form of ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is where the carbohydrate intake is strictly limited but the fat and protein are unlimited amounts.

When you do a low carb type diet you have to remember that the low level of carbs forces the body to use the body fat as a fuel source. The Atkins Diet does fall into most of the accepted dietary guidelines for health but for its main source of energy it relies on fats.

The plan does cut out processed or refined carbs as well as alcohol but does allow red meat. The diet wants you to steer clear of cold cut type meats that have added nitrates.

Let’s take a look the 4 phases of the Atkins Diet:

atkins mea plan

Phase 1: Induction (Jump Start Phase)

You are to cut your carb intake down to 20g per day. This is your Net Carb Intake. Net carbs refer to the amount of carbs available in a food product. The Atkins Diet prefers you don’t go below 18g of Carbs but no more than 22g of Carbs.

Interesting to note that the government guidelines for Carbs are 300g for men and 230g for women.

During this jump start phase the person will lose a lot of weight but this is to get the body to rely on fats for energy. This phase is for 2 weeks but you can go longer of you have a lot of weight to lose or want to lose extra excessive weight. During this jump start phase you need to follow the Atkins Diet menu plan and especially the consumption of protein and rich fat foods.

Phase 2: OWL (Ongoing Weight Loss)

This phase does focus on the weight loses but it helps you slowly introduce the Net Carbs back into your diet so that you don’t start gaining weight. Now the amount of carbs that Atkins Diet suggests during this phase is between 25 – 45 carbs and you do this till your weight stops going down and then you will adjust your carb intake by taking 5g of carbs away from your daily intake till you start losing weight slowly.

Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance (Fine Tuning)

You will start to increase your carb intake to 10g per week. Weight loss should be about 1 pound per week during this phase. This phase will last about 8-12 weeks. Once you’ve maintained your weight during this phase then you can move on to the next one.

Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance

In this phase you can start to use a wider range of different carbs but make sure your weight doesn’t start to go up either. During this phase of the diet you should know what carbs you can have to avoid gaining extra weight.

If your weight does increase then you need to cut back on the amount of carbs your taking in each day and any new carbs you have tried. Your carb intake should be about 40-60 grams of carbs per day. All this has to do with your age, gender and activity level to maintain your weight goal.

The 4 Principles of the Atkins Diet are:

  • Lose Weight
  • Maintain Weight Loss
  • Achieve Good Health
  • Disease Prevention

Low-carb diet people sometimes experience:

  • Lack of energy, fatigue and dizziness
  • Bad breath and a dry mouth
  • Constipation and potential bowel problems from lack of fiber
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • A high intake of saturated fats could cause an increase of heart disease.

Food List

  1. All kinds of unprocessed meat of pork, lamb, beef, venison, veal, mutton and ham and poultry of goose, turkey, pheasant, emu, ostrich, chicken, etc.

  2. All kinds of unprocessed fish and fish products such as of salmon, sardines, trout, sole, herring, catfish, snapper.
  3. Eggs of quail, chicken, goose, etc, are allowed in the form of omelet’s, poach, fry or soft-boiled.
  4. Shellfish such as of lobster, calamari, crab, oysters, shrimps, mussels, etc are permitted.
  • Fat rich butter, linseed oil, seed oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, walnut oil, soya bean oil, sesame and grape seed oil and oil extracted from sunflower are allowed
  • Dairy products goat, sheep and cow cheese, Roquefort cheese, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, mozzarella and cheddar are encouraged whereas those rich in carbohydrates such as imitation cheese, diet cheese, fresh cheese are forbidden.
  • Most Spices and Condiments such as garlic, pepper, dill, rosemary, oregano, sage. It also permits the dressing of salads with lemon juice, oil and vinegar. Soy sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup and cream is allowed except for yogurt.
  • The vegetarian Atkins diet differentiates between two kinds of vegetables, namely salad vegetables and low carb vegetables. The salad vegetables which it allows are cucumber, lettuce, alfafa sprouts, olives, radacchio, escarole, radishes, fennel, celery, arugula, jicama, daikon, chicory, etc. The other type of vegetables include cabbage, onion, spinach, chard, turnips, tomato, zucchini, cauliflower, brussels, broccoli, eggplant, rhubarb, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, summer squash, avocado, artichokes, asparagus, etc. However those rich in starch or carbohydrates such as potatoes, green peas, corn and white rice are forbidden.
  • Beverages such as herbal tea, lemon juice, cream, bouillons, club soda are permitted. But coffee and tea should not contain caffeine or sugar in any form.
  • Artificial Sweeteners which act as substitutes of sugar such as sucralose, saccharine, acesulfam potassium, aspartame, etc fall within the prescribed limits. Natural sweeteners such as maltose, fructose, dextrose as well as the consumption of honey or corn syrup should be avoided.

Any diet program that you follow if affective has long as you follow their guidelines..

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Written by
Albert Wolfgang is a professional medical writer with over 20 years of experience. He hold multiple personal training certifications, including the coveted NASM and AFAA certificates. He graduated with honors with a B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry with a minor in physical studies. Albert and his team have trained over 100 IFBB professional bodybuilders, including Hollywood stars and many up and coming fitness stars.

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