With the Atkins Diet you can pretty much eat all the meat you want, as long as you cut down on carbohydrates (carbs) and sugar. The Atkins Diet is called “The Miracle Method” because it helps people to lose weight very quickly. The Atkins diet, is the most well-known and marketed low-carb diet / low GI-diet.
The big difference is that the Atkins Diet doesn’t seclude “bad fat”, only “bad carbs”. Instead you can eat all the protein and fat you want and still lose weight, as long as you cut down on carbs and sugar. 50-75% of the daily energy should come from protein and fat and the rest from carbs.
Dr Robert Atkins (1930-2003), was the founder of the Atkins Diet. He was an American physician and cardiologist who suffered from being overweight. In the 1960s Dr Robert Atkins read about a diet in the Journal of the American Medical Association and got inspired and developed the Atkins diet. In 1972, after successfully treating over thousand patients, he released a book called “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution” and it became a bestseller. So what is the big success secret?
The Atkins diet focuses on reducing carbs, especially bad carbs with high GI. Dr Atkins understood that:
This means that you should cut down on carbs so your body can burn more fat. When you cut down on carbs, your body will be forced to burn more fat, since the body doesn’t have much carbs to burn. So when you cut out carbs, your body is forced to burn its stored fat in order to provide it with energy. You burn more calories when your body burns fat (compared with carbs) which means that you’ll lose weight more quickly. By cutting out carbs, blood sugar levels remain more stable throughout the day, and a more stable blood sugar level prevents overeating.
The Atkins diet consists of 4 phases. Let’s see what they are all about.
The first phase is called “Induction”. You jump-start your weight loss program and will lose up to 15 pounds in 2 weeks! You will switch you body from burning primarily carbs to burning primarily fat for energy. In the first phase carbs are restricted to no more than 20 grams per day. You remove almost everything that contains carbs from your diet: sugar, milk, fruit, pasta, rice, serials, beans, potatoes and some vegetables. The carbs you do eat comes from vegetables low in carbs but high in nutrients. You may eat 4-8 ounces of protein foods, such as beef, pork, poultry, lamb, veal, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese and vegetable proteins. You may also enjoy butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, canola oil, seed and nut oils.
In the next phase there are fewer restrictions and you may add more carbs and types of food back into your diet like nuts, seeds and berries. In phase 2 you will continue losing weight, but not as fast as during phase 1. This phase is called the “Ongoing Weight Loss” (OWL).
In phase 3 you keep adding carbs into your diet. You will keep losing weight and keep gaining control. Phase 3 of Atkins Diet is called “Pre-Maintenance”. You will have lost a lot of weight up until now, and only need to lose additional 10 pounds to reach your goal.
Phase 4 is called “Life Time Maintenance”. You have now reached your weight loss goal. You know exactly what kinds of food and how much food you can eat to keep your target weight for the rest of your life.
The Atkins Diet – especially phase 1 and 2 – is very low on vitamins and minerals. The Atkins diet is also low on fibers that help lowering the cholesterol level in your blood as well as being vital for your intestines. The brain needs the blood sugar and that is why you shouldn’t exclude carbs entirely. This is why the Journal of the American Medical Association advices that children should not to follow this diet.
The Atkins diet will help you lose weight fast, especially during phase 1. Remember that phase 1 in Atkins diet is only a part of the whole Atkins program and is a short term weight loss program that should not last for more than 2 weeks. The following phases gradually take you back to a more balanced diet that is healthier in the long run.