Dr. Atkins was a cardiologist. He designed a diet that aimed to reduce carbohydrate intake significantly.
The Atkins Diet has four core principles.
These state that the dieter will:
- • lose weight
- • maintain weight loss
- • achieve good health
- • lay the permanent groundwork for disease prevention
According to Dr. Atkins, the main reason for putting on weight is the consumption of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and flour.
What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins diet, or Atkins nutritional approach, focuses on controlling the levels of insulin in the body through a low-carbohydrate diet.
If people eat large amounts of refined carbohydrates, their insulin levels rise and fall quickly. Rising insulin levels trigger the body to store energy from the food that is eaten, making it less likely that the body will use stored fat as a source of energy so as a result of not using up stored fat they won’t lose fat weight.
Therefore, people on the Atkins diet avoid carbohydrates but can eat as much protein and fat as they like.
Although it was popular for some time, the Atkins Diet plan comes with certain risks which we will discuss at the bottom of this page. Individuals considering the Atkins Diet should speak with their doctor before trying it.
For every detail on the Atkins Diet plan here is book and ebook which walks you through it all step by step: The Atkins Diet book
How does the Atkins diet work?
When someone is on the dr Atkins Diet plan, their body’s metabolism switches from burning glucose, or sugar, as fuel to burning its own stored body fat. This switching is called ketosis.
When glucose levels are low, insulin levels are also low. At this point, ketosis occurs. In other words, when glucose levels are low, the body switches to using its own stores of fat as a source of energy.
Before eating, a person’s glucose levels are low, so insulin levels are also low. When a person eats, their glucose levels rise. This triggers insulin levels to rise.
The glycemic index is a scale that ranks carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, based on how quickly they increase blood sugar levels after eating, and by how much.
Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary confectionary, contain high levels of glucose. They are called high glycemic foods. The carbohydrates enter the blood rapidly, and they cause insulin levels to rise quickly.
Other types of carbohydrates, such as oats, do not affect blood glucose levels so quickly or so severely. They have a low glycemic load, and they appear lower down the glycemic index.
Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. According to Dr. Atkins, the best carbohydrates are those with a low glycemic load.
To make up for the lack of vitamin-rich foods, the diet encourages users to use vitamin and mineral supplements which you can buy from your local pharmacy.
Using the fat in the body
If there is no glucose in the body, ketosis will occur. During ketosis, the body will transfer some of the fat stores in fat cells to the blood to be used as energy.
The Atkins diet works on the basis that a diet that is low in carbohydrates. This causes the body to burn more calories than it would on other diets, because it encourages ketosis.
Dr. Atkins suggested that a person´s saturated fat intake should be kept to a maximum of 20 percent of all the calories they consume.
For people with type 2 diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, the Atkins diet claims to lower, and sometimes eliminate, the need for medications.
However, diabetes specialists warn that although watching carbohydrate and glucose intake are a vital part of diabetes care, the Atkins diet is not a simple solution for diabetes.
Benefits of the Atkins Diet
Causes Weight Loss
Unlike most weight loss diets which include counting calories and restrict portion control, the Atkins diet focuses highly on counting carbs, more specifically net carbs, which takes into account how much fiber a certain food has. Research suggests that for people who lose weight on the diet, it’s most likely due to consuming less calories overall, which is thanks to a high protein, fat and fiber intake when the diet is followed properly.
This is because of protein making you lose weight due to it making you feel more full so in turn you end up eating less.
May Help Prevent or Treat Diabetes
The Atkins diet plan replaces things like processed high-carb/sugar foods which are known for causing blood sugar swings, insulin resistance and weight gain are all also causes of diabetes, which means that removing foods like pasta, starchy vegetables, fruit and bread from your diet causes your body to release less insulin, which helps balance out blood sugar levels and burn stored fat as a result. Research has also further proven this.
Reduces Dementia Risk
Low-carb diets have also been found to be very beneficial for fighting problems in the brain, which include dementia, Alzheimer’s and narcolepsy. Researchers believe that people with the highest insulin resistance might show higher levels of inflammation and lower cerebral blood flow (which is circulation to the brain), therefore means less changes in the brain.
The Four phases of the Atkins diet
The dr Atkins diet plan has four phases:
Phase 1: Induction
Calorie consumption from carbohydrates is limited to less than 20 grams (g) each day. Carbohydrates come mainly from salad and vegetables, which are low in starch. The dieter eats high-fat, high-protein food with low-carbohydrate vegetables, such as leafy greens.
Phase 2: Balancing
Nutrient-dense and fiber rich foods are added as additional sources of carbohydrates. These include nuts, low-carb vegetables and small amounts of fruit.
These are added gradually throughout the diet process:
- • 25 grams is added during the first week of phase 2
- • 30 grams during the second week, and each subsequent week until the person stops losing weight
When the person stops losing weight, they reduce their daily intake of carbs by 5 g until they slowly start to lose weight again.
Phase 3: Fine-tuning, or pre-maintenance
Dieters increase their carbohydrate intake by 10 g each week until they begin to lose weight very slowly.
Phase 4: Lifetime maintenance
The dieter starts adding a wider range of carbohydrate sources, while carefully monitoring their weight to ensure it does not go up.
What foods to eat on the Atkins diet
Foods to eat include:
- • meats, including beef, pork, and bacon
- • fatty fish and seafood
- • eggs
- • avocados
- • low-carb vegetables, such as kale, broccoli and asparagus
- • full-fat dairy products
- • healthy fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
Suitable drinks include water, coffee, and green tea.
Snacks might include leftovers, a hard-boiled egg, Greek yogurt, or nuts.
What foods to avoid on the Atkins diet
Dieters should avoid:
- • sugar, such as soft drinks, cakes, and confectionary
- • grains including wheat, spelt, and rice
- • “diet” and “low-fat” foods, as they can be high in sugar
- • legumes, such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas
During induction, high-carb fruits, such as bananas, apples, and grapes and high-carb vegetables, such as carrots, should be avoided.
Atkins Diet sample meal plan for 1 week
For a detailed book and ebook full of menu plans like the one below and how to make them click here: The Atkins Diet cookbook
- • Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in coconut oil.
- • Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil, and a handful of nuts.
- • Dinner: Steak and veggies.
- • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
- • Lunch: Leftover chicken and veggies from the night before.
- • Dinner: Bunless cheeseburger, with vegetables and butter.
- • Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, fried in butter.
- • Lunch: Shrimp salad with some olive oil.
- • Dinner: Ground-beef stir fry, with veggies.
- • Breakfast: Eggs and veggies, fried in coconut oil.
- • Lunch: Leftover stir fry from dinner the night before.
- • Dinner: Salmon with butter and vegetables.
- • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
- • Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil and a handful of nuts.
- • Dinner: Meatballs with vegetables.
- • Breakfast: Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter.
- • Lunch: Leftover meatballs from the night before.
- • Dinner: Pork chops with vegetables.
- • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
- • Lunch: Leftover pork chops from the night before.
- • Dinner: Grilled chicken wings, with some salsa and veggies.
Does the Atkins diet work?
The dr Atkins diet plan aims to help prevent health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. However, losing weight on many diets can achieve this.
A person who continues with the Atkins diet will probably lose weight, but most people do not continue long-term.
Studies have found that most dieters are no longer following the program after 2 to 3 years.
Researchers at Stanford University found that people following the Atkins diet scored well on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight loss, compared with people on other diets.
However, more research is needed to confirm the benefit of the Atkins diet compared with other diets.
In the early phases, some people have reported effects, including:
- • headache
- • dizziness
- • weakness
- • fatigue
- • constipation
As restricting carbohydrates causes a person’s body to use up fat rather than glucose for energy, a buildup of ketones can result. This can lead to nausea, headache, mental fatigue, and bad breath.
People who use diuretics, insulin, or oral diabetes drugs should not follow the dr Atkins diet plan. It is not suitable for people with kidney disease. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not engage in this diet.
If you are still considering trying the diet here is a book and ebook which will walk you through it all to help you make up your mind: The Atkins Diet book
But remember the only person who can make change happen is you, so I highly recommend you at least try it for yourself.
Anyone who is considering a major change to their diet should always talk to a doctor first.