The Atkins Diet was actually made possible because of Robert Atkins who came up with the idea after reading a research paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association to resolve his own weight problem. The Atkins Diet is officially known as the Atkins Nutritional Approach which involves a low carb diet. The diet became popular by writing the methods in a series of books which were the Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution in 1972 and the Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution where the original concept was there but there were parts modified.
What is the Atkins Diet about?
The Atkins Diet involves 4 phases and at the start of the diet all carbs are removed from the meals of the dieter because Robert Atkins believes that over-consumption of carbs causes weight gain. He also believes that most of the people who are overweight happen to have a problem with their bodies converting carbs to glucose (insulin resistant) and with this he thinks that strict carb restriction could resolve this.
A dieter on this diet will have to closely monitor and control one’s carb intake. There will be certain types of foods that will be allowed and restricted throughout the diet especially “bad” carbs which are usually in the form of processed, pre-packed foods and junk foods. When the body does not receive any carbs at all it goes through ketosis and burns the stored fat of the body eventually causing weight loss.
Goal of Atkins Diet
The main goal of the Atkins Diet is to change the metabolism of the dieter and eventually lose weight easily by means of eating high protein foods and limiting the intake of carbs as it is believed to raise blood sugar levels.
How does the Atkins Diet work?
As mentioned earlier the Atkins Diet sticks to the concept of ketosis wherein the body’s excess, stored body fat is being burned in order for weight loss to happen. The daily intake of carbs in the diet should only be 15 to 60 grams and dieters are encouraged to take in foods high in protein and fat instead.
In order for ketosis to occur, the intake of carbs should only be 40 grams per day because once fat is broken down the formation of ketones occur and appetite is naturally suppressed. The Atkins Diet involves 4 phases and they are as follows:
Phase 1: Induction
This is during the first 14 days (2 weeks) of the weight loss program. During which, the goal of the dieter here is to avoid the bad carbs in order for ketosis to happen. This is also the part of the program where the dieter loses weight the fastest. There is a limit of 20 grams of carbs per day and vitamin supplements will be recommended.
Phase 2: Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL)
After Induction, OWL is followed where the dieter may increase carb intake depending on the person but still making sure that there is ketosis happening. In order to monitor ketosis, a dieter may buy Ketostix (litmus-type strips that change color between pink or purple to tell if you are in ketosis or not and they can be bought at drugstores) if you happen to be not in the state of ketosis then you may have to lower your carb intake.
Phase 3: Pre-maintenance
Once the dieter reaches within 10 lbs. of their goal weight, then the Pre-maintenance phase is introduced. This is the part where you can gradually increase the intake of carbs until you no longer lose weight anymore. The goal here is to reach a certain level of carbs as you reach for your goal weight. This is also where you get to find what your ideal carb intake is.
Phase 4: Maintenance
This is going to be something that the dieter will be using for the rest of his/her life. Your ideal carb intake which you have found out during the pre-maintenance phase is what you will be following. You should also be responsible for monitoring your weight because our bodies change within the course of time and the tolerance of carb intake may also change which can either cause weight gain or loss.
If you are losing weight, you have the option of increasing your carb intake but if you gain weight to as close as 5 lbs. or more of your ideal weight then you can start over with the Induction Phase.
How long should it take to follow Atkins Diet?
During the Induction Phase, a dieter rapidly loses weight within 2 weeks and for the Ongoing Weight Loss Phase, a dieter may lose a pound or two in a week’s time. There’s really no exact timetable but by the time you reach your ideal weight or you are 10 lbs. or less away from it then you will slowly be in the Pre-maintenance Phase until you are at the lifetime Maintenance Phase of the Atkins Diet.
- Promotes weight rapidly
- Allows dieters to eat foods rich in protein and fat
- Has been proven and tested as it has been around for years
- There are already numerous restaurants that have low carb meals in their menu
- Not as costly and demanding in time compared to other diets
- Can be very restrictive especially when it comes to carbs
- Allows dieters to take on a diet high in saturated fats
- Can cause bad breath because of ketosis
- Dieters may experience nausea and headache during the initial phase
- Gives no option for vegetarians
- Low on fiber and other essential nutrients and vitamins
Celebrities who have used Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet has been so popular even among the popular people. Hollywood personalities such as actress Catherine Zeta-Jones who said that she was able to lose as much as 8lbs. in just a week’s time while other celebs include Jennifer Aniston, Minnie Driver, singer Geri Halliwell, Renee Zellweger, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Robbie Williams and Kiefer Sutherland.
How many people have used Atkins Diet and benefited from it?
It is said that a few years back, around 11% of the world’s population were on the Atkins Diet but recently only 1% are on it. But who knows over time it’s popularity will increase again because weight loss is about lowering calories which we can mainly get from macronutrients which are carbs and proteins so either of the two will be affected in weight loss programs.
The main concept behind the Atkins Diet is lowering the carb by use of the four phases involved in its weight loss program. The diet faces a growing concern from health experts because of its rich fat content but even so it has been proven to work for shedding off weight but the long-term effects of the diet should still be looked at. So before you decide on choosing this diet, be sure to consult your physician if your body can tolerate the extreme low carb intake that the Atkins Diet requires.