Whether you want to lose weight or gain muscles, you will find different diets dedicated to specific needs. One such diet is the Atkins diet that is designed to help you lose weight.
But, is it effective and healthy? Let’s know more about the Atkins diet and how it works.
What is The Atkins Diet?
This is a type of low-carb diet that works by reducing carbs and forcing your body to use the stored fat.
Low-carb diets can be effective in weight loss. Plus, they are also said to be beneficial for your health.
Originally introduced in 1972 by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, the diet recommends to consume as much fat and protein as you’d like but avoiding foods that contain carbs.
This diet claims that you cannot lose weight without reducing carbs. While the overall opinion appears to be divided, a large number of experts agree that the Atkins diet can speed up the weight loss process.
Atkins Diet: The Principles
The diet is based on four principles that state the dieter will be able to:
- Achieve weight loss results
- Maintain weight loss results
- Achieve good health
- Prevent diseases in the long-run
According to Dr. Atkins, you will achieve results in four phases:
The first stage involves reducing carb consumption to less than 20 grams per day. The phase continues for two weeks. The dieter is asked to consume foods that are high in fat and protein but low in carbs.
During this phase, the dieter’s advised to add fiber rich and nutrient-dense foods to the diet. Hence, more vegetables and some fruits can be added to the diet.
- You can add 25 grams of carbs in the first week of this new phase
- Once you enter the second week, you can add 30 grams more carbs to your diet. The cycle will continue until you stop losing weight
Once you reach a point where you don’t lose weight anymore, it is time to start reducing your carb intake by 5 grams per week until you once again begin to lose weight.
3) Fine Tuning
You will once again reach a point where you stop losing weight. Once it happens, it’s time to start adding carbs to your diet. Start by adding 10 grams of more carbs to your diet every week until you begin to lose weight one more time.
4) Lifetime Maintenance
At this stage, you can consume more carb-rich foods for as long as they do not cause you to gain weight. The permitted amount, however, is 100 grams per day.
It can be quite complicated to understand these phases, especially because they work differently for different people. This is also why it can be difficult to create an Atkins diet plan. It is best that you study about foods that contain carbs so that you can keep an eye on your carb consumption.
Foods That Are Rich in Carbs
Here are some carb-rich foods:
- Some vegetable oils such as canola oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, and soybean oil
- Most fruits including bananas, dates, raisins, pears, and mangoes
- Foods that contain sugar, including candy, ice cream, cakes, and fruit juices
- Most starchy vegetables including beets, sweet potato, potato, and corn
- Grains such as rice, barley, rye, and wheat
- Legumes including beans, lentils, and chickpeas
Foods That Are Low in Carbs
Here are some foods that you can eat on the Atkins diet:
- Meats including bacon, chicken, lamb, pork, and beef
- Seafood including sardines, trout, and salmon
- Vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and kale
- Dairy items such as full-fat yogurt, cheese, butter, and cream
- Nuts and seeds including sunflower seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds
- Oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil
- Green tea and coffee but without sugar
Atkins vs Keto: What’s the Difference
People often get confused between these two diets as they both involve carbs consumption. While they may appear similar, the two diets largely differ:
- We have already defined the Atkins diet above. It triggers weight loss by reducing carbs intake
- The keto diet was originally used to treat children who experienced seizures.1) However, researchers soon found out that it can benefit people with weight issues and hence the keto diet was born.2) The goal of this diet is to put you in a state of ketosis, in which your body begins to use stored carbs as a form of energy, and you start to lose weight
Here are some similarities and differences between the two:
They both help you lose weight by controlling the consumption of carbs. Technically speaking, the similarities end here.
The keto diet requires you to be in a state of ketosis by limiting your carb intake. On the other hand, the Atkins diet allows you to gradually increase your carb intake.
You can eat a wider variety of foods in Atkins due to the flexibility in carb intake. On the other hand, the keto diet can be very restrictive, which is also why it is said to be more difficult to follow than the Atkins diet.
What Are The Benefits of the Atkins Diet?
It can help you:
- Lose Weight:
It is very well known that low-carb diets can help reduce weight, as found in one study.3) In fact, a team of experts named Atkins in the list of seven diets that can result in weight loss. It may, however, take a few months for results to show.
- Keep Blood Sugar Level Under Control:
The American Diabetes Association recently made changes to the Standards of Medical Care to add low-carb diets as an effective way to control type II diabetes.4)
Such diets can reduce the need for diabetes medications and also reduce the levels of hemoglobin A1c.5)
- Improved Heart Health:
Low-carb diets are linked to a healthy heart. They are effective in increasing good cholesterol, which strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of cardiac issues.
In fact, a study found that the Atkins diet can be more beneficial for the heart than low-fat diets.6)
The Atkins Diet – Three Day Meal Plan
- Day 1: Eggs with vegetables fried in low-carb oil such as coconut oil
- Day 2: Pork chops with low-carb veggies
- Day 3: Grilled chicken wings with low-carb veggies
- Day 1: Chicken salad with extra virgin olive oil with some nuts
- Day 2: Omelet with low-carb vegetables, fried in low-carb oil or butter
- Day 3: Meatballs with low-carb vegetables
- Day 1: Steak with boiled low-carb veggies
- Day 2: Bunless cheeseburger, with butter and low-carb vegetables
- Day 3: Eggs with bacon
The Atkins diet can be quite effective in weight loss. However, it can lead to constipation, fatigue, weakness, and headaches in some people. Experts believe that your body can take a while to get used to a new diet.
You can try this diet if you are eager to lose weight and enjoy other health benefits.
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