You may remember your parents – or even your grandparents – trying the Atkins diet. It’s a low-carb diet that has been around since cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins created it in the 1960s and popularized it in his 1972 book, “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution. “
The diet has remained popular over the years. There are many books out there that tell you how to eat a low-carb diet and provide you with recipes. And you can purchase Atkins shakes, bars, treats, and frozen meals to help meet diet demands without over-preparing and cooking meals.
How does the Atkins diet work?
The Atkins diet squarely targets carbohydrates. It limits bread, vegetables and starchy fruits and emphasizes foods high in protein, fat, cheese, low-carb vegetables, nuts and seeds.
There are different versions of Atkins diets. You can start with a limit of 20, 40, or 100 grams of carbohydrate per day depending on your health, food preferences, and weight loss goals.
The Atkins 20 is the original Atkins diet. It’s also a ketogenic diet, at least initially. Sometimes referred to as the ketosis diet, this type of diet can help you burn fat.
With Atkins, you go through four phases:
- Phase 1: Integration. You eat 20 grams of carbohydrate per day or less for at least two weeks to speed up weight loss. Phase 1 lasts until you are within 15 pounds of your target weight.
- Phase 2: Balancing. You eat 25 grams of carbohydrate per day or less and add more carbohydrates slowly until you are within 10 pounds of your target weight. You can add nuts, seeds, strawberries, blueberries, melon, cottage cheese and yogurt.
- Phase 3: Maintenance. You adjust your carbohydrate intake until you stay at your target weight for a month. Many people end up with 80 to 100 grams of carbohydrate per day. You see how foods like starchy vegetables impact your progress.
- Phase 4: Lifetime maintenance. You maintain your weight and adjust your carbohydrate intake as your weight increases. You can add more fruits and whole grains.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, dietitian and author of “Read it before you eat it: from etiquette to the table“Said TODAY that she thinks the first three phases of the Atkins diet are too restrictive:” If you go to phase 4 you would still lose weight and be better off with such severe restrictions. in carbohydrates. “
What does research say about the Atkins diet?
Some people turn to Atkins because they are trying to figure out how to lose weight fast. And some studies have given the Atkins diet the edge in short-term weight loss. In a BMJ study, Atkins dieters lost more weight than others in the first month, but the weight loss stabilized after six months.
And an analysis of five research essays published in the Internal Medicine Archives gave low-carbohydrate diets the advantage over low-fat diets at six months, but results in both groups were comparable after 12 months.
“Weight loss on Atkins is generally seen by eating fewer calories overall, cutting out foods high in carbohydrates,” Jen Bruning, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, said TODAY.
A review of 107 articles published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that weight loss was associated with consuming fewer calories and dieting longer, not eating low-carb foods.
Is Atkins Right For You?
There are pros and cons of the Atkins diet. You may want to try the Atkins Diet if you are looking for rapid weight loss and like the structure of your carb tracking. Meat eaters have plenty of options on the Atkins Diet, but vegetarians and vegans can make it work, too.
With Atkins, eating socially can mean planning ahead. “Avoiding so many types of food can make dining out or eating with the family more difficult,” Bruning said.
On Atkins, you can eat foods high in fat. And while Atkins doesn’t focus on counting calories, it’s a misconception that you can eat as much as you want. you are not going to lose weight eat 4000 calories per day foods high in protein and fat.
What do you eat on the Atkins diet?
With Atkins 20, you’ll start by eating low-carb foods:
- Certain vegetables, called staple vegetables
- Proteins like meat, fish, seafood, and eggs
- Healthy fats
- Most cheeses
- Nuts and seeds
Over time you will add:
- Low-carb fruits
- Certain dairy products
- Starchy vegetables and fruits rich in carbohydrates
- Whole grains
By following the Atkins diet, on a typical day, you might eat:
There are plenty of packaged Atkins foods you can try, but Taub-Dix says check the ingredients. “You have to be careful what you are looking for in terms of bars and products labeled ‘Atkins Approved’. They could be highly processed and not very healthy, with a lot of artificial ingredients and sweeteners, ”she said. “Just because it doesn’t contain a lot of carbohydrates doesn’t mean it’s a healthy food. “
The Atkins diet is similar to:
- Keto diet, which generally limits carbohydrates to 50 grams per day or less
- Keto / FLEX 12/3, which combines low-carb diet and fasting
- Low-carbohydrate diets, which limit carbohydrates at different levels
- Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, which combines a reduction in carbohydrates with an increase in high-fat foods
- Paleo diet, which tends to be low-carb in practice because it emphasizes many low-carb foods
- South Beach Diet, a high protein, low carbohydrate diet with a ready meal delivery option
Is the Atkins diet effective in the long term?
May be. While some studies give Atkins the benefit of short-term weight loss, it appears to balance out with other long-term diets. Weight loss on Atkins could come from consuming fewer calories rather than consuming fewer carbohydrates.
Talk to your doctor before starting the Atkins diet or any other diet – your doctor can recommend the best diet for you, based on your health needs. “Anyone considering taking Atkins should see a doctor first,” Bruning said. “There are many conditions and medications that may not be compatible with this style of eating. “