If you’re hoping to drop a dress size and you’ve done your research, chances are you’ve come across the Atkins Diet. First promoted in the 1960s by a cardiologist Robert C Atkins, the Atkins diet is about moving away from carbohydrates in favor of protein and fat to facilitate rapid weight loss.
As a restrictive diet, it has been criticized by experts warning that it is not sustainable and can be dangerous if used as a long-term solution, but several studies have also shown that the Atkins diet improves control. blood sugar and lowers cholesterol, so the jury is currently absent.
We talk to a dietitian and nutritionist Susie burrell about what the Atkins diet is, how it works to help you lose weight and the potential risks:
What is the Atkins diet?
The Atkins Diet is a low carbohydrate, high protein diet designed for dramatic weight loss. The diet consists of four different phases: induction, balancing, tune-up and maintenance.
Most people follow the Atkins diet for weight loss. However, the diet is also touted as a lifelong eating approach that can help maintain weight loss, increase energy levels, and reduce the risk of certain health issues, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Atkins diet vs. keto diet
In recent years, the ketogenic diet, or keto diet, has grown in popularity. Both Keto and Atkins are low carb diets and can be used for weight loss, blood sugar control, and heart health. However, there are two key differences between the two diets:
The keto diet
the keto diet is 70-80% fat, which makes it less high in protein than the Atkins diet.
The Atkins diet
On the Atkins diet, you slowly increase your carb intake, unlike the keto diet, which stays very low in carbs to keep your body in a state of ketosis so that it burns ketones for energy.
The phases of the Atkins diet
The Atkins Diet is divided into four different phases to help you reintroduce carbohydrates until you find the right “carbohydrate balance” to help you maintain your ideal weight.
However, this approach is not mandatory and depending on your goals, you can start in one of the first three phases. Below is a guide to the four phases:
Phase 1 – Integration
- Eat only 20 grams of carbohydrates per day (12-15 grams of cooked vegetables and salad)
- At least 115 to 175 grams of high-protein foods for each meal (up to 225 g for taller men)
Phase 2 – Continuous weight loss
- Add nuts, seeds, berries, and some cheeses to your diet
- Add 5 grams of carbs per week (up to 40 grams) to find your carb tolerance
Phase 3 – Pre-maintenance
- Increase your carbohydrate intake by 10g per week (up to 100g)
- Add legumes, starchy vegetables, more fruits and grains
- Find your “carbohydrate balance” for constant weight loss or maintenance
Phase 4 – Maintenance
- Continue to eat as in phase 3
- Your fat intake may decrease as your carbohydrate intake increases
Foods to Eat on the Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet menu varies depending on which “phase” of the diet you are in. However, the following foods are generally allowed:
- Meats: beef, lamb, bacon, chicken, etc.
- Fatty fish and seafood
- Low-carb vegetables
- Whole dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado
Foods to Avoid in the Atkins Diet
According to the Atkins diet, the following foods should generally be avoided:
- Refined sugars
- Dietary or low-fat foods
- Vegetables rich in carbohydrates
- Fruits rich in carbohydrates
The Atkins Diet Sampling Day
A typical day on the Atkins diet during phase 1 might look like this:
- Breakfast – two egg omelet with chorizo and avocado
- Snack – a handful of olives
- Breakfast – Tuna salad with lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, radishes and a drizzle of olive oil
- Snack – 30 grams of cubed cheddar cheese
- Having dinner – Salmon with cauliflower rice and sautéed kale.
You can find more meal plans here.
Who should follow the Atkins diet?
Burrell recommends the Atkins diet for people who have a lot of weight to lose and are happy to stick to a strict diet early on to kickstart their weight loss.
“The best part about the Atkins diet is that it will help you lose a few pounds quickly, which can be motivating,” says Burrell. “But in the long run, it’s unlikely to be a sustainable diet.”
Burrell also cautions that, like most diets, Atkins is not for everyone. “Low carbs also don’t always work for active people who don’t have a lot of weight to lose, or for those who have issues with glucose regulation, including insulin resistance. Here we often see quickly trays on a low carb approach.
The Atkins diet and alcohol
You can drink alcohol on the Atkins diet, however, it is not recommended for phase 1. From phase 2, you can drink moderate amounts of low-carb alcoholic beverages, such as wine and some spirits (gin, vodka and whiskey with diet mixers is recommended).
However, it’s important to remember that alcohol slows weight loss by slowing down your metabolism – so if weight loss is your goal, you may decide to limit alcohol altogether.
Can vegans or vegetarians follow the Atkins diet?
It is possible to follow the Atkins diet if you are vegan or vegetarian. However, you should start in phase 2 and include proteins such as eggs, cheese, and soy products such as tofu. Vegans can include seeds, nuts, soy products, high protein grains, and legumes.
Is the Atkins Diet Safe?
The Atkins diet is generally considered safe for most people. However, this is not for everyone and if you are concerned it is always best to see your doctor first.
The following people should not start the Atkins diet without first seeing a doctor:
- People who take diuretics, insulin, or oral medicines for diabetes.
- People with kidney problems.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Additionally, Burrell cautions that there are a number of side effects you may experience during the early stages of the diet, such as headaches, weakness, and constipation.
“The first few days can be difficult for heavy eaters, as their bodies adjust to much less glucose from carbohydrates,” she explains, adding that people with glucose problems may need to adjust their levels. medication once they have drastically reduced their carbohydrate intake.
Does the Atkins diet work?
Like most low-carb diets, you will likely lose weight on the Atkins diet. However, studies show that low-carb diets such as the Atkins diet are no more effective than other low-calorie diets, and most people end up gaining weight.
“Any diet works when it’s followed, the problem is that strict low-carb diets are rarely followed for the long term and most of the time the weight loss is recovered,” Burrell adds.
So in conclusion, if followed correctly, the Atkins diet can be an effective way to lose weight fast – but maintaining the weight over the long term can be the real challenge. If you really want to make positive lifestyle changes, studies have shown that long term weight loss is most effective when both diet and exercise are implemented.
🍎 If you have any concerns about your health, get the green light from your doctor before starting a new diet or a healthy diet.
Last update: 09-11-2020
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