Atkins Diet Review

 The Atkins diet is probably the most popular and recognized low carbohydrate/high protein weight loss program ever created.

The program claims that you can eat as much protein and fat as you wish and you will still lose weight.

It is recommended that dieters are asked to consult their doctor or health care professional before starting any weight loss program.

How it Works?

This weight loss programs claim to fame is a process called ketosis in where by limiting the consumption of carbohydrates you switch the body’s metabolism.

Instead of burning glucose your body burns stored body fat and that is the process known as ketosis. The lower the carbohydrate intake, the lower the sugar and insulin levels in your body, so your body has to turn to stored fat cells instead, burning fat for required energy.

The Atkins Diet is made up of four phases: Induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance.

Phase 1 - Induction:

This phase lasts for 14 days and its primary goal is to encourage weight loss by changing your body’s metabolism and if followed correctly you should experience significant weight loss. Some people have stated losing 15 pounds during this phase.

Menu Guidelines for the Induction Phase:

  • Eat three regular-size meals or four to five smaller meals daily.
  • Freely eat amounts of protein such as poultry, red meat, eggs, fish, shellfish and also natural fat such as butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, sunflower and other vegetable oils
  • Eat no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates a day such as salad greens and vegetables. This is approximately 2 - 3 cups (in total) of salad or veggies throughout the day
  • Eat absolutely no bread, pasta, grains, fruit, starchy vegetables or dairy products though cheese, cream and butter are allowed
  • Avoid coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain aspartame or caffeine
  • You may use sucralose or saccharin but each packet must be counted as 1 gram of carbohydrate
  • Drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water daily
  • The following supplements are recommended. Vitamin and minerals, EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) and Omega-3 fatty acids

Phase 2 - Ongoing Weight loss:

In this second phase you are allowed to eat more carbohydrates, increasing salad and vegetable intake. After induction the daily carbohydrates may be increased to 25 grams a day for this whole week.

If you continue to lose weight you may increase your carb intake up to 30 grams a day the following week.

You will continue adding 5 more grams every week until the weight loss stops. Now you know how many carbs are right for you personally and you may decrease or maintain this number as necessary.

Phase 3 - Pre-Maintenance:

In this third stage you are purposely slowing down your weight loss by increasing your daily carbohydrate intake by 10 grams each week as long as you keep slowly losing weight.

In this phase you discover exactly how many carbs you can eat daily and still maintain your weight or slowly keep losing it.

You may slowly introduce new foods into your diet such as small portions of fruit, bread, brown rice and starchy vegetables. It is recommended that you stay in this phase for 1 or 2 months.

Phase 4 - Lifetime Maintenance:

The goal of this final stage is to maintain your desired weight for life. In phases 2 and 3 you discovered what your personal carbohydrate intake needs to be. Many people continue with a 60 – 90 gram level daily for life.

Pros:

You can eat a lot of food and achieve weight loss

Has been proven successful for many dieters

Includes heavier foods which satisfies your hunger for longer periods of time

No calorie counting

Diverts you from drinking alcohol and eating poor quality carbohydrates that may be full of sugar, white flour or otherwise known as junk food carbs.

Cons:

This type of diet is high in fats which could increase the risk of heart disease and cholesterol levels

Counting and tracking carbohydrates is required

Not suitable for vegetarians because it omits foods such as seeds, nuts, beans and certain vegetables during the early phases of the program

Lacks in vitamins, minerals and nutrients

Some people have experienced bad breath, weakness, dizziness, insomnia and constipation

The Atkins Diet clearly states that the weight loss phases of this diet are not suitable for pregnant women and nursing mothers

Do not do this weight loss program is you have severe kidney disease

People taking diuretics, insulin or oral diabetes medications must consult their physician or health care provider before starting this program.

Conclusion:

As successful as The Atkins Diet has proven to be it almost seems unnatural to deprive the human body of vast amounts of fruits and vegetables.

After all, plant foods are where we obtain most of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need to stay healthy.

The Atkins Diet may be suitable if other diets fail, but may hinder health if used long term.

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