Atkins Diet: Diet Plan
With the appearance of the Atkins diet or just the Atkins in 1970th the world of traditional nutrition and eating plans was agitated by the really revolutionary approaches to healthy eating, which Dr. Robert Atkins brought with his plan. In spite of all the controversies and endless discussions on the benefits and harms of this diet, Atkins formed a basis to the whole chain of low-carbohydrate diets and his nutritional plan still remains among the most popular dieting strategies.
So, what is the diet plan that brought the world fame to cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins?
The key idea of the Atkins Diet is to drastically reduce the consumption of the carbohydrates. That is why the diet is referred to as low-carbohydrate. However, it is not all about eating regimen. Dr. Atkins promoted the whole lifestyle concept with its unique philosophy on eating. He believed that America suffers from overweight and obesity because people eat too many carbohydrates, which are burned by human organism to produce energy, whereas fat is stored, forming excessive body mass. On the other hand, lack of carbohydrates makes the organism use another source of energy and burn fat, thus leading to weight loss.
The Atkins diet is based on the following approaches: - restrict the intake of processed and refined carbohydrates, such as sugar-rich food, bread, pasta, cereal, and starchy vegetables; this helps to switch the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat; - encourage consumption of nutrient-rich unprocessed foods such as meat, fish and poultry; this is necessary to supply the organism with the sufficient amount of energy; according to Dr. Atkins, a person should never be hungry; - promote the use of "vita-nutrient" supplements.
There are four stages or phases in the Atkins diet, each having its own goal and means to reach this goal.
The 14-days Induction phase is the most restrictive stage of the Atkins diet. It aims to lead the organism into the metabolic condition, called ketosis, when human body uses fat instead of sugar from carbohydrates as the fuel. This process is characterized by a rapid weight loss (up to 4-6 pounds a week).
When in the Induction, the carbs consumption should be restricted to 20 grams per day (mainly from non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, salad and asparagus). Eating refined sugar, dairy except cheeses, white rice, white flour, pasta, cakes, chips, nuts, seed, potato and other high-carbohydrate foods is not allowed. On the other hand, people are invited to eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, shellfish, eggs and natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower and other vegetable oils.
The Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) phase follows the Induction. It is the time to define the personal target weight. This phase is not so restrictive, thus it is easier to follow. You are advised to increase carbohydrates consumption by 5 grams each week. Bread, sugar, pasta, chips and other products, rich in carbohydrates, remain on the forbidden side of the diet.
Once you are 5-10 pounds from your target weight, the third phase, called Pre-Maintenance, starts. The consumption of carbohydrates is increased again by 10 grams per week to make the weight loss even more gradual. The goal is to reach the Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE), the amount of carbohydrates you may consume and neither lose nor gain weight.
Maintenance is the final phase of the Atkins diet. In fact, it does not restrict consuming carbohydrates. You just use the knowledge of your personal maximum amount of carbs not to start gaining weight again. In case of excessive weight appearance, you are recommended to return to the previous stage or even to the Induction phase in order to keep your weight under control. In spite of the misperception of the Atkins diet as a “meat-and-egg” diet or a plan, absolutely excluding carbohydrates, it is really worthy to study the diet deeply to understand its basic principles. Significant cutting off carbohydrates is necessary only for the Induction period in order to make the organism use stored fats more effectively. On the other hand, the Atkins diet does not make its followers to feel hungry, since your organism receives the sufficient amount of proteins.
Finally, over 30 years of experience and thousands of people, following the Atkins diet and making real success in improving their health, are the most reliable arguments, advocating the Atkins Nutritional Approach.