The Atkins Diet Overview
Frustrated by the increasing number of obesity related problems in his patients and his own obesity, Dr. Robert C. Atkins formulated a revolutionary diet pattern – The Atkins Diet. This groundbreaking diet was first introduced in the year 1963. This diet is based on a simple principle – more carbohydrates means more fat.
Dr. Atkins believed that the major cause of obesity in Americans is the presence of a high level of refined carbohydrates in their daily diet. He also claimed that trans fats, present in hydrogenated oils play a major role in contracting cardiovascular diseases, rather than saturated fats.
The Atkins Diet advocates the restriction of carbohydrates, so that the body uses up the stored fat to obtain energy, rather than ingested carbohydrates. This phenomenon, called ketosis occurs when the insulin level in the bloodstream is low. Ketosis involves lipolysis, which means that some of the fat stored in the adipose tissue is released into the blood.
The Atkins Diet limits the consumption of “net carbs” (the difference between total carbohydrate and total fiber content of a food material).A major advantage of the Atkins diet is the absence of hunger pangs. This is because of the fact that Fats and proteins are not as easily digested as carbohydrates and take a longer period of time. Therefore, it is easier to stick to the Atkin’s nutritional approach. However, studies point out that after a year, the net result of the Atkin’s diet is the same as some low-fat diets.
4 Phases of the Atkin’s Diet
This phase is the most difficult to follow,being extremely restrictive. On the flipside, you only have to restrict your diet for two weeks. 20 grams of net carbs is all that you are allowed a day. Most of these carbohydrates are to come from green, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, turnips etc. Up to 4 ounces of cheese per day are allowed along with a liberal dose of lean meats like chicken, turkey, veal, fish etc. This phase is intended to rapidly condition the body into a state of ketosis.
Ongoing Weight Loss
Phase II of the Atkins diet allows the increase in the net carb intake by 5 grams a week. A variety of foods, banned in Induction are allowed in phase II, such as Legumes, starchy vegetables, nuts, whole grains etc. Practitioners must learn to find their Critical carbohydrate level for losing – number of carbohydrates which can be eaten daily without gaining weight- in this phase. This phase lasts until the body weight has reached within ten pounds of the target weight.
In this phase, the net carb intake is raised by 10 net carbs per week. This phase gives you another chance to find your Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing. If practitioners can maintain their ideal weight for a month, they may move onto the next phase.
This phase basically incorporates the various habits of the previous phases. This has to be carried on for life. Of course, when you feel the pounds piling on Induction is always an option!
The Atkins Diet is a breakthrough in the field of nutrition and has a high success rate. However, it is all in the mind; if you do not possess the will-power to follow this strict diet, then it is not for you. The Atkins diet can be your greatest friend or your worst enemy, depending on your perception of it.