The Atkins Diet is a low-carb, high-protein diet that's mainly used for weight loss. Check out everything you need to know about the Atkins diet below.
The Atkins Diet has long been one of the most popular weight loss dieting programs in the U.S. Developed by American cardiologist Robert Atkins in 1972, the diet relies on a regimented low-carbohydrate, high-protein nutritional makeup that promises quick and substantial weight loss. The diet first gained traction in 2003, and has gone on to spawn a host of similar diets. Read up below on everything you need to know about the Atkins diet.
How it Works
The Atkins Diet's effectiveness relies on actually changing your body's metabolic chemistry. By flooding your body with fat and protein and cutting off carbs and sugar, the diet puts your body in a state of ketosis, in which your metabolism switches from burning glucose to burning actual body fat. This switch helps expedite weight loss for many people. Indeed, numerous studies in the past decades have indicated that low-carb, high-fat, high-protein diets can help dieters see more rapid weight loss without the need of calorie counting.
What You Can Eat
The Atkins Diet is all about dramaticaly limiting your carbohydrate intake and instead infusing your diet with tons of protein and fat. This means fish, poultry and even more caloric and fattier meats like beef, pork and bacon are all acceptable on the diet as well. However even healthier carbohydrates like whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables like potatoes and carrots are forbidden. Here's a general overview.
Foods to Eat
- Red meat
- Vegetables that are low in carbs such as broccoli, zucchini, asparagus and spinach
- Dairy (even high-fat dairy) such as cheese, yogurt and butter
- Low-sugar, high-fiber fruits such as apples and citrus fruits
- Foods high in healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil
Foods to Avoid
- Any grains
- Any foods with added sugar
- High-carb vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beets and corn
- High-carb fruits such as bananas, pineapples, mangoes, figs and certain types of berries
- Beans, chickpeas and lentils
- Starchy foods such as potatoes
- Most desserts
- Sugary beverages
The Atkins Diet has four phases, with each phase progressively incorporating more carbs, ideally helping each individual find the right carb balance for the weight loss and maintenance goals.
The Atkins Diet claims that eating carbs in moderation helps maintain a stable blood sugar level, lower carb cravings, and results in more energy. The dietary focus of the Atkins Diet is to find the right balance of carbs, protein, and fats.
One of the reasons for weight loss on the Atkins Diet is the increased consumption of protein with the reduced intake of carbs which reduces appetite, so that the adherent inherently eats fewer calories.
Otherwise known as Induction, Phase 1 limits the daily intake of carbs to 20g, while encouraging fat and protein consumption. Recently, the Atkins 40 Diet launched. This new revision of the traditional diet allows for a daily intake of 40g of carbs with a mandatory intake level of vegetables.
Phase 2 of the Atkins diet is known as Balancing, and includes the slow addition of more nuts, low-carb veggies, and fruit back into one’s diet.
In Phase 3 of the diet, otherwise known as Pre-Maintenance, more carbs are added back into one’s diet until weight loss slows down.
The 4th and final leg of the Atkins diet is known as the Maintenance phase. This step allows the consumption of as many healthy carbs as the body can tolerate without regaining weight, putting an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Benefits and Drawbacks