The Atkins diet is a well-known low-carb diet that is usually recommended for weight loss. Supporters of this diet claim that you can lose weight while eating as much protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid foods high in carbohydrates.
Classic keto is considered very restrictive and typically only done under strict medical supervision.
In the last 12 years, more than 20 studies have shown that low-carb diets without the need to count calories are effective for weight loss and can lead to various health improvements.
The Atkins diet was originally popularized by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who wrote the best-selling book about the regime in 1972.
What is the Atkins diet?
Dr. Atkins was a cardiologist who designed the diet with a specific goal – to significantly reduce carbohydrate intake to achieve weight loss. The Atkins diet has four basic principles. If you fallow them you should:
- Lose weight as much as you want
- It will help you maintain the desired weight
- Will achieve good health
- It will lay a solid and lasting foundation for disease prevention
According to Dr. Atkins, the main reason for gaining weight is the consumption of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, glucose-fructose corn syrup, and flour.
How the diet works
When you go on the Atkins diet, your body’s metabolism switches to burning glucose or sugar as a fuel to burn its own fat. This switch is called ketosis.
The Atkins diet requires avoiding foods with a high glycemic index. When glucose levels are low, insulin levels are also low. At this point, ketosis occurs. In other words, when glucose levels are low, the body switches to using its own fat stores as a source of energy. Before eating, a person’s glucose levels are low, so insulin levels are also low. When a person eats, their glucose levels rise. This leads to an increase in insulin levels. From this you can conclude that the more often you eat something on the go, the more frequent the insulin will spike.
The glycemic index is a scale that ranks carbohydrates from 0 to 100, based on how quickly and how much they raise blood sugar levels after a meal. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sweets, contain high levels of glucose. These are called foods with a high glycemic index. Carbohydrates enter the bloodstream quickly and cause a rapid rise in insulin levels.
Other types of carbohydrates, such as oats, do not affect blood sugar levels as quickly or as strongly. They have a low glycemic load and are lower in the glycemic index scale.
According to Dr. Atkins, the best carbohydrates are those with a low glycemic index. To compensate for the lack of foods rich in vitamins, the diet encourages its followers to use vitamins and minerals in the form of supplements.
Who is the Atkins diet suitable for?
You can choose to try Atkins:
- If you like the types and amounts of food included in the diet
- You want a diet that restricts certain carbohydrates to help you lose weight
- If you want to change your general eating habits, which are currently unhealthier
- You have a medical condition (diabetes, insulin sensitivity, etc.) that you think diet can affect in a good way
Use of body fat in the Atkins diet
As it has already become clear, if there is no glucose in the body, ketosis will occur. During ketosis, the body will transfer some of the fat depots into the fat cells in the blood to be used as energy.
Fish, meat, and low-carb vegetables are suitable for the Atkins diet. Dr. Atkins suggests that saturated fat intake should be maintained up to a maximum of 20% of all calories consumed.
For people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, the Atkins diet is likely to eliminate the need for medication. However, diabetes experts warn that despite the nature of a low-carb diet, it is not the only solution to diabetes.
Phases of the Atkins diet
Phase 1: Introduction
Carbohydrate calorie intake is limited to less than 20 grams per day. Carbohydrates should be mainly from salads and vegetables that are low in starch. Eat foods high in good fats, high protein foods with low carb vegetables such as leafy vegetables.
Phase 2: Balancing
Fiber-rich foods and valuable nutrients are added as additional sources of carbohydrates. These can be nuts, low-carb vegetables and small amounts of fruit.
They are added gradually: 25 grams are added during the first week of phase 2, 30 grams during the second week and every following week until you stop losing weight. When you stop losing weight, your daily carbohydrate intake is also reduced by 5 grams until you slowly start losing weight again.
Phase 3: Finetune
Increase your carb intake by 10 grams each week until you start losing weight very slowly.
Phase 4: Miantenance
You can now easily add a wider range of carbohydrate sources, carefully monitoring your weight to make sure there is no abrupt change.
Foods to avoid
Relatively comprehensive, in this list are the foods you should forget during the diet:
- Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, pastries, candies, ice creams
- Cereals: Wheat, einkorn, rye, barley, rice
- Vegetable oils: Soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, rapeseed oil
- Trans fats: They are usually found in processed foods and you will also recognize them as “hydrogenated” in the list of ingredients
- “Dietary” and “low-fat” foods: They are usually very high in sugar or other sweeteners
- High-calorie vegetables: carrots, turnips
- Fruits high in carbohydrates and sugar: bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes
- Starch: Potatoes, sweet potatoes
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, and others.
Foods that you can eat
- Meat: pork, beef, chicken, bacon, and others
- Oily fish and seafood: salmon, cod, sardines
- Low carb vegetables: kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus
- Whole milk products: yogurt, cheese, butter
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Healthy fats: avocado
- The following vegetable fats: olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
This web site is for information purpose only, not advice or guarantee of outcome.