Low Carb Dieting
Atkins Diet was created by Dr Robert Atkins who was an American cardiologist. This diet plan is also known as Atkins Nutritional Approach. Dr Atkins has written many books on diet. The main concept of his diet philosophy is intake of Low Carbohydrates and Insulin Control. Dr Atkins used this diet plan to reduce his own weight. Later he also used this diet for his patients. Atkins Diet is one of the most popular weight reduction diets today.
Dr Atkins believed that our eating habits are the main cause of weight gain. We consume too much of refined carbs, sugar, high fructose syrup like corn syrup and also flour. Refined carbohydrates are rich source of glucose. Just before we eat ours body glucose level is low and therefore insulin also is low. When we eat something (especially carb rich food) the glucose level in the body rises and therefore the insulin level also rises. The “Good Carbs” do not raise the glucose level so much as “Bad Carbs”. Good carbs have low glycerine.
This diet recommends a significantly low carb diet intake. Dr Atkins made low carbohydrate diet very popular through his books. This diet plan for weight loss is actually a four phase diet programme. The diet plan also includes vitamins & mineral supplements and regular physical exercises.
Atkins Diet for Weight Loss
This diet plan by Dr Atkins drastically reduces carbohydrate intake. When a person follows this diet plan, one important thing happens. His or her body switches from burning glucose for fuel to burning the fat stored in the body. This change in body’s metabolism is called Ketosis. It is a metabolic process which occurs when your body does not have enough glucose to burn for energy. Then fat stored in the body is broken and converted to energy. A low carb diet is also known as Ketogenic Diet. But remember that extreme level of ketosis may cause type 1 diabetes.
Atkins Diet has following four effects: –
- It makes you lose weight.
- If you continue with this diet you will be able to maintain the weight loss.
- Your blood pressure level and cholesterol level will improve.
- Loss of extra fat will also result in better health.
Atkins Diet Phase I (Induction Stage)
This phase is called Atkins 20. This is known as induction phase also. At this stage carbohydrate in the meal is restricted to 20 grams per day. This carbohydrate is sourced primarily from salads and vegetables. This diet is continued till you start losing weight. You should continue in this phase till you are 15 pounds away from your desired body weight. Your blood sugar, lipid, blood sugar and blood pressure should continue to improve. So you will need to take advice of a doctor who will monitor these vital stats. If you have lots of weight to lose then you should stay in induction stage for six months or longer.
Atkins Diet Phase II (Ongoing Weight Loss Phase)
This stage is also called OWL phase. In this phase your diet fibre rich and nutrient rich food items are added as additional source of carbohydrates. During this phase the rate of weight loss will reduce. Following is the way carbs are added during this phase:
- During first week of this phase carbs consumption is increased to 25 grams per day. Nuts and seeds can be added to the diet.
- During second week of this phase carbs consumption is increased to 30 grams per day
- During third week of this phase carbs consumption is increased by 30 grams per day. This carb is increased each week till your weight stops going down.
Atkins Diet Phase III (Pre Maintenance Phase)
Your carbohydrate intake is increased by 10 grams per day till your weight loss is very gradual. Now you can add milk, fresh cheese and yogurt to your diet.
Atkins Diet Phase IV (Lifetime Maintenance)
During this phase you can add more items which are source of carbohydrates. But you also have to check your weight to ensure that it does not start going up. You should also continue to feel healthy. If you find that your weight is going up then you should immediately reduce the carbohydrate in your food. You should also stop adding new sources of carbohydrates in your food. This should become your permanent way of eating.
Foods to Avoid in Atkins Diet
- Sugar – This includes Soft Drinks, Fruit Juice, Cakes, Ice Cream, Candy etc
- Grains – Like Barley, Rice, Spelt and Wheat.
- Legumes – During Phase I do not eat legumes like Chick Peas, Beans and Lentils.
- Trans Fat – Like Processed Food, Hydrogenated Oil etc.
- Vegetable Oil – Like Corn Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Soybean Oil, Canola Oil etc.
- High Carb Vegetables – Do not eat turnips, carrots etc during induction phase.
- High Carb Fruits – Like Grapes, Pears, Banana, Oranges and Apples. This is applicable for Phase I only.
- Starch – Like Potato and Sweet Potato. This is applicable for Phase I only.
What You Should Eat in Atkins Diet Plan
Atkins diet plan can be personalised to meet individual needs like weight loss and weight maintenance. You must avoid sugar, trans fat and refined flour. Some the food items that can be eaten are given below: –
- High Fibre Vegetables like Kale, Spinach, Broccoli and Asparagus.
- Nuts and seeds like Almond, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds and Macadamia Nuts
- Poultry, Beef, Pork, Fish, Sea Food, Eggs
- Healthy Fats like Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocados
- Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Melon, Cherries, Berries etc.
- Legumes and whole grains during Phase II
- During Phase I an occasional glass of wine is permitted but alcohol consumption should be avoided.
- During Phase II you can take vodka, gin and scotch but do not mix them with juice and non diet soda. Diet tonic, diet soda and seltzer can be taken. But if you are taking alcohol and your weight loss stops or reduces then you must stop alcohol consumption.
Atkins Diet Plan for Weight Loss is a low carb diet. But remember that it is not “no carb diet”. This diet program should be adopted under expert supervision. You must also show determination in continuing with this diet plan. Majority of people drop out after two to three years and regain weight once again. So determination is the key word.
Atkins Diet Video