The Atkins diet is a low carb diet, commercialized as a weight loss program. It grew to popularity in the year 1972, after Dr. Robert Coleman Atkins, a cardiologist, published a best-selling book about it. Over the years, the Atkins diet has had controversies over its effectiveness in weight loss. Some even say it is dangerous to one’s health. The menu is based on a theory that so long as you avoid foods that are high in carbs, you can take as many proteins and fat as wish and still lose weight.
The human activists had initially regarded the program as unhealthy due to its saturated fat content. This led to a study, research and even hypothesis taken over the years. Saturated fat does not harm the human body, and with keen evaluation, the diet has significant results on weight loss and the control of blood sugar. Testimonies about the program are remarkably positive. Blood tests of a few who have tried the system show an improved HDL cholesterol levels in their bloodstream.
Dr. Atkins argues that the main reason for the increase in weight is the ingestion of refined carbohydrates, sugars, flour, and high-fructose syrup. Essentially, anything with a high carb content. The solution to this predicament is a metabolic process known as ketosis. When someone is under the program, the body burns down the stored body fat, instead of ingested glucose, or sugar. After eating carbohydrates, sugar is absorbed in the bloodstream. This triggers the body to produce insulin. If you are under this diet, the insulin levels remain low in the body, as if you have not eaten. This triggers the authority to use stored fat as its fuel. This reverse mechanism is ketosis.
According to Atkins, the advisable carbohydrates are low glycaemic foods. The glycaemic index is a standard scale that ranks foods based on how quickly they raise insulin levels after eating. Foods with high glycaemic index include white bread and candy. The Atkins diet is a 4-phase plan.
- Phase 1: Introduction
Limit your calorie consumption from carbohydrates to under 20 grams every day for two weeks. Eat high-protein, high-fat foods with low-carb vegetables, especially leafy greens. This is the beginning of weight loss.
- Phase 2: Balancing
Gradually add fiber-rich foods with high nutrients. That is nuts, low-carb vegetables, and a few fruits. The best schedule to include them is 25 grams within the first week of the phase and 30 grams during the second week and the consecutive weeks until the person stops.
- Phase 3: Fine-tuning
During this phase, you are very close to your ideal weight. Slowly increase your carbs intake by around 10 grams per week until the weight loss slows.
- Phase 4: Lifetime maintenance
This is the goal phase. Take a broader range of carbs. Monitor your weight carefully to ensure it does not hike again.
The phases may seem rather complicated to accomplish, and some may skip some. However, it is easy to keep losing weight provided you follow a good meal plan. Adding vegetables and fruits from the start has shown to be effective. Here are foods that are best to avoid during the program:
- Grains such as spelling, wheat, rye, rice, and barley.
- High-carb fruits. These include bananas, apples, pears and oranges
- Sugar. Avoid soft drinks, cakes, candy or even fruit juices
- Legumes. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are best to avoid
- Starch. Do not ingest potatoes, sweet potatoes or any starch.
The recommended foods to take include:
- Meats. Beef, chicken, pork or and all others are healthy to take
- Seafood. Salmon, trout and fatty fish species.
- Dairy products: Butter, Cheese, Cream and yogurt have high-fat contents.
- Nuts and Seeds. Macadamia nuts, Almonds, Sunflower seeds, etc.
The Atkins diet works and is effective. Its objective is to prevent health-related conditions, including, diabetes and high blood pressure. Loss of weight is easily achieved using this program. Research indicates that most people following the program have better cholesterol and blood pressure levels than those on other diets.
However, it is advisable to increment your diet content with supplements to ensure that you acquire necessary nutrients in the body. As the body uses the fat in the body, expect dizziness, fatigue, and headaches during the initial stages.