The Akins Diet restricts the intake of carbohydrates with the theory that your metabolism will increase, and your body will burn more fat. Atkins claimed that the main cause of obesity is eating refined carbohydrates, and that the increase in refined carbohydrates is the cause of metabolic disorders.
The Atkins Diet restricts the consumption of carbohydrates to switch the body's metabolism from burning glucose to burning stored body fat – a process called lipolysis that begins when the body enters a state of ketosis resulting from running out of carbohydrates to burn.
There are four phases of the Atkins diet: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance. Below is a summary:
Phase 1 - Induction Phase
This is the most restrictive phase of the Atkins Diet that quickly causes you to enter a state of ketosis, and lasts at least 14 days. Carbohydrate intake is limited to 20 net grams per day. The daily diet includes liberal amounts of all types of meats, fish, eggs, low carbohydrate vegetables, and disallows fruits, breads, pasta, grains, and starchy vegetables. Caffeine should also be avoided during this stage. The induction phase is usually where there is most significant weight loss.
Phase 2 – Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL)
In the OWL phase of the Atkins Diet, you increase carbohydrate intake by 5grams each week to determine how many carbohydrates you can consume and still lose weight. This is called the Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL). This phase lasts until about 10lbs away from the target weight.
Phase 3 – Pre-maintenance
More carbohydrates are added in this phase to determine how much carbohydrates can be consumed without gaining weight. The goal here is to slowly lose weight to reach the target goal. This phase typically last for 2 to 3 months.
Phase 4 – Lifetime Maintenance
The final phase of the Atkins Diet is intended to continue the habits acquired from previous phases, and maintain a body weight within 3 to 5 pounds of target weight. This is similar to phases 3 where a balance of carbohydrate intake is maintained so as to not gain weight.
About Atkins Diet Program
Atkins Diet plan also known as Atkins Nutritional approach is a low-carbohydrate diet developed by Dr. Robert Atkins from a diet that he read in the Journal Of American Medical Association and used it to resolve his own overweight problems. This diet plan basically concentrates on the amount of carbohydrates that you intake. Hence to carry on with an Atkins diet plan it is necessary to have knowledge about low-carbohydrate foods.
According to Atkins Diet, there are two man reasons for the increasing obesity problems in western countries-firstly is the eating of refined carbohydrates and secondly saturated fat is taken as a nutritional problem whereas trans fat from sources such as hydrogenated oils must be avoided. The important aspects of the Atkins diet plan includes nutritional supplements and exercise. According to Dr. Atkins following this diet plan would lead to burning more calories than can be achieved by normal diets thereby exercising “metabolic advantage”. The Atkins Blood Sugar Approach is for people who have to exercise a control over their diabetes and need to adopt a preventive measure for cardiovascular diseases.
4 Phases of the Atkins Diet Plan
There are four phases of Atkins diet plan, explained in more detail below:
On-going weight loss
Induction phase - This is initial stage of Atkins diet plan, and it is the most important phase. It stretches up to a span of two weeks and can also be continued for a longer period if the individual has the will power and the weight to loose. During this phase the carbohydrate intake is limited to 20 net grams - majority of which comes from salad greens and other green vegetables. Liberal amounts of all meats, fish, shellfish, fowl ,eggs and caffeine can be consumed during this stage with a complete avoidance of alcoholic beverages. Drinking eight glasses of water is a must with a daily multivitamin dose coupled with minerals.
Ongoing-weight loss -This phase concentrates on finding the Critical Carbohydrate level for Loosing and to find out how does food group in increasing glycemic levels affect your craving control. During this phase the carbohydrate intake is increased but is maintained at a level where weight loss occurs. During the first week it is recommended to include more of induction acceptable vegetables to the diet and the next week the carbohydrate ladder should be followed along with addition of fresh dairy.
The rungs of the carbohydrate ladder are:
• Induction acceptable vegetables
• Fresh dairy
• Other fruits
• Starchy vegetables
This phase extends till the individuals weight is within 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of the target weight.
Pre-maintenance - During this phase the intake of carbohydrate is increased by 10 net carbs a week from the ladder groupings and the key goal is to find out the minimum Carbohydrate Level for Maintenance which is the maximum number of carbohydrates that one can consume each day without gaining weight.
Lifetime Maintenance - This phase intends the Atkins followers to continue with their eating habits that they adopted in the previous phase and avoid the common end-of-diet mindset, hence preventing the individuals to return to their previous habit and gain weight again.
There is no evident proof that Atkins diet is effective beyond 6 months as statistical studies say that the Atkins diet produced a greater weight loss for the first six months, but the difference was not significant at one year. Some of the misconceptions related to the Atkins diet are:
Atkins diet encourages unlimited eating of fatty meats and cheeses
Those people who have a prominent weight loss during the induction phase do not consume enough of vegetables and fruits that leads to confusion between the first two phases.
The Atkins diet is useful for the initial weight loss for individuals who are obese, but to maintain a long term effect of the diet one has to follow the diet plan and always remember that Atkins diet should be coupled with a good workout program.
Looking for an effective weight loss solution, support and motivation? See bleow to learn the true method of long term, healthy weight loss that will lead to permanent weight loss results.