The Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet

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The Atkins plan was named for its creator, Dr. Robert Atkins. It is a well known diet that concentrates on decreasing the consumption of carbohydrates and increasing consumption of high protein foods. This plans requires concise attention to the intake of carbohydrates, especially during the initial few weeks.

The basic concept behind the Atkins plan is the theory that eating to many carbohydrates is the underlying reason for weight gain. Dr. Atkins believed that weight problems were caused by how the body processes carbohydrates and not the amount of fat consumed.

According to Dr. Atkins, many obese people are probably resistant to insulin. The cells that transform carbs into glucose do not function properly. His solution to this is stringent carbohydrate reduction.

By restricting your carbohydrate consumption to under forty grams per day, your body will begin a process referred to as ketosis. This is a condition in which consumes fat for energy. According to Dr. Atkins, ketosis also affects the production of insulin, which prevents additional fat being produced. Supposedly, after entering ketosis, your carb cravings will cease.

There are 4 stages to Atkins. The first is induction, followed by ongoing weight loss, then pre-maintenance and finally maintenance. Phase 1, or induction, is the beginning two weeks of the diet. During this time you may lose as much as fifteen pounds. This is the result of limiting carb consumption to twenty grams per day. During induction, you are only allowed low carbohydrate vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli or lettuce, and only three cups a day.

During the second stage, you may increase carb consumption five grams. However, your weight loss will eventually level off, at which time you will have to restrict carb consumption again. During the pre-maintenance stage, loss of weight will decrease. You can then experiment with foods to determine rather you can include them in your plan without gaining weight.

After you achieve your ideal weight, the maintenance phase begins. At this point you can add more carbs into your plan, but they must be healthy carbs. If you gain weight again, you can start the Atkins plan over again.

Advantages of Atkins

You now have an understanding of what the Atkins diet is so let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages. Atkins dieters gain four primary benefits from this plan.

1. Lose Weight – When you eat fewer carbohydrates, your body must burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. As a result, you lose weight.

2. Ability to Maintain Weight – Everyone can consume a certain amount of carbohydrates without gaining or losing weight. Atkins lets your body decide this amount by gradually increasing the amount of carbohydrates that you eat.

3. Be Healthy – Individuals on the Atkins plan are encouraged to consume nutrition packed foods with nutritional and vitamin supplements when needed.

4. Prevent Disease – Consuming fewer carbohydrates lowers insulin production. This might reduce the risk for developing diseases such as diabetes.

Disadvantages of Atkins

The Atkins plan has its share of disadvantages as well. The primary drawbacks are as follows.

1. Difficult Induction Phase – The first two weeks on the plan, in which carbohydrates are strictly forbidden and ketosis sets in, is hard for some. Along with cravings, dieters may experience headaches, feeling lightheaded, dehydration and dizziness.

2. Bad Breath – This is caused from ketosis.

3. Constipation – Low carbohydrate diets often do not contain enough fiber. This can result in constipation.

4. No Caffeine – If you love soda or coffee, the Atkins plan will have you at a disadvantage as it recommends avoiding caffeine.

5. Health Risks – Many health professionals believe that the high fat consumption of Atkins results in high levels of bad cholesterol, which can cause heart disease.


If you are considering the Atkins Diet, know that it is very restrictive. During the early stages of the plan, there are many foods that you are advised not to eat at all. These foods include most dairy products, fruits and even many vegetables. It is especially important that you refrain from consuming any sugar, baked goods, rice, corn or grains. All of these foods cause large increases in blood glucose levels, which stops the chemical process required for weight loss in this plan. If you do not believe that you can adhere to such a strict plan, this may not be a good diet for you.

Atkins Diet Effectiveness Ratings



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