The Atkins program is the most natural, easiest, tastiest, most long-term way to achieve these very normal goals.
Metabolism is the process that converts food into either energy or your body’s building blocks. Eating the right foods can increase your body’s metabolism, particularly how it handles fat. When you eat fewer carbohydrates foods—relying mostly on vegetables rich in fiber—your body switches to burning fat (including your own body fat) instead of carbohydrates as its primary fuel source. Carbohydrates intake is largely responsible for blood sugar fluctuations, e.g. potatoes and white bread converts rapidly to glucose. After each carb-heavy meal or snack, your body stops burning off fat as your insulin level escalates to deal with the rising tide of blood sugar. Fat calories are always pushed to the back of the line, where more than likely they’re stored. That’s why insulin is called the “fat hormone.” As long as your body keeps turning glucose into fat, you’re doomed to being heavy.
Cutting your carb intake and eating mostly whole food carbohydrates is the core premise of the Atkins Diet. When you eat foods composed primarily of protein, fat and fiber, your body produces far less insulin. And when the carbs you do eat are in the form of high-fiber whole foods, which convert to glucose relatively slowly, your blood sugar level holds steady, along with your energy level. You don’t crave a fast-fix energy booster in the form of sugary, starchy food. And you’re less hungry at meals.
- Phase 1 – Induction. It is the strictest and is perhaps the most difficult part of the Atkins Diet. Over the suggested period of two weeks, an individual going through Induction is not to exceed an intake 20 net grams of carbohydrates per day. This sharp reduction in carbohydrates is designed to force a person’s body into a rapid state of ketosis. Many dieters will see a dramatic and significant weight loss throughout this phase. Foods allowed during this phase include all meats, hard and semi-soft cheeses, several green vegetables and sources of fats and oils like butter. Atkins cookbooks and all of the books penned by Dr. Atkins will outline what foods are and aren’t allowed during each phase more thoroughly
- Phase 2 – Ongoing Weight Loss(OWL). Many people are in a hurry to increase their daily intake of Net Carbs. As long as you’re steadily losing weight, you typically increase by daily 5-gram increments each week, but you certainly don’t have to. You may decide to move up every two weeks or more to encourage faster weight loss. Nor need you reintroduce a new carb food group each week if a slower, more cautious approach suits your metabolism—or your personality. The same freedom applies in Phase 3, Lifetime Maintenance, in which most people move up in 10-gram daily increments each week.
- Phase-3 Pre-Maintenance, dieters will continue to increase their carbohydrate consumption at a rate of 10 grams per week. The final goal of this phase is to learn how many carbohydrates you can consume while still losing weight. New foods you can eat can include starchy vegetables, fruits and whole grains, as well as whole milk.
- Phase 4 – Maintenance.At this point, you should be taking in the maximum amount of carbs that allows you to feel good and maintain your weight. The phase is called “Maintenance” for a reason, as you still have to put in hard work to make sure you don’t relapse into consuming massive amounts of carbohydrates. If you feel you’ve fallen off the wagon, you can always revert to an earlier phase and start over.
Dangers of ATKINS Diet
- Robert H. Eckel, MD, “Our worries over the Atkins diet go way past the question of whether it is effective for losing weight or even for keeping weight off. We worry that the diet promotes heart disease. … We have concerns over whether this is a healthy diet for preventing heart disease, stroke, and cancer. There is also potential loss of bone, and the potential for people with liver and kidney problems to have trouble with the high amounts of protein in these diets.”
- Gail Frank, PhD, says, “The body needs a minimum of carbohydrates for efficient and healthy functioning — about 150 grams daily.” Below that, normal metabolic activity is disrupted. “The brain needs glucose to function efficiently, and it takes a long time to break down fat and protein to get to the brain,” says Frank. Carbohydrates, especially in the form of vegetables, grains, and fruits, are more efficiently converted to glucose. And this more efficient use of glucose has developed over a long period of time, according to Frank. “Fruits and berries are much more indicative of early man’s eating pattern than eating only protein, and we haven’t changed all that much physiologically.”
- Barbara Rolls, PhD, says “No one has shown, in any studies, that anything magical is going on with Atkins other than calorie restriction. The diet is very prescriptive, very restrictive, and limits half of the foods we normally eat,” she says. “In the end it’s not fat, it’s not protein, it’s not carbs, its calories. You can lose weight on anything that helps you to eat less, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”
Advantages of ATKINS Diet
People who undertake the Atkins Diet usually report substantial weight loss. The Atkins Diet, once you get used to it, offers a wide selection of foods to eat. While the Induction phase can be very restrictive, you do get to eat eggs, meat and other rich foods. By the time you’ve reached the Maintenance phase, your carbohydrate intake may be at a level that allows you to enjoy many of the meals you used to enjoy in the past. While you might never be able to eat very many baked goods, you will have enough options that you won’t have to.