Is the Atkins diet right for you?
The Atkins diet is just one part of the trendy low-carb diets such as the ketogenic diet.
The diet was developed by in the 1960s by Robert Atkins, a cardiologist. According to Dr. Atkis, diet played a major role in why many people had lifestyle diseases and he wanted to change that with this diet.
The main aim of the diet is to help people lose weight by restricting carbohydrates.
This diet focuses on high-protein and high-fat foods while limiting carbs and is divided into 4-phases. These phases involve weight loss and learning how to maintain your ideal weight with proper diet and nutrition.
Many people opt to try the Atkins diet to;
1. Lose weight
2. Improve health
3. Limit amount of carbs they’re currently consuming
4. Create healthy eating habits.
- 1 How does the Atkins diet work
- 2 What foods can you eat on the Atkins diet
- 3 Will, the diet work for you?
- 4 Conclusion
How does the Atkins diet work
The Atkins diet works by restricting carbs.
Normally, our bodies use carbohydrates as the main source of energy for body functions as they’re easily broken down.
So when you eat a meal, the carbohydrates enter your bloodstream as glucose. Due to the rising blood sugar levels, the body releases insulin to deal with it.
Insulin helps the body to break down the glucose for energy and anything that is not used up is stored as fat.
During this process, your body’s fat stores are blocked by insulin and at the same time, it creates extra fat cells to store any new fats. Not good news when you’re trying to lose weight fast.
So with a low-carb diet such as Atkins diet where you’re limiting carbohydrates the body is forced to use stored up fat for energy.
This process is known as ketosis and is what causes you to lose weight fast when you’re on a low-carb diet.
By adopting the Atkins diet, you’re changing how your body breaks down food for energy. Not only are you using stored fat, but your body also uses up more calories.
The Atkins diet is divided into 4-phases and this is how you can get started
Phase 1: Induction phase
The goal in this phase is to kick-start weight loss.
This is the first phase of the diet and your carbs are only limited to 20g per day. Most of which should come from low-carb vegetables such as leafy vegetables, spinach, and asparagus
Your diet should consist of high-protein foods such as wild-caught salmon, red meats, shellfish, eggs, and cheese.
Also, include high-fat foods such as olive oils, avocados, and other healthy fats.
However, sugary fruits and baked goods such as bread, cookies even alcohol are completely off-limits at this stage. You’re also advised to drink at least 8-ounces of water daily.
This phase lasts for about 2-weeks depending on how much weight you have to lose.
Phase 2: Balancing
This is the second phase of the diet and here you’re still getting most of your carbs from low-carb vegetables
In this phase, you can slowly incorporate nuts, seeds, and other low-carb vegetables into your diet
Typically you will stay in this phase until you’re about 10-pounds shy of your ideal weight. Let’s say you want to lose weight to 132 pounds, you’ll stay in the balancing phase until you reach about 142 pounds.
In this phase, you’re still not allowed any alcohol, added sugars or tempting baked goods
Read more: Low-carb vegetable recipes you should master
Phase 3: Pre-maintenance or fine-tuning
This is the second stage and phase that requires a bit of experimentation.
Here, you slowly increase the range of foods in your diet. You can add in starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and some whole grain options.
However, the goal is still to lose weight.
If you find certain foods are causing you to gain weight, you must cut back. This is the stage you stay until you reach your ideal weight target.
Related: This is the best way to lose weight
Phase 4: Maintainance stage
This is the last stage and one you will adopt for life.
Now that you know what foods work for you from the fine-tuning stage, you have a diet that you can adopt for life to maintain your weight and not gain it back.
What foods can you eat on the Atkins diet
1. High-protein foods: red meat, salmon, turkey, pork, bacon, chicken and sardines.
2. Low-carb vegetables: spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus,
3. Eggs: The cheapest high-protein foods available to all
4. Healthy fats: coconut oil, extra virgin olive, oil, avocado
5. Nuts and seeds: walnuts, macadamia, almonds, etc
6. Full-fat dairy: cheese, cream, butter, and full-fat yogurt.
7. Beverages: water, green tea, coffee
Read more: 36-high protein foods you should eat daily
Healthy snacks on the Atkins diet
As with any diet, having healthy snacks is the best way to carb cravings and help you maintain your diet. On the Atkins diet, you can choose from these healthy snack options;
1. Hard-boiled eggs
2. Greek yogurt
3. Cheese sticks and cubes
4. Seed, nut mix
5. Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
Foods to avoid on the Atkins diet
1. Added sugar: cakes, candy, ice cream, fruit juices, soft drinks,
2. Grains: rice, wheat, barley, and rye
3. High-carb vegetables: carrots, corn, turnips ( only at induction stage)
4: Vegetable oils: canola oil, soybean, etc
5. Trans fat: Mostly found in junk foods.
6. High-carb fruits: Bananas, apples, mangoes, oranges (only at induction stage)
7. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, beans (only at induction stage)
8. Starchy-foods: sweet potatoes, potatoes, ( only at induction stage )
Sample meal plan on the Atkins diet
What to eat for breakfast
1. Fried eggs and vegetables
2. Bacon and eggs
3. Greek yogurt topped with almonds and berries
4. Waffles with coconut flour
5. Smoked salmon, eggs, and avocado
6. Sausage and eggs Mcmuffin
7.Spinach, eggs and cheese quiche
What to eat for lunch
1. Lettuce wrapped tacos
2. Avocado stuffed with tuna salad
3. Chicken salad drizzled with olive oil and nuts
4. Low-carb cheeseburger casserole
5. Zucchini noodles chicken pad thai
6. Broccoli salad with creamy chicken and cheese
7. One-pan cheesy ground beef with cauliflower
What to eat for dinner
1. Lettuce wraps with Thai Turkey
2. Chicken sheet pan with lemon and herbs
3. Easy stuffed peppers
4. Baked salmon with veggies
5. Ground beef casserole
6. Low-carb pressure cooker chili
7. Italian deli meats roll-ups with veggies
Will, the diet work for you?
Even though you might have to count how many carbs you’re consuming, it’s not as intense as other diet and won’t require you to write down every macronutrient in your food.
The Atkins diet is based on the principle that the diet can be adapted as a healthy eating plan for life
If you plan to use the Atkins diet for weight loss, bear in mind that you need to maintain this way of eating for life. In the maintenance stage, you cannot go back to how you used to eat before.
As compared to other low-carb diets such as ketogenic diet, this diet offers you much more flexibility in terms of your food choices.
You can fine-tune your foods in the third phase of the diet to find what works best for you and cut back on the foods that cause you to gain weight. If you’re up for the challenge, then the diet should work for you.
What is the difference between the keto diet and the Atkins diet?
Even though both the Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet are both low-carb, they’re slightly different in the approach in the following ways
1. Different approaches to ketosis
With the ketogenic diet. you limit carbs for life to stay in a state of ketosis while the Atkins diet, you gradually add in carbs after the induction period.
In the Atkins diet as you fine-tune your diet you’re able to increase carbs you eat and still lose weight.
2. The flexibility of each diet.
On the Atkins diet, it starts very restrive but as you enter the fine-tuning stage you’re able to add more foods and still lose weight. However, on the ketogenic diet, you’re limited to only certain foods.
3. The amount of protein allowed
On the ketogenic diet, you’re allowed on about 20% of calories to come from high-protein foods. This is in contrast to the Atkins diet whereby there is no cap to how much protein you should consume.
Read more: How to get started on the ketogenic diet
The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet that limits carbs and focuses on high-protein and high-fat foods for weight loss.
In addition to weight loss, the Atkins diet has been shown to also have various health benefits such as promoting heart health,
The diet is divided into four phases. The first phases known as induction is meant to kick start weight loss. The second stage known as balancing is meant to continue weight loss even with the introduction of new foods.
The third phase also knows as fine-tuning is where you add more foods to your diet while still losing weight. The final phase is the maintenance where you continue with the diet for life.
The Atkins diet even though it is low carb is very flexible and is great if you’re looking for a diet for weight loss.