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What is the Atkins Diet?

By Stefanie Spikell
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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The Atkins Diet Plan, one of many long term plans on the market, offers a high fat, low carbohydrate meal plan designed to help you lose weight rapidly, while giving you all the energy you require. According to Dr. Atkins, the diet will assist you in managing numerous health concerns, including headaches, blood sugar problems, slow or sluggish metabolism, food intolerance and allergies. According to reports, many individuals with high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome regained new energy on this eating plan.

Dr. Atkins Diet Plan was introduced in 1972 to assist people suffering from obesity and heart disease. The diet provides fast weight loss and Atkins believed that up to two thirds of calories could come from fat and that people should eat meats and cheeses rather than breads, pastas, fruits and vegetables. This is not a diet for vegetarians, as the plan recommends high amounts of animal proteins.

The way in which the Atkins diet works is through changing the body's metabolism. The body burns fats and carbohydrates in order to provide the energy to function normally. Carbohydrates are turned into glucose and are used before fats in our bodies. According to Atkins, if we reduce the amount of carbohydrate intake, our body will burn our fat as fuel, cause weight loss. Through this burning of fat, we also affect our body's insulin production which, according to Atkins, will prevent more fat from being formed.

There are four phases in the Atkins Plan:

  • Phase 1 — the Induction Phase - carbohydrate consumption is restricted to 20 grams per day.
  • Phase 2 — Ongoing Weight Loss — you increase carbohydrates to 25 grams daily the first week, 30 grams daily the next week and so on until your weight loss stops and then cut back 5 grams to continue moderate weight loss.
  • Phase 3 — Pre-Maintenance — helps you change from weight loss to weight maintenance by increasing the daily carbohydrate intake in 10-gram increments each week.
  • Phase 4 — Lifetime Maintenance — you select from a wide variety of foods while controlling carbohydrate intake.
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Discussion Comments
By anon45446 — On Sep 16, 2009

My mom's Doctor put her on the Atkins diet. At first I didn't believe she was going to lose the weight. She went from a size 14 to a 4. I tried doing the diet for about two weeks and I felt great. I lost 7 pounds. Very shocked. It was hard to do, but I will try the plan again this week.

By leilani — On Jul 09, 2008

Atkins diet appears not to be a healthy diet, because of the high level of protein and fat intake. I have heard though, some people say that it works for them, and that losing weight was of utmost importance particularly those who were severely overweight.

There is some evidence that suggests that keeping a daily log of food and drinks one consumes, and the calories the food contains, helps with weight loss. We are so much more aware of what we are doing when we have to write it down.

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