The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet books have sold more than 45 million copies over 40 years, and in the obesity epidemic this diet and accompanying Atkins food products are popular. The diet claims to be effective at producing weight loss despite ad libitum consumption of fatty meat, butter, and other high-fat dairy products, restricting only the intake of carbohydrates to under 30 g a day. Low-carbohydrate diets have been regarded as fad diets, but recent research questions this view.
A systematic review of low-carbohydrate diets found that the weight loss achieved is associated with the duration of the diet and restriction of energy intake, but not with restriction of carbohydrates. Two groups have reported longer-term randomised studies that compared instruction in the low-carbohydrate diet with a low-fat calorie-reduced diet in obese patients. Both trials showed better weight loss on the low-carbohydrate diet after 6 months, but no difference after 12 months.
This is a low-carb diet which can possibly generate health benefits like preventing high blood pressure and heart disease. The Atkins diet was devised 4 decades ago, and it relies heavily on protein, healthy fat, and vegetables.
An Atkins Food Guide Pyramid accompanies this diet plan, which shows the choice of food you can consume as you successfully lose weight.
Furthermore, the Atkins diet is divided into some phases, as follows:
In the “induction” phase, you have to practice total abstinence from the following items:
- Dairy with the exception of butter and cheese
- Vegetables with high starch concentration
- Alcoholic drinks
You are allowed to eat 20 grams of Net Carbs (the total grams of carbohydrates minus grams of fiber) daily. In this phase, you will lose the most weight. Not only will you get the necessary motivation to continue dieting, but your body’s function of burning fat will also be augmented.
This is the Ongoing weight loss, or OWL, phase, where you will gradually incorporate a small quantity of carbohydrates into your diet. These can include items like nuts, yogurt, and berries.
This phase will continue until you are 10 pounds from your target weight. Meanwhile, you can consume 24-45 Net Carbs daily.
This is the pre-maintenance stage where you continue to add a little more carbs to your diet in the form of whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits. This phase will continue minimum for a month after you have reached your target weight, and you can consume 50-70 Net Carbs in this time.
This is the lifetime maintenance stage. After reaching the weight of your desire, you will continue to consume more than 75 Net Carbs daily for life. At this stage, your calculation of Net Carbs will become more accurate.
How Weight Loss is Achieved
The Atkins diet stimulates ketosis. This is a process where the body’s metabolism starts to burn fat for energy instead of glucose. When you consume carb-rich foods, the body converts it into glucose.
Since only a certain amount of glucose can be retained in the body, it is naturally burned off, leaving room for fat to buildup. So theoretically, if you reduce the consumption of carbohydrates, the body will burn more fat.
Even in clinical studies, the Atkins diet is not only shown to help in weight loss, but it also allows people to better control their appetite. However, you may have noted that the Atkins diet plan does not incorporate foods rich in potassium and Vitamin C, and this can weaken one’s body.
That is why people who follow the Atkins diet plan are recommended to take mineral and vitamin supplements. In addition, consult your doctor or nutritionist before taking this plan or other weight loss programs to have a better understating of calorie calculation.
Recommendations to the public
There is no clear evidence that Atkins-style diets are better than any others for helping people stay slim, and despite the popularity and apparent success of the Atkins diet, evidence in support of its use lags behind. Although the diet appears, as claimed, to promote weight loss without hunger, at least in the short term, the long-term effects on health and disease prevention are unknown.
Patients who want to try these diets should be told that, although safety cannot be guaranteed, they seem to be safe for short-term use (up to 6 months) as long as weight loss occurs. Scientifically, the most solid current recommendation for people who want to lose weight and keep weight off is a permanent switch to a diet reduced in calories and fat in combination with physical activity, which will also reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes and re-infarction among high risk individuals