Monday, October 20, 2008

Atkins Diet- Low Carbohydrates and High Protein

The Atkins diet has been around for more than 30 years. Even though it has been associated with a lot of controversies, it still remains a very popular diet. The Atkins diet plan is thought to be followed by millions of people globally. The diet is essential low in carbohydrates and divided in to four phases.

Dr Atkins believed that eating too many carbohydrates is the reason for getting fat. Our body does burn fats carbohydrates and proteins, but the carbohydrates are always used up first. By reducing the intake of carbohydrates, the body is then forced to burn off the protein and fat stores.

By reducing carbohydrate content in the diet, the body breaks fats into ketones which are used for energy. The accumulation of ketones in the body also leads to appetite suppression. One also develops a distinct ketotic breath and constipation. With time all the fat from the body starts to disappear.

The Atkins diet has four phases.

In phase 1, the induction phase which last 2 weeks, one eats a very restricted diet which is low in carbohydrates. The weight loss is quite fast.

In the 2nd phase, some foods can be eaten and the weight loss is gradual.

In the 3rd phase, the pre maintenance phase, one eats just enough carbohydrates to allow the body to get used to this diet. Also some other foods can be eaten to maintain health.

In the 4th phase, the diet is moderated to maintain your target weight. This is the diet for the rest of life.

In the first stage, one can only eat about 20 g of carbohydrates a day. Later the carbohydrates are increased but only slightly. You can forget about eating sugars, rice, bread, pizza, hamburgers, pudding, desserts, potatoes, pasta or anything made from flour.

A typical Atkins diet is as follows:


1st phase - beverage, bacon, ham
2nd phase- egg, crisp bread, beverage, tomato juice
3rd phase- egg, fruit, thin bread, beverage
4th phase- egg, fruit, thin bread, beverage


1st phase- bacon, cheese without bread, salad, water
2nd phase- salad, beverage
3rd phase- potato, beverage
4th phase- chicken salad, beverage


1st phase- red meat, fish, poultry, dessert with no flour
2nd phase- salad, sea food, some vegetables, dessert
3rd phase- salad, vegetable, fruits
4th phase- shrimps, salad, meat/fish/poultry, potato, vegetable, beverage

The Atkins diet severely limits carbohydrate consumption and has rigid guidelines. Dieters are encouraged to maintain a low carbohydrate intake until they reach their target weight. Dr Atkins says to prevent weight gain; individuals should take in no more than 60g of carbohydrates day for the rest of life.

One should note that the recommended daily intake of carbohydrates for healthy individuals is 300 g a day. However, despite what Dr Atkins says, there is evidence that high protein diets can lead to osteoporosis, heart disease, lack of vitamins and mineral deficiencies. There is no doubt that the Atkins diet does reduce weight in the early period but the long term results are questionable.

All individuals who want to try the Atkins diet should also include exercise into their program.

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