This high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diet was developed by Robert Atkins in the 1960s. The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet that can help people lose weight without starving or counting calories. It is claimed that the Atkins Diet’s approach to carbohydrates will burn your body’s fat stores, regulate your blood sugar, and help you achieve optimal health without leaving you hungry or starved.
This diet can help prevent a range of health problems, including headaches, blood sugar imbalances, food intolerances, allergies, and more. Proponents of the Atkins diet claim that if you avoid carbohydrate-rich foods, you can lose weight by consuming as much protein and fat as possible. One big reason this high protein content is so appealing to dieters who have been unsuccessful in trying to lose weight with a low-calorie, low-fat diet is that on the Atkins diet, they can get as much protein as possible of calories and fat if carbohydrate intake is limited. The Atkins diet promises that not only will you lose weight and not go hungry by eating a low-carb diet, but you’ll also improve heart health and memory function, among other health benefits.
In addition to its possible beneficial effects on weight, the Atkins diet is popular because it is free to consume as much protein and fat (such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, and cheese) as dietary needs require, although Carbohydrate intake should be limited initially to no more than 20 grams per day. The Atkins Weight Loss Program doesn’t limit food or calorie intake, but bans certain foods, such as foods high in sugar, white flour, and pasta, in favour of meat, fish, and cheese. People on the Atkins diet are also encouraged to choose nutrient-dense foods, including healthy fats, high-fibre carbohydrates. They also a variety of protein sources, such as seafood, beef, and poultry. Today, Atkins is more focused on lean protein, healthy fats, and high-fibre vegetables.
Phases of the Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet has four phases:
- Phase 1 (Induction): at this phase you are expected to eat from a specific list of protein foods like seafood, meat, cheese, and eggs and stay below 20 grams of “net carbs” daily. In this strict keto diet phase, the goal is to get your body into ketosis. This will make you feel less hungry. The strict phase lasts a minimum of two weeks.
- Phase 2 (Ongoing weight loss, or OWL): Adding food back gradually is an important part of the weight loss process. Start out by adding 5-grams of net carbs every week and work your way up to your goal weight.
- Phase 3 (Pre-maintenance): Keep incorporating higher amounts of carbs into your diet. Start fine-tuning your intake based on how you’re progressing. Follow phase 3 until you reach your desired weight.
- Phase 4 (Maintenance): A healthy meal plan should consist of carbs within a range that allows you to maintain your weight. Stick to phase 4 for the rest of your life.
Dr. Atkins, a renowned cardiologist, restricted the intake of sugar and carbohydrates by his patients. He found that when his patients avoided carbohydrate foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta, and fruit, they easily lost weight. This was achieved without starving or intentionally restricting calories. Dr. Robert Atkins has developed a diet that allows you to significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake. The Atkins diet has three different plans to choose from:
Atkins 20, Atkins 40, and Atkins 100. These diet plans are all different in their respective dietary goals. However, they are quite similar when it comes to their intended foundation of limited carbs while relying on the same density of foods.
Pros and Cons
In Robert Atkins’ early books titled Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Atkins made the controversial argument that a low-carb diet provides a metabolic advantage because “burning fat requires more calories, so you consume more calories”; the Atkins diet was said to be “a high-calorie way to stay slim forever.” Over the years, Robert Atkins has refined his approach as new dietary and nutritional research became available.
The results of the Atkins trials are consistent with many other studies, showing that low-carbohydrate diets can lead to dramatic weight loss and improved health outcomes. There is also some evidence that an Atkins-style low-carb diet can help prevent a slowdown in metabolism while maintaining weight, which can increase the likelihood of maintaining weight. According to the study, following a low-carbohydrate diet may improve blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. This is likely due to weight loss from the diet and not the fact that Atkins has a unique glycaemic effect.
What health professionals think about the diet
Like any popular diet, there are both benefits and risks to the restricted eating plan. Most people can lose weight with just about any calorie-restricted diet, at least in the short term. In fact, almost any weight loss diet can reduce or even reverse risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Most health professionals believe that avoiding major food groups can be detrimental to long-term health. A high protein diet such as the Atkins diet, if followed consistently over a long period of time, can have a negative impact on such areas like bone health. Kidney function may also be altered for people with existing kidney disease. Researchers warn that while high-protein diets may be helpful for some people trying to lose weight, it’s important to check with your doctor to make sure the approach is safe for you. There is no reliable evidence that the Atkins diet is effective in achieving sustainable weight loss. It is unbalanced because it promotes unlimited intake of protein and saturated fat and may increase the risk of heart disease.