The Atkins diet is also known as the low carb diet was introduced by Dr. Robert C. Atkins in 1972. Coming straight to the point, this diet claims that you can lose weight even by eating proteins and fats in abundance as long as you avoid carbohydrates. Almost 20 studies done in the past 10 to 12 years support this claim of the Atkins diet. Low Carbs can lead to many health benefits, especially for obese, overweight people.
Dr. Robert C. Atkins wrote a whole book about it in 1972 which he talks in detail about the scientific benefits of the Atkins diet. Following that, much researches have been done on the subject and numerous other books have been written. Atkins diet is a very popular trendy diet of the 21st century but let’s find out what is behind the picture.
When Atkins was first introduced it had many critics who claimed that it is very unhealthy. This criticism had a large influence on the general public and people formed a negative idea of the diet, mainly because most of the critics consisted of people in the mainstream media and major health authorities. Doctors and nutritionists also disapproved of it because of the high-fat content, the diet contained. However, prior to that new studies were done on the effects of fat on the body which showed that saturated fat isn’t bad for health. Hence once more the Atkins diet started thriving.
Benefits of Atkins diet
Researchers studied the diet more profoundly and found out its various health benefits other than weight loss. Studies showed that high saturated fat content in the Atkins diet also regulates blood sugar levels. Other than that people who followed the Atkins diet also showed higher levels of HDL cholesterol- beneficial for the human body. Although in a subset of individuals it raised LDL cholesterol- bad for the human body. They concluded that in a way, high-fat diets are more advantageous than low-fat diets.
A big reason why The Atkins diet works wonders for weight loss is that high protein foods make you feel full and less hungry throughout the day. This promotes the intake of fewer calories throughout your day without you being aware of it. Whereas Carbohydrates make you crave more carbs. This gets you in a loop of the Carb marathon.
4 stages of following the Atkins diet
- Stage 1 induction: The first two weeks on the Atkins diet will be your induction period. In this phase, you will eat foods high in protein and fat. Carb intake will be minimum and will mostly come from greens and veggies. Make sure your carb consumption is less than 20 grams
- Stage 2 balancing: In the second phase, you’ll start adding more fats to your diet by introducing nuts to your meals. By this time all carbohydrates will be cut off except low-carb vegetables and fruits.
- Stage 3 tuning: When you start losing weight fast, add 5 more grams of carbohydrates daily in your diet till your weight loss becomes slow.
- Stage 4 maintaining: When you reach your goals and your weight becomes ideal and constant. You can slowly start adding healthy carbs to your meal plans as long as your weight doesn’t increase.
Remember sometimes following these stages may get very complex and confuse you. These stages can sure help you but these aren’t crucial to the Atkins diet. You’ll be in good hands as long as you follow the diet plan we’re about to tell.
Some people don’t move past the induction stage. They are then following a different diet plan that is called the keto diet- an extremely low-carb ketogenic diet.
Foods to stop eating
If you start the Atkins diet, you have to stop eating the following:
- Trans fats: These fats are commonly present in man processed foods
- Sugar: try to stay away from ice-creams and soft drinks, strictly. Also try to avoid cakes, fruit juices, and sweets.
- Oils: Some oils to avoid are soybean and cottonseed oil. There are many others if you’re heavily obese but following these two will work just fine.
- Foods having less fat: avoid these because these usually contain a lot of sugar.
- High carb vegetables: In the first stage of the Atkins diet, avoid carrots and turnips. You can begin adding them to your diet as you advance.
- High carb fruits: In the induction stage of your diet avoid apples, grapes, pears, and bananas as they have the high carb content
- Starches: Avoid all types of potatoes in the induction phase. You can add them once you move past it.
- Legumes: Also skip Chickpeas, beans, and lentils altogether for the two weeks of the induction phase.
Foods to start eating
You should start including these foods in your meal plans
- Seafood: seafood include Salmon, trout, and all other kinds of fatty fishes
- Eggs: Prefer eating pastured eggs rich in Omega-3 content
- Low-carb veggies: some low-carb vegetables include spinach and broccoli etc.
- Dairy: Some examples of high fat-containing dairy to consider are butter, cheese, and natural yogurt full of fat.
- Dry foods: By dry foods, we mean nuts and good seeds. They include almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds, etc.
- Full fats: They include oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil. More so avocadoes and their oil are also high-fat foods to consider.
- Meats: These include all kinds of meats including red meat, lamb, pork, chicken, etc.
Just remember if you include fatty proteins with nuts and full organic fats and cut off carbs altogether, you’ll start losing weight in no time.
Some drinks to consider if you’re following the Atkins diet are:
- Water: Water is the healthiest and stressed-upon beverage in the Atkins diet. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Coffee: Some research shows that coffee is healthy with a high-fat diet because of its high percentage of antioxidants.
- Green tea: Green tea is very beneficial for weight loss.
Alcohol can also be mixed with your beverages. Sugar-free wines are good. However, beers have to be avoided as they have high carb content.
Some Permissive foods
You can consider many indulgent foods in the Atkins diet. Surely exceptions are made when the taste excels the disadvantages.
Dark chocolates, bacon, and cheese are some yummy indulgent foods.
These foods are viewed as bad because of their high-fat content and people have a preconceived assumption that fatty foods are bad for health. However, when you’re on a low-carb diet like Atkins, Fat burns very fast because it is used for energy as the main fuel for energy- carbs aren’t present.
Guide for Vegetarians
It is conceivable to follow the Atkins diet as a vegetarian. However, we wouldn’t recommend it.
As a vegetarian, for your protein intake, you can eat soy foods. You would have to consume a lot of nuts. Some fats we recommend for vegetarians are olive and coconut oil as these are excellent full-fat sources.
Atkins diet is also very friendly for Lacto-ovo-vegetarians as they can consider eating dairy in plenty amounts.
What’s the menu like in Atkins
Here’s a meal plan for a normal day on the Atkins diet, just to give you an idea
- Breakfast: You can eat Scrambled eggs with onions sautéed in olive oil and cheese for breakfast. Yum. You can go with coffee, water, green tea(no sugar), and even a diet soda for drinks.
- Lunch: Greens and salad with chicken (can be fried in olive oil for taste), some bacon, and a fine dressing. Any recommended drink can be consumed.
- Dinner: For dinner, you can eat Baked steak (can be chicken, beef, mutton, or salmon), served with creamy sauce, veggies and cucumbers. You can even add mashed potatoes once you’re off the induction period. Any recommended drink can be consumed.
- Snacks: For snacks, we’ll recommend mainly sticking to nuts. You can have 1 snack at night and 1 in the afternoon. Any High protein or high-fat product can be used as a snack if it is low carb and low sugar. Some delicious snacks are chocolate creamy shakes and granola bars.
Risks related to the Atkins diet
Cutting carbs radically so suddenly may result in your body reacting to it, in the induction period. That can result in headaches, fatigue, feeling lightheadedness, and stomach problems. Some low-carb diet plans can result in deficiencies in nutrition, vitamins, and fiber. Lack of fiber in the diet can also give rise to diarrhea and constipation.
Eating less than 20 grams of carbs, which is recommended in the induction period can result in ketosis. Ketosis is the series of actions in which your body breaks down fat to use it as a fuel as there are no carbs or glucose present. This process can cause nausea and bad breath.
In addition to that, you should always refer to a doctor before following the Atkins diet. It may be very beneficial for some and very disadvantageous for others. People with kidney problems aren’t advised to follow the diet. This diet can also cause some issues in pregnant women. As for Breastfeeding mothers, they shouldn’t follow any low-carb diet.
The Atkins diet is a quite healthy, plausible, and convincing meal plan for losing weight. If you’re serious about starting it, we’ll recommend consulting with your doctor beforehand so it doesn’t do more bad than good to you.