The Classical Atkins Diet Deserves Your Attention!

Atkins: A Brief flashback

So what’s all this talk about the “age old” (in weight loss terms) Atkins Diet?
The father of low-carb diets, Robert Akins may not have been the first to harness the appeal of carb-free, but he definitely was the first to bring the concept to the mainstream dieting public. [1]

In 1963, American physician and cardiologist Robert Atkins came across a study published by Dr Alfred W. Pennington (who was hired by Dupont). [2]

His research explored the theory that cutting starch and sugar from the diet could lead to significant weight loss. Putting the pound-shedding theory to the test, Atkins shrunk his own bulk and adapted the findings into the diet and formidable brand we know today.

The Atkins Diet, officially called the  Atkins Nutritional Approach, is a low-carbohydrate diet promoted by Atkins from a research paper he read in 1958.

The Skinny on The Diet

The Atkins diet is similar to a ketogenic diet as both emphasize the consumption of fat and protein but omit carbohydrates. The body will turn to glycogen stores (carbohydrates) for energy first if supplies are plentiful. Ketogenic diets essentially force the body to switch from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat. This often has the desirable effect of weight loss, though high levels of ketones in the body can be problematic and may lead to a state known as ketosis.

What's Wrong With Atkins Diet?

The diet restricts “net carbs” (digestible carbohydrate grams that affect blood sugar less fiber grams). One effect is a tendency to decrease the onset of hunger, perhaps because of longer duration of digestion (fats and proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates).

The 2002 book New Diet Revolution [3] states that hunger is the number one reason that low-fat diets fail, and that the diet is easier because one is satisfied with adequate protein, fat and fiber.

The Fantastic Four

The diet consists of four stages-

  1.   Induction – It starts by cutting carbs almost completely from your daily diet. In fact, you are encouraged to only eat 20g of net carbs a day – compared to the government guidelines of 300g for men and 230g for women. You should drink eight glasses of water a day. You stay in this phase for at least two weeks, depending on your weight loss.
  2. Balancing – It focuses on continued weight loss and you are now allowed between 25 and 45 grams of net carbs a day. The idea is to slowly re-introduce carbohydrates back into your diet to avoid weight gain.
  3. Pre-maintenance – It continues to re-introduce carbs back into the diet, with five main objectives for dieters including losing the last ’10 pounds’ slowly, testing your tolerance for previously forbidden foods and maintaining previous weight loss. Once you’ve maintained your goal weight for a month you’re ready to move onto stage four.
  4. Lifetime maintenance – This phase is for the lifetime. It is billed simply as maintenance. Atkins suggests that by now you should have discovered how many carbohydrates you can include in your diet without regaining weight.

Health benefits

The Atkins Diet says that its eating plan can prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risks factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Weight loss

The Atkins Diet says that you can lose 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) in the first two weeks of phase 1 — but it also acknowledges that those aren’t typical results. The Atkins Diet also acknowledges that you may initially lose water weight. It says that you’ll continue to lose weight in phases 2 and 3 as long as you don’t eat more carbs than your body can tolerate.

Some myths

Many people believe that the Atkins Diet promotes eating unlimited amounts of fatty meats and cheeses. This was allowed and promoted in early editions of the book. In the newest revision however, this is not promoted. The Atkins Diet does not impose caloric restriction, or definite limits on proteins.

Another common misconception arises from confusion between the Induction Phase and rest of the diet.

The rules for the induction phase have changed since the first printing of Atkin’s Diet Revolution, in which all carbohydrates were counted the same. Today’s version of the diet differentiates between carbohydrates, and counts only “net carbs” toward the daily total. The first two weeks of the Atkins Diet are strict, with only 20g of ‘net’ carbohydrates permitted per day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *