There would be almost no one who is not interested in losing weight. Although some of us may seek the help of a nutritionist or a professional trainer, many of us end up finding diets and eating habits from others. Read about What Foods To Eat and Benefits of Atkins Diet
One such diet that has been very popular and widely followed is the Atkins diet.
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What is the Atkins Diet?
Limited consumption of carbohydrates is one of the prerequisites for weight loss. The Atkins diet was designed to keep this in mind. As the name suggests, the Atkins diet was designed by Dr. Robert Atkins, an American cardiologist. He first wrote about it in the 1970s in his book, The New Diet Revolution.
This diet is based on the principle that you can lose weight by limiting the intake of carbohydrates while consuming as much protein and fat as you desire. Although the demand is rather controversial, the regime has yielded positive results in many cases and has become extremely popular over the last decade.
In short, this Atkins diet plan imposes a severe restriction on carbohydrate intake, including foods for sugar, bread, cereals, starch, and pasta.
The Atkins Diet: How Does Atkins Diet Work?
The theory of the Atkins diet can be explained in a simple way. Our body is similar to an engine and the fuels are the fuel needed to make it work. When the availability or rather consumption of fuels is restricted, the engine (our body) is obliged to use a substitute fuel, that is to say, stored fats.
The drastic reduction of carbohydrates forces the body to burn fat for energy. This process is known as “ketosis”, where the stored fat is converted to fatty acids. A person in a ketosis state gets energy from “ketones”. These are small carbon fragments created by the degradation of stored fat layers. In this stage, you tend to have less hunger and therefore, likely to eat less.
Another reason why the Atkins diet causes weight loss is that carbohydrates stimulate insulin production. Insulin converts excess carbohydrate into fat, resulting in increased hunger and weight gain. By limiting carbohydrate intake, the Atkins diet stimulates the metabolism of the body. This causes the body burning of the body rather than burning glucose. In addition, fewer carbohydrates cause less insulin formation and therefore less fat creation.
Phases of Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet plan has four stages or phases, the stage of induction of which is the most difficult to follow. Each phase is well defined and less restrictive for carbohydrate consumption than the previous one. There is no specific duration of each phase because it depends largely on the additional weight of the person. The four phases of the Atkins diet are explained below.
Phase I – Induction:
This is the introduction phase of the Atkins diet where carbohydrate intake is limited to only 20 grams per day. During the first two weeks, focus on eating low-carbohydrate foods such as green vegetables, salads, seafood, meat, and eggs.
You can try cooking with eggs, chicken breasts, fish, canola or olive oil, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, and nuts.
Low carb Indian dishes such as Moong Dal, Dosa and Paneer are perfect for the Atkins induction phase.
The goal of this phase is to induce a change in the chemistry of your body. This leads to ‘Lipolysis’ (fat burning for energy) and ‘Kostosis’ which allows your body to move from the use of glucose to energy to the use of fat.
Thus, this phase is not only intended to cause a reduction of fat, but also to suppress your appetite.
Phase II – On-going Weight Loss (OWL):
In the second phase, carbohydrates are slowly reintroduced into your diet. This results in a slowdown in weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. Daily carbohydrate consumption is increased by 5 grams per day. In this step, you can add dairy products, nuts, berries, fruits and grains in your diet.
- You can have dry roti or a slice of brown bread with peanut butter for breakfast.
- Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and cashews make snacks to satisfy your hunger.
- A dosa made from “besan” (chickpea flour) is a good low-carb substitute for roti.
This step continues until the diet is at 5 to 10 pounds of desired weight loss and is primarily concerned with increasing dietary choices while continuing the diet program safely.
Phase III – Pre-Maintenance:
In this phase, weight loss slows even further than dieters near their target weight. It aims to increase carb consumption by 10 grams per day. According to the regime of Dr. Atkins, this stage should last about 2 to 3 months. This is basically a learning phase for dieters on how to maintain their ideal weight using the Akins approach. Complex carbohydrates such as beans, peas, and fetid vegetables are introduced in this phase.
You can add high-carbohydrate vegetables to your dishes such as green peas, black peas, rajma sprouts, etc.
A single serving of low-carbohydrate fruits can also be incorporated such as mangoes, strawberries, apples, oranges, grapes, grapefruits, cantaloupes, dried and fresh apricots, plums and peaches.
Phase IV – Lifetime Maintenance:
As it appears from his name, this phase lasts the rest of your life. The objective of this phase is to maintain the healthy weight gained during the diet. However, if you increase weight, you have to go back and start from the induction phase. In the maintenance phase, you become aware of your body’s need for carbohydrate intake. You need to know the maximum carbohydrates that can be taken without gaining weight. You can continue to enjoy low-carb foods such as roti or brown rice. As Dr. Atkins says, “this way of life is the basis of a healthier life”.
Benefits Of Atkins Diet:
The Atkins diet plan has been studied in detail to understand its effects on the human body. It proved to be moderately successful, especially in the first few weeks. Participants benefit from the following benefits of Atkins:
1. Weight Loss:
Weight loss is the main benefit of this diet. The drastic reduction of carbohydrates causes the accumulation of fat in your body in energy. The end result is weight loss.
2. Simple to Follow:
This diet plan is relatively simple to follow. All you need to do is learn to eat and focus on basic counts.
3. Highlights Correct Carbs Level:
The greatest strength of this diet is that it allows you to know the correct level of carbohydrates you need to maintain a healthy weight. Different people have different levels of sensitivity to carbohydrates and this diet is a way to know your own level.
4. Weight Maintenance:
The Atkins diet not only helps to lose weight but also to maintain it. The diet allows you to determine the level of carbohydrate intake in which you can maintain a healthy weight through the possible increase of a number of fuels consumed.
5. Promotes Good Health:
The Atkins diet encourages you to eat foods rich in nutrition as well as vitamin and nutritional supplements as needed. Thus, it promotes good health.
6. Disease Prevention:
As noted earlier, restricting your carbs intake decreases insulin levels in the body, making it effective in preventing diseases such as diabetes. Research has indicated that Atkins Diet followers have healthier blood pressure levels, better cholesterol levels, and less weight gain compared to other diets.
7. Promotes Balanced Diet:
The Atkins diet has been modified over the years to incorporate a variety of foods, including lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and, in some cases, whole grains and healthy fats.