Atkins Diet Review

By | 30 April, 2011

Atkins Diet Review

Atkins Diet review

The best-known low carb diet and the name synonymous with the low carb lifestyle is the Atkins Diet. It is and has always been a controversial low carb diet, so there are quite a few reviews if you search for them – not all of them impartial.

My own Atkins Diet review aims to cover the basics, outlining the different phases, positive and negative elements of this eating plan, and how it might work for you.

Every low carb diet has its limitations – this one is renowned for what it does allow!

Atkins Diet food

Atkins to many means bacon, cheese, heavy cream, steaks, eggs fried in butter… we’ve all heard that these foods are allowed and that nobody should be afraid of saturated fat – as long as you keep the carbs out of your diet. They are all allowed, yes!  There are limits, however, and these are certainly not the only things you should be eating on the Atkins diet!

Let’s look at the 4 different phases in Atkins:

The Atkins Diet phases

Phase 1: Induction

The Induction phase lasts for 2 weeks; carbohydrate intake is reduced drastically to 20g per day and instead you eat unlimited protein and fat from allowed food lists. The only carbs allowed are certain vegetables like lettuce, broccoli and tomatoes (maximum three cups per day.) During Induction you cannot have yogurt, fruit or starchy vegetables.

Phase 2: Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL)

Phase two allows you to gradually increase your carbohydrate intake by 5 grams each week – in this way you are able to carefully monitor the effects and you’ll be able to tell if you can add more without gaining weight. You continue in this way, slowly increasing carbohydrates until you stop losing weight. When that happens, you subtract five grams of carbohydrates from your daily intake. This level will allow you to maintain your weight.

food for insulin resistancePhase 3: Pre-Maintenance

In this phase, you transition from weight loss to weight maintenance. You can increase your carbohydrate allowance by 10-gram increments each week as long as you continue to keep the weight off. You’re learning what will work uniquely for you.

Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance

The final phase allows you to select from a wide variety of foods, while still limiting the amount of carbohydrates you eat. By the time you reach maintenance, you should have developed an acute awareness of your personal carbohydrate limit, so that even when you eat foods that you may not have had for a long while, you’ll be more conscious of the best way to incorporate them into your diet without regaining weight.

Comparing the Atkins Diet to other diets

People have drawn comparisons between the Atkins Diet and several others, most recently the Dukan Diet, which is very popular right now – although I personally don’t see much resemblance, other than the fact there are 4 phases to each. However, Protein Power and The Schwarzbein Principle both recognize the value of a high protein, low carb diet which has a fair amount of fat in it. In all of these, the type of fat is key: and the one to avoid is the trans fat (the man-made type).

Atkins Diet RecipesAtkins Diet Pros and Cons

The Atkins Diet name has both its advantages and its drawbacks. On the one hand, a lot of people have heard of it, so if they consider trying low carb, Atkins may well be their first port of call.

On the other hand, there are so many misconceptions about the Atkins Diet and even about Dr Atkins himself, that some people will dismiss this valuable resource, just through being misinformed. So many people can attest to this as a method that really works, the Atkins Diet is truly its own phenomenon.

Pros:

  • Eating unlimited quantities from allowed food lists – if you go to the Atkins Diet website, you can look in detail at what foods are allowed during each phase.
  • Very liberal high-fat choices in many of the phases, subject only to carb restriction and careful monitoring
  • A personalized experience which acknowledges that we all have different sizes, weight loss goals and metabolisms
  • Like most low-carb diets, the focus is on real, natural food and aims to rid us of our carb addictions
  • You will rarely feel hungry
  • Is claimed to restore normal metabolic function

Cons:

  • According to the core principle of the Atkins diet, by limiting carbohydrates your body is forced to burn its stored fat for fuel. For a few people, especially those who do not have much weight to lose, and perhaps with hormonal issues such as menopause, the amount of dietary fat allowed in Atkins will hinder this process, because the fat consumed in meals will be used first.  This will prevent the burning of stored fat, so calories will still need to be reduced in order for weight loss to occur.
  • The high fat content is still hotly debated; advocates of Atkins will argue that saturated fat is only harmful in combination with carbohydrates. Many medical professionals are still concerned about its long-term effects, particularly in connection with heart disease.
  • Ketosis (the state where your body is burning stored fat) can make your breath smell weird.
  • You are advised to take supplements – an acknowledgement that nutrients are lacking in this diet.

My Atkins Diet review

I hope that you’ve learned something from my Atkins Diet review and if you’ve never tried a low carb diet before, this may be the one that has the most appeal. My aim is to show the different low carb diet types out there so that you can judge which one suits you best. The most important thing is to start! While nothing in life is guaranteed, switching to low carb is the best way to get your insulin resistance under control.

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