The Atkins diet, created by the late Dr. Robert Atkin, is a low carbohydrate, high protein diet. The Atkins diet is separated into four distinct phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance, and all have varying carbohydrate intake values. The assumption behind the carbohydrate reduction is that you will force your body to burn fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrate stores which will allow you to lose weight quickly.
- As protein is the hardest nutrient for your body to digest, it will leave you feeling fuller for a longer period of time and also will burn excess calories to break down the protein
- Due to the high protein intake, the Atkins diet is great for people currently undergoing a strength training routine as it will help repair muscle tissue
- Is an effective way to lose weight
- Potential”carb crash” during Induction is a common occurrence and can sabotage your diet efforts
- May not be possible to maintain longt-term
Diet and Nutrition
The Atkins diet comprises of four phases to jumpstart your metabolism and to continuously burn calories. Phase 1, or Induction, lasts for two weeks. You will eliminate all simple carbohydrates and sugars from your diet and eat 20g of carbs per day while increasing your activity level. This forces the body to use fat stores for fuel which results in weight loss far quicker than a lot of other plans.
During this phase, you can eat lean protein, good fats, and non-starchy vegetables. Fruits and nuts are also eliminated during this two week period. Phase 2, or Ongoing Weight Loss, is the next step where you will begin adding back fruit, nuts, seeds, and more vegetables, slowly increasing your daily carbohydrate levels until you reach your CCLL, or Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing. Your CCLL can be between 40 – 120 g of carbs per day and only through slowly increasing your intake will you find your threshold by adding 5g per week. Once your weight loss stalls, you will know what your threshold is.
You will continue on this phase until you are within 10 lbs of your target weight. Phase 3, or Pre-Maintenance, is the slowest weight loss phase in the Atkins diet. The reason for this is to allow your body to naturally get to your goal weight. You will increase your CCLL by 10g per week until you reach a point where you continue to lose weight while eating the maximum amount of carbs you can. This value is called your ACE, or Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium. Once you’ve been at your goal weight for a month, you are onto the next phase. Phase 4, or Lifetime Maintenance, where you will continue to eat at your ACE for the rest of your life.
Fitness & Exercise
Increasing your activity levels is highly recommended by the Atkins Diet to twenty minutes three times per week.
The Atkins Diet is considered a lifestyle change as a way to reduce your carbohydrate intake and maintain a healthy weight. As there is no fitness or exercise instruction provided, it is not a well rounded program. However, the Atkins Diet is a proven program that works to reduce your weight and that speaks for itself.
Membership at Atkins.com is free and you have access to sample meal plans, lists of acceptable foods, community forums, recipes, and an online shop to purchase their food products.
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