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The Atkins Diet-- It Just Might Work for You!

Updated on June 30, 2014

What is Atkins All About?

For millions of people around the world, the Atkins Diet has proved to be successful. By following the approach of Dr. Atkins to losing weight through the reduction of carbs and increasing vegetable and protein consumption as well as including exercise and nutritional supplements, the Atkins diet continues to be popular even decades after it was first introduced.

Once you read the book called The Atkins Diet, you will find out that it is ideal that you have two weeks without any interfering activities from the Atkins diet induction phase. For example, it is not a good idea to begin the diet if you are planning to attend a celebration, wedding reception or go on a cruise where the event will involve tons of food. Clear your schedule after seriously looking at the calendar in order for you to give this program one hundred per cent commitment.

Often called the Atkins Nutritional Approach, the Atkins Diet is a diet comprised of low carbohydrates that Robert Atkins promotes. Atkins used studies for resolving his own condition of being overweight in the year nineteen seventy-two. Later, he promoted this particular method in a book series beginning with 1972’s Dr Atkins Diet Revolution. His next book came out in the year 2002 entitled Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution. The diet had become modified in parts but the original concepts were not altered.

What is the Atkins Diet All About?

Limited carbohydrate consumption is what the Atkins diet is all about. Doing this will supposedly switch the metabolism of the body from glucose metabolism as energy over the conversion of stored fat in the body to energy. Ketosis is the name of the process, and starts with lower levels of blood glucose, usually prior to mealtime. Reduced levels of insulin induce fat-consuming lipolysis in order for ketone bodies to become produced. Also, starch or glucose as well as other caloric carbohydrates increase sugar in the blood after consumption, which affects the body. In diabetes treatment, levels of blood sugar are utilized. Because of lower digestibility, fiber provides no or little food energies and do not affect insulin and glucose levels significantly.


Atkins made arguments that were controversial in his earlier books that a diet that consists of low carbohydrates produce an advantage of metabolism since fat burning involves more calories, thus, more calories are expended as well. One study was cited by him in which he made an estimate that this advantage consisted of nine hundred calories per day. One study or a Lancet review made a conclusion that there dieters were merely eating less calories due to boredom and that there was no such as thing as metabolic advantages. The diet’s simplicity and monotony was what was inhibiting food intake and appetite.

Carbohydrate Restrictions

The Atkins Diet restricts grams of digestible carbohydrates affecting the blood sugar less grams of fiber. One of the effects includes tendencies of decreasing hunger’s onset, which may be due to longer digestion durations, as protein and fat take longer compared to carbohydrates to digest. The New Diet Revolution in 2002 claims that the number one reason that diets low in fat fail is due to hunger. This diet thus claims to be easier since people are satisfied with adequate fiber, fat and protein.

Calculating Net Carbs

You can calculate net carbs from sources of food through subtracting sugar alcohols and fiber from the total carbs. Even if some recommendations involve not counting alcohol as carbohydrates for diabetics, sugar alcohol does contain about 2 calories for every gram. For example, fructose found in many current sweeteners happens to have 4 calories per gram but does have a glycemic index which is very low. Also, fructose does not cause the production of insulin since there are low GLUT5 levels in β cells. The hormone for regulating appetite is called leptin and this is not triggered after fructose consumption. For some, this might create a feeling of being unsatisfied after consuming what may promote bingeing behavior culminating in an increased level of blood triglycerides that arise from the liver’s conversion of fructose.

If You Are Diabetic

Atkins’ book also states that for those who have abnormally high blood sugar or have diabetes mellitus type 2, the diet of Atkins eliminates or decreases the necessity for drugs for the treatment of these conditions. Reportedly, the blood sugar control program of Atkins is said to be an approach to permanent diabetes risk factor management and weight control which is individualized. Nonetheless, the type 2 diabetes causes remain an obscurity. In conventional diabetes therapy, the Atkins Diet is not really accepted.

Which Food?

In all categories, preferred foods include unprocessed, whole food with a glycemic index that is low. Restrictions, however, for low glycemic carbs like vegetables and rice are the same as those for white bread and sugar, which are high glycemic carbs. The company formed for marketing foods that actually work with the Atkins diet is called Atkins Nutritionals. This company recommends that not more than twenty per cent of eaten calories while on the diet come from fat that is saturated.

This diet allows all fish and meat as well as vegetables, olive oil, mayonnaise, butter and eggs. You can later add dairy, seeds, nuts and fruits as the diet progresses. In late stages, dieters can include oatmeal and other grains, beans and whole wheat pasta. This diet never allows food with extra sugar added, white rice, white pasta or white bread.

Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is what the Atkins diet also happens to be. In diets of this type, there are ketones productions that contribute to the Kreb cycle energy production. Diets that are ketogenic such as this one rely on the way blood glucose is responded to by insulin. In the pancreas, beta cells produce the insulin hormone as a response of high blood glucose levels, such as after digesting a high carb meal. Insulin’s primary function is to shuttle glucose to peripheral tissues to the blood, where this will be necessary for stored fat or fuel. Thus, insulin is a regulator of excess blood glucose.

Since there are fewer carbohydrates that ketogenic dieters eat, there is no glucose that triggers the response of insulin. Thus, the body needs to look for alternate sources of fuel to fulfil its metabolism needs. In diets such as this one, the main fuel sources for cells of human beings are now less than the needed supply. Thus, each cell needs to take different steps for converting fuel stored to glucose. Other than ingesting carbohydrates, which is converted directly to sugar and available immediately to use as energy when it gets into the blood, cells need to depend on the production of glucose from conversion of either stored fat or amino acids (protein).

When there are low glucose blood levels. Hormones regulated get a release to signal for the necessity to elevate sugar in the blood. This contrasts insulin actions. Since the physical body of human beings are less bale to make up for the hypoglycemic state than it is for hypoglycaemia, there is a release of hormones like glucagon, cortisol, epinephrine or growth hormones which causes a cascade resulting in a release of glycogen from the fat and liver cell conversion of triacylglycerol to fatty acid.

Where to Begin?

As you know by now, Dr. Robert Atkins developed the low carb Atkins Diet to get control of his own problem with weight after his training as a professional. The diet had such great results that he then went on to publish a book series on implementing its success. At the moment, the diet is considered to be a revolutionary plan of dieting. The Atkins diet shifts your body’s metabolism into over-drive more frequently than other plans of eating since it forces your physique to burn less refined carbs for energy as well as more fat. Thus, you lose fatty cells which can then help in increasing the health of your heart as well. Conceptually, the Atkins Diet is fairly easy but it does require your abilities to sticking to plans that will assist you. Get your weight back on track with this diet.

If you recall what we have discussed previously, the first two weeks of the diet is called the induction phase. It involves cutting out all except twenty carbohydrate grams and your body then gets ‘shocked’ into a state of burning fat due to the lack of carbs. At this time, you should eat only salad greens, vegetable oil, butter, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fish, poultry and meat. Approximately eight glasses of water should be drunk each day and you need to limit alcohol if not do without it. You can also begin by taking a multivitamin at this time.

What is Obesity?

According to this diet, obesity results from eating excessive carbohydrates, particularly those in the form of white sugar and white flour. When eating carbs, the body then turns the consumed carbohydrates into sugar or glucose, raising levels of sugar in the blood. Each day, the body can only hold so much glucose so it burns as much as it can. With this type of diet by Atkins, you get to eat less carbs which moves your body from the state where it burns carbs to one where it begins burning fat, in a situation called ‘ketosis.’ When burning fat, there is the occurrence of weight loss. The carb types that the diet allows are higher in fiber, protein and fat so that when the body does eat them, they are taken in gradually and the levels of blood sugar remain balanced and steady.

No More Counting Calories!

On the Atkins diet, you can finally put an end to counting calories! However, on this diet, portions are what you need to watch out for. This diet consists of eating three meals a day plus 2 snacking times. In other words, you can eat four or five meals. Each meal needs to include four to six protein ounces like chicken and 3 vegetable servings each day. To benefit the most out of this program, daily vitamin supplements and regular exercise are also recommended.

Four Phases

There are four phases included in the diet by Atkins. Induction is the name of the first phase and this limits you to twenty daily net carbs with most coming from vegetable foods. The total carb amount in a specific food minus the content of fiber equals the net carbs. This phase is created so that it moves your body from burning carbs to burning fat and ‘jump starts’ losing weight, so to speak. This phase lasts for approximately fourteen days and when the initial weight loss has been accomplished, dieters can move on to the next phase.

Phase number two increases the net carb amount to twenty-five each day and makes a slow introduction to more types of dietary carbohydrate. During this phase, the objective is to find out how many carbohydrates you can consume while still going through weight loss. Dieters should stay at this stage until they are within ten pounds of their goal of weight loss. When this happens, dieters can then move on the phase number 3, in which even more carb-types are included.

In the third phase, more carb types are introduced until‘equilibrium’ is found by Atkins dieters. Once the goal of weight has been reached without losing or gaining weight, dieters will then know how many carbs are perfect for them to maintain the weight they desire.

The last phase of the diet is where lifetime maintenance is determined. Dieters who are at this point will need to maintain their weight loss by working within the Atkins carbohydrate equilibrium.

What Are the Risks?

Since it first began to get popular, Atkins has been a controversial diet, thanks to its emphasizing protein, fat and meat consumption. Some dieticians and researchers worry about the effects it potentially has on heart health. In the diet, too much protein can lead to liver and kidney problems when the body is unable to properly dispose of waste.


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