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A Definitive Guide to The Atkins Diet

Updated on September 21, 2019
BodystrongBen profile image

I have a masters degree in sports science and around 10 years experience in personal training and sports research.

Introduction

Remember how, a couple of decades ago, the world seemed to be going crazy over the Atkins diet? The diet itself proved incredibly popular for many years, then it kind of dropped off the radar and people began looking at other ways of losing weight. Losing body fat is one of the toughest natural processes you’ll put your body through, which is why it’s important to stick with what works. Atkins works. Therefore, despite other low carb diet approaches such as Keto, proving to be so popular, people seem to gravitate back towards Atkins, and the results speak for themselves. Here’s a better look at what the Atkins diet really is.

What is The Atkins Diet?

The Atkins diet is a low carb, moderate fat, high protein diet that is designed primarily to aid in fat loss. The idea of the diet is that, by restricting your carbohydrate intakes, you force your body to find energy in another way. This other way of generating energy comes when you enter a state of ketosis and essentially use your own body fat stores as your primary source of energy to get you through the day. Decades ago, the diet was demonised by the media and was considered to be unhealthy and dangerous. As more research was conducted however, it was found that the Atkins diet was very healthy and beneficial. The diet gets its name from DR. Robert C. Atkins, who discovered the diet and wrote a book about it in the early 1970s.

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How Does It Work?

There’s more science to it than this, but the basic principle behind the Atkins diet is that you restrict your body’s natural and preferred source of energy, in the form of carbohydrates. You see, from an evolutionary standpoint, fat is our preferred source of energy. It just so happens that the body finds it easier to use carbohydrates and convert them into glucose for energy, and so it looks for the easiest way of generating fuel. When you restrict carb consumption, the body panics as it doesn’t know where to get its energy. After a few days, your liver produces enzymes for energy which are called ‘ketones’. In order to produce ketones, your body needs to metabolise fat, so essentially you are generating energy by burning fat. When you use ketones for fuel, you have officially entered a state of ketosis.

The 4 Phases Of The Atkins Diet

The diet itself is split into 4 phases:

Phase 1 – This is the introduction phase. This phase sucks at first, there’s no getting around it. Here, you consume just 20g of carbohydrates per day, for the next 2 weeks. Veggies should be low-carb and high in nutrients, so plenty of leafy greens.

Phase 2 – This is the balancing phase. Here, you will gradually add more low carb veggies, nuts, and seeds to your diet, along with small amounts of low carbohydrate fruits. Carb intakes are still very low and should not exceed 50g per day, at the absolute most.

Phase 3 – This is the fine-tuning phase. Now you should be close to your target weight and you will gradually add small amounts of carbs to your diet to slow your weight loss down. This is done in preparation for the final phase.

Phase 4 – This is the maintenance phase. The idea is that you are now at your target weight, and you are looking to maintain your weight. You can slowly and very gradually increase your carb intake week by week.

My Own Experience

In all honesty I have only seen a handful of people take on the Atkins diet, however i have seen it have substantial results. The main aim of this diet is to achieve weight loss, something that most people at some point in their life will want to achieve, however it may not be all that simple. Once seeing this diet work for others I decided to try it myself to see what joy i could have and the results were good but not great.


When trying the Atkins diet I followed the exact same method as shown above. I implemented it for a total of 12 weeks with an aim of losing excess body fat for a bodybuilding expo that I was attending. I implemented it just after i had gone through a bulk so i was was carrying a lot of excess fat at the time of starting. By the time i had finished the full 12 weeks, I was roughly around 2 weeks into the maintenance phase. I saw very good results in terms of weight loss however I lost a lot more muscle that what was intended, which can tend to happen with these low carbohydrate diets.

Conclusion

The Atkins diet is one that has seemed to have died down in the modern area after really bursting onto the scene some years ago. This may be for the fact that with the vast amount of different diets nowadays and the wide variety or research provided, that people simply find other diets seem to work them better. For me though i personally see the benefits of this diet.

The start of this diet is the tough part where people struggle to stick with it as the carbohydrate deficit takes a toll on a persons enthusiasm and energy. For the people that do tend to stick with it though will tend to see very pleasing results. If weight loss is the top of your agenda when looking for a diet then i would definitely suggest giving it a go. On the other hand if you are looking to lose weight but maintain muscle then i would suggest looking else where.

Thank you for reading and i hope if you give this diet a go that it works out for you.

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