Created around the same time as the Scarsdale Medical Diet the Atkins Diet provides a series of dietary phases, which most people pass through sequentially. Additional diets are provided for those who can’t follow the path of the majority, such as those with food intolerances and a high metabolic resistance.
The first two weeks of the Atkins Diet is the “induction” phase. During these 14 days, dieters are cautioned to follow detailed instructions exactly. The point of induction is to kick-start the body into lipolysis/ketosis, during which the metabolism can be “switched” to one that primarily burns fat for energy.
During the next phase of the plan, the Atkins Diet becomes less restrictive and more palatable, mainly by increasing the permitted vegetables and raising carbohydrate levels. Upon approaching their weight goal, dieters establish their “critical carbohydrate level” for maintenance, which is the highest number of grams of carbohydrates per day they can ingest without beginning to gain the lost weight back.
Foods You Can Eat on Atkins
Atkins Diet followers can eat all of the meat, cheese, eggs and fats (like butter and oils) that they like, without counting calories.
Foods You Can’t Eat on Atkins
Carbohydrates are restricted to around 20 grams per day in the first two weeks of the Atkins Diet; a weekly five-gram incremental gain is followed until the dieter establishes their “critical carbohydrate level” for maintenance. For the most part, successful followers of the Atkins diet must fundamentally change the way they eat on a long-term basis. This means eliminating foods like cake, potatoes, pasta, pancakes and pie from their diets, permanently. Fruit and dairy products are also extremely limited.
Eating Options on Atkins
The Atkins diet places no limit on the amount of saturated-fat-laden products one can have each day. Large portions of foods like butter, red meat and bacon are advocated and encouraged. A limited amount of carbohydrates can be introduced in the maintenance phase.
Number of Dieters Following Atkins
The last five years have seen an explosion in the number of people following the Atkins diet. In fact, many restaurants are now offering no- or low-carb options to suit patrons who opt to eat out while on the Atkins Diet. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this diet is one of the most popular diets around.
Success Rate on Atkins
Precise numbers are difficult to come by, but recent studies have shown that after a few months of the Atkins Diet, people tend to lose about twice as much weight as they would on the standard low-fat, high-carbohydrate approach recommended by most health organizations. These studies seem to show that these dieters lose weight without seeming to drive up their risk of heart disease and that their cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure generally improve. Additionally, Atkins Diet followers appear to lose more weight — even while actually consuming more calories — than people on other high-carb diets.
Post Atkins Diet Weight Maintenence Plans
The “pre-maintenance” phase of the Atkins diet increases the daily carbohydrate intake in 10-gram increments each week so long as gradual weight loss is maintained. Upon achieving their goal weight, dieters move to the “lifetime maintenance” phase, which urges followers to make choices from Atkins Diet low carb recipes and foods while controlling carbohydrate intake indefinitely.
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