The advantages of Atkins diet and its program has been well documented and tried by millions of people wanting to lose weight, whether they need to lose a lot or just a few extra pounds. Many have been very successful with losing more than 50-100 lbs. However, this is a diet that requires a lot of self-discipline and control to be successful due to the very restrictive food menu and allotted daily calorie intake.
This diet, sometimes also labeled as the Atkins fad diet, was created by Dr. Robert Atkins. He was born in 1930 and obtained his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. His practice was set up in the Upper East Side of New York City where he specialized as a Cardiologist and in complementary medicines. At the young age of 33, Dr. Atkins had reached 224 pounds and knew that it was not healthy to be that heavy, and began researching ways to reduce his weight back to a healthy level, thus birthing this diet plan.
How Does the Diet Work?
The Atkins diet is based on a reduction of daily intake of carbohydrates while watching calorie intake as well. The theory of this is when you cut back on the intake of carbohydrates your body starts to burn body fat for its energy source thus helping you lose weight. It is a four part program based on the number of carbohydrates consumed daily with a 40+ year history of people who have followed the program being able to successfully lose the undesired weight.
The Different Phases
The Atkins diet phase one begins by taking in less than 20 grams of carbohydrates each day mainly from vegetables with obtaining protein through approved meats which include red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. The necessary daily intake of fats can come from dairy products, such as butter, cream, cheese, and even vegetable oil.
In the Atkins diet phase one, also known as the Atkins diet induction plan, all grains, fruits, sugars, breads, pasta, vegetables with starch, beans, corn, legumes, all nuts and seeds are totally eliminated from the diet. Caffeine and alcohol must also be set aside. Part one will start the weight loss program and you will start to see your weight begin to decrease rapidly. This phase will last for 2 weeks, with a strong recommendation not to go over 3 weeks.
Phase two of the program continues with weight loss at a slower rate but now a person is allowed to add up to an additional 5 grams of carbohydrates per day. At this part one of the many advantages of Atkins diet is you can now start adding in a small amount of fruits, berries, seeds, beans and on occasion a glass of wine or a low carbohydrate alcoholic beverage. Once a plateau is reached and there is no more weight loss, one is able to maintain their weight by staying with the number of carbohydrates that are taken in on a daily basis.
Phase three of this program allows one to decide what weight that they want to maintain simply by reducing or adding in the number of carbs they consume. By reduction in carbs weight loss will continue or by adding more one can increase their weight.
Phase four is a lifetime commitment of maintaining the desired weight, and consuming between 40 and 100 carbohydrates on a daily basis.
Dr Atkins could not fully explain his theory and the process for the weight loss that was accomplished by those who followed his program. His studies and research were never presented to a peer reviewed medical group or journal.
The Pros vs Cons of a Low Carb Diet
Out of the many advantages of Atkins diet plan the most promising one is how it has been proven to help reduce a person’s weight, though most often for limited time frames. The Atkins diet allows for high consumption of foods like bacon, eggs, cheese and hamburgers but studies now show that this may not be the best for one’s overall health. The current versions of the diet program call for leaner meats along with a bigger variety of approved Atkins diet vegetables and fruits. Undesirable side effects have been revealed through some studies of this diet which include dizziness, constipation and bad breath. It is also important to notate that when pregnant or breastfeeding, no diet plan should be practiced without consulting with a family physician.
Though restrictive, there are many advantages of Atkins diet when properly done. Like any diet plan it works as long as you stick to the plan to maintain a good healthy weight. The problem with restrictive diets is they are often accompanied with temptations to have that fantastic dessert or just one more bite or an added snack. One will have to weigh the advantages of Atkins diet against their willpower and self-control. Before starting on any diet program it is good to do research, talk with a physician and understand the discipline it will take to be successful. When you choose to work the diet, decide on what is a healthy weight for you, set your goals, and become a healthier you.