The Atkins diet, formally known as the Atkins Nutritional Approach, is one of the most popular diet plans in recent years used by people who want to lose weight. This diet plan was developed by Dr. Robert Atkins, who wrote several books on the subject, beginning with his 1972 Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.
The Atkins diet is basically a low carbohydrate diet plan. The theory behind this diet plan is that eating a large amount of refined carbohydrates, not fat, is the primary cause of obesity; thus, by restricting the sources of these refined carbohydrates, an individual will be able to control his weight. By minimizing the carbohydrates in the body, the individual’s metabolism will be compelled to undergo a process known as ketosis, where stored fat is used as the body’s main source of fuel instead of carbohydrates. This process burns more body fat, resulting in weight loss.
There are four phases that make up the Atkins diet, namely induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and maintenance. The induction phase takes place in the first 2 weeks, at which time an individual limits his carbohydrate intake to only 20 grams a day, forcing the body to undergo ketosis rapidly and resulting in the most significant amount of weight loss. This is followed by the ongoing weight loss phase, where one is allowed to increase carbohydrate intake until the weight is within 4.5 kg (10 lbs) of the desired weight.
The next phase is the pre-maintenance phase, where one can test which foods they can eat without gaining any weight. Finally, the individual will enter the lifetime maintenance phase, wherein one can resume eating good carbohydrate choices in order to maintain their desired weight.
The Atkins diet has had its fair share of controversy. Concerns have been raised regarding the efficacy and safety of the diet plan, which is mainly related to the intake of a high amount of protein. A number of studies on this diet have been done in the last few years, with many researches showing positive outcomes. One of the more recent ones was done in the United Kingdom in July of 2008, which compared 4 different weight loss programs, including Atkins diet. The study revealed that these programs were able to produce significant reductions in weight and in certain lipid components that are associated with heart disease.
For people who want to lose weight, the Atkins diet is definitely something you should look into. It is easy to incorporate in your daily life, and is quite effective, especially in the short-term. Start losing those pounds now!