In the early 1960s, Dr. Robert Atkins created a diet plan specifically aimed to target weight loss. Essentially, this diet plan calls for an individual to adjust their daily intake to a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet. This diet revolves around the idea that by reducing the level of intake of carbohydrates, the body's metabolism will switch from burning glucose as a source of energy to burning stored body fat. This concept is scientifically known as ketosis and usually takes place when insulin levels in the body begin to get low.
The Atkins diet is composed of 4 distinct components: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance.
The induction phase is the first of the 4 phases and the duration of this phase is approximately 2 weeks. This is the phase in which many users will experience the most loss in weight. In this phase, the carbohydrate intake is reduced to 20 grams or less a day and this is done in order to force the body to enter the process of ketosis. The induction phase will call for about 12-15 grams of carbohydrates to come specifically from vegetables. However, the intake of protein is entirely flexible and completely open. Another prerequisite of the induction phase would be to intake approximately 8 glasses of water per day along with a daily multivitamin.
The next phase of the Atkin's Diet is the ongoing weight loss phase. This phase of the diet has an increased net intake of carbohydrates at approximately 25 grams. Users stay on this phase until they are within 10 pounds of their target weight. The goal of the ongoing weight loss phase is to find, what is called, the "Critical Carbohydrate Level for Loss," which is the level of carbohydrate intake to maintain weight loss.
The pre-maintenance phase is the third phase in the Atkin's Diet. The goal of this phase is to find the "Critical Carbohydrate Level for Maintenance," which is the level of carbohydrate intake needed to maintain the target weight without gaining any weight.
The fourth and final phase of the Atkin's Diet is the lifetime maintenance phase. The goal of this phase is to retain the habits that were developed in the previous phases to keep weight off. There is the option of returning to a previous phase if weight gain occurs.
It is crucial that if you plan on utilizing this diet plan that you familiarize yourself with the diet and keep in mind that the theories of the Atkin's Diet remain unproven. Many experts also warn that this particular diet could lead to a number of health problems as well.