Atkins diet bookCredit: Wikimedia CommonsCredit: Wikimedia Commons

Of course, you have already heard of the Atkins diet in one way or another. This is a very popular diet plan created by Dr. Robert Atkins. It basically works under the premise that one should consume a high protein, low carbohydrate diet in order to lose weight. The theory of Dr. Atkins is that when you do not consume a lot of carbohydrates, your body resorts to other ways of producing energy, and that is through burning the excess fat stored in your body. When this happens, excess calories are also burned, hence contributing to faster weight loss. Moreover, blood sugar levels become more stable, thus preventing overeating.

The Phases of the Atkins Diet Plan

You have to undergo four phases in order to complete the Atkins diet. The induction phase is the first phase of this diet, in which you should severely cut down on carbohydrates, as low as 25 grams per day. Just to give you an idea of how drastic this is, a normal person usually consumes 250 grams of carbohydrates, so reducing your carbohydrate intake to a mere 25 grams is no small feat. You need to avoid high carbohydrate foods, such as sweets, breads, potatoes, pasta, and rice. However, you can eat foods that are high in protein, such as chicken, meat, cheese, eggs, fish, and dairy products. This phase is critical because this is where the body starts converting fats and proteins into energy. It usually lasts for at least two weeks.

You can consume a little more carbohydrates when you enter the second phase, the ongoing weight loss stage. The amount of carbohydrates that you can take daily depends on your critical carbohydrate level for losing weight. You will only be able to discover this by allowing yourself to slightly increase your carbohydrate intake by 5 grams daily every week, until you find out the threshold where you are able to lose one to three pounds per week. This can range from 25 grams to 50 grams of carbohydrate per day, but it largely depends on the person’s metabolism.

The third phase, the pre-maintenance, starts when you only have at least 10 more pounds to lose before you reach your target weight. You can increase your carbohydrate intake from 5 pounds to 10 pounds daily in a week, so that you lose 1 pound per week at most. This slows down your weight loss in preparation for the next phase. This is the phase where you can start taking tiny portions of pasta, rice, and bread, which were formerly off-limits to your diet.

You go into lifetime maintenance in the fourth phase, whose goal is just to maintain your weight. This is the phase where you will be for the rest of your life, and that includes 90 grams of carbohydrate per day. Of course, you still continue to eat high protein foods throughout the whole Atkins diet plan.

What do experts say about the effectiveness of the Atkins diet?

Now, the question frequently asked by many about Atkins diet plan is, “Does this diet really work?” Certainly, resisting your cravings will be very difficult, especially during the first phase of the diet. Moreover, even if you are allowed unlimited amounts of butter, for instance, you cannot consume them that much because butter usually goes with bread, and bread and other types of pastries are banned in the Atkins low carb diet plan.

Also, another concern of critics verbalized in review of Atkins diet plan is the high amount of fat that this diet advocates. Even if these fats are burned, there are still other diseases that can be incurred when taking high amounts of fatty foods. The lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet is also alarming, considering the amount of vitamins and other nutrients that you can get from them.

Perhaps the Atkins diet can work for certain people, but there are definitely more options that does not severely limit your carb intake and does not promote a high fat diet.