The Atkins diet, invented by Robert Atkins and popularized through a series of his books in the early 1970s, promises its followers that they’ll lose weight while still enjoying their favorite and most indulgent low-carb, high-protein foods. In addition to lasting weight loss, the Atkins diet claims to set followers on the path toward improved health and overall wellness.
Atkins postulated that the majority of overweight individuals are in their current position because they consume too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. Because our bodies burn carbs before fats, the diet suggests that a nutrition plan lower in carbs will allow the body to use up excess fats more quickly and effectively. However, though there certainly are a variety of success stories from people who claim to have lost significant amounts of weight following Atkins’ plan, the majority of individuals who do stick to the diet do so in order to maintain a healthy weight and to prevent the onset of certain diseases.
The Theory Behind the Atkins Diet
When the body is essentially starved of carbohydrates, it enters a state called ketosis in which it burns stored fat for energy. A person in ketosis tends to feel less hungry than someone who is not and, therefore, should eat less food less frequently. Additionally, the Atkins diet claims to reduce the body’s overproduction of insulin, which converts carbs and sugar into fat and can lead to future diabetes.
The Atkins Basics
Many dieters find that they enjoy the Atkins plan for a variety of reasons. One of the most commonly cited of these reasons is that the menu includes a broader range of delicious, “non-diet” foods, including red meat, cheeses, eggs, butter, olive oil and more. Another reason is that dieters don’t tend to feel deprived or hungry while on the plan, which is a huge plus as it keeps them motivated to continue.
One of the main aspects of the Atkins diet that disagree with a lot of people is that vegetables, fruits and other otherwise healthy foods are heavily restricted during the first few weeks of the plan due to their carbohydrate content. This is the alternative to counting calories, a staple of most other diet plans.
Over time, as weight is lost, certain foods are reintroduced gradually. These include fruits, vegetables and whole grain products that are needed for proper and complete nutrition. Maintaining weight loss is just as important as the initial shedding of excess pounds, of course, and Atkins offers a plan for this stage of the diet as well. Naturally, exercise is crucial in keeping the weight off and building lean muscle mass that lasts.