One of the most popular diets to hit the weight loss industry in recent years is the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet touts being a very low calorie diet that is designed to assist with weight loss for adults. While limiting the amount of carbohydrates you eat is something that can have amazing results, some suggest that this is not the best way to lose weight, or is this an old myth? With that said, listed ahead is your guide to the Atkins diet and how it can aid in your weight loss efforts, despite some suggesting it’s not worth the effort.
What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins diet is a popular and commercialized diet plan that was created by Robert Atkins as a way to promote better eating, leading to weight loss, and improved health. The traditional adult dieting patterns in the U.S. have been lead to high amounts of obesity, illness, as well as various diseases, which means a change is/was needed. For this reason, the Atkins diet was incorporated as a way to promote a high protein and fat diet with very low carbs. Generally, the Atkins diet is used as a method for weight loss.
What are the Phases of the Atkins Diet Plan?
One of the most unique things to the Atkins diet is that it entails a few different phases that guide you to better eating patterns and effective weight loss. Consider the phases listed below.
Atkins Diet Phase 1
The very first phase of the Atkins diet is perhaps the most challenging. It is during this phase that your body switches energy usage from a mixture of carbs and fats to merely all fats. There are other meal plans in the market that closely resemble this phase, but phase one traditionally has your body shift towards energy usage of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body uses fats for energy rather than carbs with fats and generally it can induce fast weight loss. Phase one encourages a macro breakdown of carbs including only 20 grams of carbs per day. For some people, the 20 grams of carbs each day is the hardest element to adjust to, but eliminating your carb intake from day one will help guide your body to success. This phase usually lasts for about two weeks.
Atkins Diet Phase 2
The next phase of the Atkins diet consists of adding a few more foods back into your diet as a way to reintroduce something that you stopped eating. Generally, reintroducing these foods into your diet means you add carbs back into your lifestyle. Phase one consists of less than 20 grams of carbs per day, but phase two allows for more carbs or up to 50 grams each day. This phase is great for showing how much weight you can lose while still eating some carbs. Phase two lasts for as long as it takes, but generally you stay on this phase until you have about ten pounds remaining with your goal
Atkins Diet Phase 3
This phase was created as a way to get your weight loss goals to fruition. This means that you move into this phase when you are reaching your goal succession and it is a great way to help you move past any weight loss walls you may reach. Your net carb intake generally increases during this phase and the usual carb allowance is at about 80 grams daily. There are not many restrictions during this phase, but it does allow for some whole grains as well as starchy veggies, and fruits, so keep this in mind.
Atkins Diet Phase 4
The final stage of the Atkins diet also incorporates more net carbs each day. This phase allows for up to 100 grams of carbs daily as well as no restrictions as to what kind of healthy foods you can consume. Phase four is important because this is the phase that you will continue with for the rest of your life, meaning your weight loss will remain gone as long as you stick to this phase. Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to diets is that they do not work in the long term, but having a stage in the weight loss program that lasts for the rest of your life is encouraging for anyone looking to lose the pounds and keep them off for good.
What is the Macro Content of an Atkins Diet Menu?
As with any dieting program on the market, there are nutrient breakdowns as a way to guide food balance. However, the Atkins diet is unique when it comes to counting calories and macros for that matter. The first few phases are where you should count your macro nutrient intake, particularly the carbs.
Phase 1 allows for high protein and fat and only a total of 20 grams of carbs. When you do the math that means a total of 80 calories of your daily diet comes from carbs, which is about four percent of a standard 2,000 calorie diet.
Phase two still aims for you to consume high amounts of fats and protein, but your carb intake increases to about 50 grams daily. This means that 200 calories of your diet are in the form of carbs, or about ten percent of your entire energy consumption based off a 2,000 calorie diet.
Lastly, the final phases allow for no more than 100 grams of net carbs each day, consisting of healthy whole grains and foods that are not processed. This means that 400 calories of your daily diet come from healthy carbs, which amounts to about 20 percent of your total intake based off a 2,000 calorie diet.
6 Health Benefits of Eating an Atkins Diet
Jumping on an Atkins diet is important for a variety of reasons, but listed ahead are some of the most common health benefits you should expect on this diet plan.
1. Loss of Belly Fat
One of the biggest areas your body stores fat is in your abdominal section. While the body can store fat anywhere in the body, the abdominal area, or your belly, is by far the most common. The most effective way to cut out this fat is to adjust your diet and to be more active throughout the day. In addition, the Atkins diet can help to adjust how you eat so that you can avoid too much from accumulating in this area. Reducing your abdominal fat can help to prevent obesity, type II diabetes, as well as heart disease risk.
2. Reduced Triglycerides
Your body stores fat in the form of a triglyceride, which consists of one molecule of glycerol attached to three fatty acids. Your body can store endless amount of triglycerides and it seems that your level of triglyceride storage is related to the amount of carbs you consume. Studies have shown that the biggest element in triglyceride storage is from the consumption of fructose, which is the sugar that is commonly found in fruits. The Atkins diet not only recommends that you eat low amounts of carbs, but it encourages that you be mindful of the amount of fructose you consume as well.
3. Weight Loss
One of the biggest reasons to go on the Atkins diet is to lose weight. Weight loss is something that many adults are finding to be a normal part of life and it seems that fat loss is important for your health. Fortunately, the low carb diet that the Atkins diet promotes may help to improve aspects of your health including blood pressure, obesity, as well as disease risk. Take this into consideration if you are considering the Atkins diet.
4. Improved Good Cholesterol Levels
One important thing about going on an Atkins diet is having improved good-cholesterol levels, known as HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol can help to reduce your overall total amount of cholesterol and it can help to shed off harmful LDL cholesterol as well, which can help to reduce your heart disease and stroke risk. Studies have shown that losing weight can aid with improvements in good cholesterol, which can then reduce your overall risk to illness. Consider the Atkins diet as a way to boost your good cholesterol for better health.
5. Improvements in Type II Diabetes Risk
One great health risk that has been rising over the previous decades is type II diabetes. Generally caused by insulin resistance, type II diabetes occurs when your body no longer is able to use insulin to properly store sugar in your blood, which can lead to poor health. For this reason, weight loss from the Atkins diet can help to improve your body’s efficiency with using insulin, which could lead to a dramatic improvement in your diabetes risk.
6. Improved Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the most common conditions to affect adults and many adults have no idea they have elevated blood pressure values until it is too late. While it does not cause immediate issues, chronically elevated blood pressure values can lead to long term damage to some of your vital organs. One common way to regulate your blood pressure is to change your diet. Studies have shown that low carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, can help to effectively lower your blood pressure, which should improve your health risk assessment. Consider an Atkins diet if you are at risk for or have high blood pressure values.
What Foods should I Avoid?
The first two phases of the Atkins diet is where you will notice most of your restrictions. For starters, in phase one you will need to cut out sources that contain sugar, flour, and most carbs from your diet, but this usually is a phase that lasts for a week or two. Next, phase two still has restrictions on what you should avoid, but in far less amounts. During this phase, you are recommended to stray from whole grain options as well as starchy veggies and certain high-sugar fruits. Lastly, phase four does not have many food restrictions, but it still encourages a healthy balance with foods and reduced carbs so that you can maintain your weight loss for the long term.
Is the Atkins Diet Something I should Try?
Making the lifestyle change to the Atkins diet is something that you should take the time to consider. If you have been struggling with managing your body weight or have been unsuccessful with other programs then perhaps the Atkins diet is for you. The Atkins diet is a low carbohydrate and high fat and protein diet that allows for sustained weight loss through four stages. The first stage brings your body into a very low carb intake for the first two weeks, which promotes ketosis and an overall change to your energy usage. Following the first stage, your net carb intake gradually increases as you slowly reintroduce foods back to your diet. Phase four, which is the final stage that you remain on for life encourages high fat and protein options, but with about 20 percent of your calories coming from healthy carb sources.
There are a number of health benefits that you should expect when on the Atkins diet and the most common reason to jump onboard is due to weight loss and reducing overall health disease risk. Consider the health benefits above as a way to motivate you to change your lifestyle so that you can be successful in your weight loss journey.
Wrapping it Up
The information above is intended to be a complete guide to your weight loss journey with the use of an Atkins diet. Known mostly for being a very low carb and a high protein and fat diet, the Atkins method of weight loss can help you to finally reach your health and weight loss goals. The program contains four stages, with stage one restricting your intake of carbs and stage four promoting a reduced carb intake for the rest of your life. Eliminating body fat can be a challenge on a diet, but with a little help and guidance, the Atkins diet can help get you results.