What is the Atkins Diet?

Diets come and go in cycles, but few dietary programs have enjoyed the popularity of the Atkins Diet, or the Atkins Nutritional Approach. The highly controversial diet reached its peak in popularity during 2003 and 2004. It was developed by Dr. Robert Atkins for his own personal weight problems. His formula evolved after reading an article on weight control in the American Medical Association Journal.

The Atkins Diet is a regimen that is highly concentrated in proteins, meats and other low carb foods…restricting the amount of total carbohydrate intake. The purpose is to reverse the balance of caloric intake and output by forcing the body to burn fat cells as caloric energy sources, medically known as a state of ketosis. As like any other diet, there are advantages and disadvantages. It is a weight-loss program that may not be for all dieters.

The program is a four-part process according to the official diet website www.atkins.com. The initial period, or Induction, lasts for two weeks and focuses on minimal carbohydrate intake. Meals are measured daily with maximums of 20 grams of refined sugars, or carbohydrates, and 100 grams of fat. One of the advantages of the diet is that it includes red meats. This is a characteristic that attracts many men to follow the diet guidelines. The induction basically stops the caloric intake overload. No alcohol can be consumed during the induction.

The second part of the program is Ongoing Weight Loss, or the OWL stage. At the conclusion of the initial period the body’s fat-burning momentum is in reverse and it is important to maintain strict adherence to the diet at this point. But, this stage allows the dieter to increase carbohydrate intake by 5 grams per day. This is normally sufficient for most individuals regardless of metabolism and allows the body an opportunity to ease back into an intake equilibrium of sugars and fats by utilizing additional quantities of fruits and vegetables, including some starchy vegetables.

On of the disadvantages of the program at this stage is measurement of carbohydrates. In the first stage they are practically restricted to none, but the increase of sugars in the second phase can be problematic in terms of accuracy. In addition, it is extremely difficult to quantify when the dieter is eating supper outside of the home. Failure to get a consistent balance at this stage could result in regaining any previous weight losses. It is important to follow the carbohydrate ladder posted on the official website in this stage. It lasts until the individual is within 10 pounds of the weight goal.

The third stage of the Atkins Diet is called Pre Maintenance. At this point the dieter should have a good balance of carbohydrates to fats and maintain a consistent diet. This is essentially a testing stage and is often where many attempts at the diet fail. Adhering to the dietary cycle is very important to success with this particular program. One of the primary complaints about the diet is that many who attempt the diet have success during the first phases, but regain all or more of their weight by not progressing completely through Pre Maintenance to the final stage of the program, which is Lifetime Maintenance.

Lifetime maintenance is the ultimate goal of the Atkins Diet and many people have lost large amounts of weight while following the directions carefully crafted by Dr. Atkins. The truth is that the diet is simple and attractive at first, but is normally only successful for the individual who can adapt to the long-term application of the consistent ratio of sugars-to-fats that the diet requires.

Additional long-term disadvantages of the Atkins Diet include a minimal amount of medical testing to determine any adverse effects it can have on the heart and kidneys, though some individuals suffer dehydration with the diet. Low-carb diets can also have an impact on calcium levels in the body that are critical for those who may have incompatible illnesses that would limit the program’s effectiveness.

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One Comment

  1. kaycee
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    i think that the people that need the diet should have the right to use it

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