The Atkins Diet is one of the most famous diets you can try. Why is it popular? Because you lose weight without starving. However, there are some rules. We’ll reveal them to you.
About this eating plan
This eating plan falls under low-carb diets and is suitable for those looking to shed extra pounds. Those who have used this diet claim that in order to slim down and reach your desired weight, you should eat as much food rich in proteins and fats as possible, while avoiding carbs.
Dr. Robert Atkins introduced this diet to the world. In 1972, he wrote a book about it, which soon became highly sought after. Since then, it has gained fame and popularity worldwide, despite the fact that numerous books on the subject have been written afterward. Scientists also became interested in this diet, leading to a large number of studies published over the past 15 years, discussing its contributions and experiences in weight loss, as well as its potential to improve overall health.
Atkins Diet and its rules
Initially, scientists did not advocate for this eating plan, as they considered it unhealthy, especially due to the possibility of consuming a high percentage of fats during the diet. However, over time, this opinion changed, thanks in part to research that discovered the intake of good fats was not harmful, as well as the experiences of those who followed this diet. Additionally, the conclusions drawn relate to the results achieved by adhering to the Atkins Diet. It is now known that this diet not only aids in weight loss but also simultaneously leads to improvements in blood sugar levels, HDL (good cholesterol), and triglycerides.
Although it contains a high percentage of fats, studies have shown that following this diet generally does not contribute to an increase in LDL (bad cholesterol).
It’s important to note that this diet does not support excessive fat intake, nor does it encourage drastically reducing carbs. The intake of these parameters is balanced through meal plans, allowing the human body to function without harmful consequences.
Eliminating cellulite with this diet
If you’re ready to start now and look amazing, here are some essential things you need to know.
Atkins Diet – Phases
The main reason why low-carb diets are effective for weight loss is the change in eating habits and daily meal plans. Namely, those who consume fewer carbs automatically incorporate more proteins in their diet, which reduces appetite and maintains a feeling of fullness. That’s why people on the Atkins Diet don’t feel hungry, while consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
The Atkins Diet has 4 phases, similar to the Dukan Diet.
In the first phase, you should consume no more than 20 grams of carbs per day for a period of 2 weeks. During this time, eat food rich in fats and proteins, combined with low-carb vegetables (green veggies).
Phase I is the perfect start for successful weight loss and lasts until you lose 5 kilograms (about 11 pounds). This may take more or less than 2 weeks, but 2 weeks is the average duration according to the experiences of those who followed the diet.
During the second phase, nuts, other low-carb vegetables, and a limited amount of fruit are gradually introduced into the diet. The daily carb intake is increased by 5 grams each week (25 grams the first week, 30 grams the second week, etc.).
Phase II lasts until you are about 5 kilograms (11 pounds) away from your desired weight.
Now that the desired weight is getting closer, it’s allowed to increase the daily carb intake by 10 grams per week. This phase lasts until the desired weight is reached.
In the fourth phase, a healthy carb intake is allowed as long as it doesn’t lead to weight gain. Therefore, you continue to add 10 grams of carbs per week, but if your body weight slightly increases, reduce carb intake by 10 grams. This way, you discover how many carbs your body truly needs, and you maintain that intake.
However, experiences have shown that in some cases, the Atkins Diet can be very successful even without strict adherence to the phases. Everyone can adjust it to fit their lifestyle best, so it often happens that people skip Phase I or introduce a larger amount of fruits and vegetables from the very beginning.
Some believe that the first phase is sufficient and remain in this phase throughout the entire diet.
Atkins Diet Menu
Due to the characteristics that make this diet successful, it requires a change in the menu you’re used to. The new menu should include specific foods that contribute to weight loss, as recommended by the diet.
Foods to Avoid
Regardless of whether you strictly adhere to the diet by phases or choose to create your own combination, your menu should not include these foods:
- Sugar: juices, sweets, ice cream
- Grains: wheat, rice, rye, barley
- Vegetable oils: soybean, corn, canola
- Trans fats: found in industrially processed foods that contain the word “hydrogenated” in their composition
- Foods labeled as “diet” or “low-fat”: these foods usually have a high sugar content
- High-carb vegetables: carrots, potatoes, any other type of beet (this applies only to Phase I)
- High-carb fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes (this applies only to Phase I)
- Lentils, beans, chickpeas
Foods to Include in the Menu
This is a form of protein diet, often confused with the Keto diet, as they are very similar. However, this one may be a bit more relaxed.
These are the foods you should include in your menu:
- Meat: beef, lamb, chicken, duck, goose, bacon
- Fish: fatty and sea fish, trout, salmon, sardines
- Eggs (considered among the most nutritious natural products, often used as a breakfast ingredient)
- Low-carb vegetables: spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus, lettuce, arugula, cucumber, celery, chives, mushrooms, bell peppers
- Dairy products: butter, cheese, yogurt
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Healthy oils: cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
- Herbs and spices
The rules of the Atkins Diet are straightforward: as long as you base your menu on proteins, using healthy oils, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you’ll lose weight.
This is also the menu for liposuction nutrition, but it doesn’t have phases. After the first phase, you can gradually introduce healthy carbohydrates from the remaining fruits and vegetables into your menu.
Atkins Diet: Occasional Foods and Meal Plan
What to Include in the Menu Occasionally
If you thought this was another diet that would limit you from eating what you love, experience shows that it’s not the case. The Atkins Diet promotes the intake of healthy foods, but there is room for tasty ones that nobody can resist.
Some of them are: bacon, cheese, cream, and dark chocolate.
These foods are generally considered fattening because they contain a high percentage of fat and calories. However, a diet low in carbohydrates must somehow compensate for the energy sources the body gets from them. That’s why these foods are acceptable in the Atkins Diet and can be used occasionally.
What Can You Drink on the Atkins Diet?
These are the liquids and beverages that are allowed:
- Coffee: although it may not agree with what you’ve heard about coffee so far, it contains antioxidants, and its consumption is recommended
- Green tea
- Alcohol can also be consumed in small amounts (although it should be avoided in Phase I). Opt for wine and avoid drinks with a high amount of carbohydrates, such as beer.
Meal Plan for the First Phase of the Atkins Diet
This is a suggested meal plan for the first phase, but you can also follow it in other phases, gradually adding foods containing more carbohydrates.
- Breakfast: Omelette with green vegetables, fried in coconut or olive oil
- Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil and a handful of nuts and seeds
- Dinner: Steak and green vegetables
- Breakfast: Eggs with bacon, yogurt
- Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with spinach
- Dinner: Burger, butter, and boiled broccoli
- Breakfast: Vegetables with cream
- Lunch: Beef stew with vegetables
- Dinner: Shrimp and vegetable salad with olive oil
- Breakfast: Boiled egg, bacon, cucumber
- Lunch: Salmon with butter and vegetables
- Dinner: Green salad with vegetables and cheese
- Breakfast: Omelette and yogurt
- Lunch: Meatballs
- Dinner: Chicken salad with vegetables and olive oil
- Breakfast: Mushrooms and bell peppers fried in butter
- Lunch: Meatballs, arugula salad
- Dinner: Pork pieces with vegetables
- Breakfast: Omelette with cheese and vegetables
- Lunch: Grilled chicken wings in vegetable sauce
- Dinner: Vegetable salad with beef leaves
The vegetables you use should be varied, and 15 grams of the 20 grams of carbohydrates in Phase I should come from vegetables.
Snacking Options If You’re Still Hungry
If you still feel hungry after eating the suggested three meals, you can occasionally have a snack, such as:
- Leftover food from the day before (if there are larger quantities, you can use it as the main meal for the next day)
- A boiled egg
- A piece of cheese
- A piece of meat
- A handful of nuts and seeds
- Yogurt or sour milk
- Berries with a little neutral cream
After Phase I, you can also have carrots or fruit as a snack. You can use mayonnaise (made from one of the listed oils) as a salad dressing.
Dining Out While on the Atkins Diet
If you’re going out to a restaurant with friends or family, don’t hesitate. You can still stick to the Atkins diet while having lunch or dinner away from home. Here are a few tips to help you decide what to order:
- Order an extra serving of vegetables instead of bread, potatoes, or rice
- Order a dish that contains meat or fish
- Ask for butter or olive oil if you think the food or salad is not seasoned enough. Be cautious with sauces, as they may contain starch or flour. Also, salad dressings often contain sugar, so avoid them.
- Avoid anything deep-fried, breaded, or battered
When at home, make an effort not to keep foods you’re not supposed to consume, so you won’t be tempted to try them. This particularly applies to ice cream, carbonated drinks and juices, muesli, sweets, and products made from white flour.
Atkins Diet Experiences
Regardless of what you’ve heard or read about the Atkins diet, experiences show that it is actually quite flexible. During Phase I, you only need to reduce your carbohydrate intake and strictly adhere to the specified amount in the diet plan. Once this phase is over, you can gradually reintroduce healthy carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and even grains like oats and rice (again, in the specified amount, but higher than in Phase I). This is similar to the restrictions in the chrono diet.
However, to maintain your desired weight, you should continue to follow these rules even after you’ve finished the diet. As with any other diet, unwanted pounds will return if you go back to your old habits. In the case of the Atkins diet, it’s crucial to reintroduce carbohydrates gradually. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine the limits for consuming certain foods without gaining weight back.
Many people who have tried the Atkins diet report a decrease in appetite after the first two days. They often say that even two meals a day are sufficient instead of the standard three. As a result, they begin to reduce their portion sizes during the diet to consume all the regular meals. The suggested foods from the meal plan usually satisfy them so much that they don’t feel the need for snacks.
Unhealthy or not?
One of the common reasons the Atkins diet is considered unhealthy is, unfortunately, the irresponsibility of those who follow it. This diet doesn’t promote eating only meat but also allows for other foods and a small amount of carbohydrates. This fact is often overlooked, leading people to say that they only ate meat, eggs, and fats during the diet, which is a completely wrong approach. It’s not necessary to completely eliminate carbohydrates – they still have a role in our bodies. The key is to consume them in smaller amounts and from healthier sources.
In such cases, of course, serious consequences can occur. The Atkins diet is balanced, allowing for the intake of other nutrients, at least the bare minimum of everything necessary. Any deviation from this can have negative effects on your health and well-being.
Continuing the Atkins Diet for Long-Term Success
This diet can be a very successful solution for weight loss if a similar eating pattern is maintained after the diet. This certainly means a change in lifestyle, which involves giving up some old eating habits and menu items that led to unwanted weight gain.
For those who followed the Atkins diet due to cardiovascular issues, high blood sugar, or high triglycerides, it has proven to be an exceptionally useful solution.
Recent research suggests that this diet, with its emphasis on minimal intake of simple carbohydrates and refined starchy foods, could be used as a preventive measure against some types of cancer. However, as with any diet, it’s essential to consult with a doctor before starting any dietary regimen and to undergo regular medical check-ups.
Many people notice significant weight loss during Phase I of the Atkins diet. Others say that their weight loss progresses slowly. Regardless of the speed at which you lose weight, you must follow the rules precisely to achieve success. This applies equally to those who aim to improve their blood sugar levels or blood lipid levels. If you don’t adhere to the guidelines, you’ll be disappointed with the results before you even have a chance to see what the Atkins diet can truly do for you.
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For more info about the Atkins diet, you can visit the official Atkins website: https://www.atkins.com/
This website offers comprehensive information on the diet, including meal plans, recipes, and scientific background.