What Is the Atkins Diet?

Friday, 19 Nov 2010 12:18 PM

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The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate or modified-carbohydrate, high-protein, and high-fat diet founded by Dr. Roger Atkins. According to Dr. Atkins, dietary carbohydrates are the key factor in the development of excess fat and obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cardiovascular diseases, and a number of other medical conditions.

The Atkins diet suggests that you should get two-thirds of your calorie needs from fat - more than double the usual
recommendation - and people should eat meat and cheese rather than bread, pastas, and even fruits and vegetables. Instead of carbohydrates and sugar, the Atkins diet plan highly recommends plenty of fat and protein, specifically animal proteins. Foods consumed should be whole, unprocessed, low glycemic index foods.
 
The Atkins diet enables the body to lose weight in a natural way by inducing a change in metabolism. The diet switches the body's metabolism from burning glucose as fuel to burning stored body fat. This process is known as lipolysis. The secondary result of this process is ketosis which releases ketones in the body. Ketones affect insulin production and prevent formation of more fat, thereby reducing body weight. 
 
The Atkins diet plan has four important phases. In each individual phase, one has to select foods to eat, based on their need to achieve weight loss and to maintain good health. The first phase of the Atkins diet is the induction phase – it follows a ketogenic diet in which carbohydrate consumption is restricted to 20 grams per day, where ketosis burns up excess fat. Most carbs in this phase can be obtained from salad and other non-starchy vegetables.

In phase two, carbs should be in the form of nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods. The Atkins diet phase three makes the transition from weight loss to weight maintenance by increasing the daily carbohydrate intake in 10-gram increments each week so long as gradual weight loss is maintained.

The final phase is lifetime maintenance. This is the foundation for a lifetime of better health. In this phase, one can select from a wide variety of foods while controlling carbohydrate intake to ensure weight maintenance and a sense of well-being.
 
The Atkins diet plan has  resulted in significant weight loss for many people. The diet is based on the idea that a certain combination of foods will help to lose weight. In practice, it is very hard to follow over a period of time. There is no scientific evidence that particular food combinations are needed to lose weight. To lose weight and keep it off, a lifestyle change that incorporates healthy eating and increased activity levels is necessary.

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