What is the Atkins diet?

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Carbohydrates have a significant impact on our daily caloric intake, and they also have an effect on weight gain. According to most studies, carbohydrates should be restricted as much as possible as they may contribute to weight gain. This is also one of the foundations of the Atkins diet, which is what we shall be discussing here.

Back in 1972, the cardiologist Robert C. Atkins came up with this diet, which also took its name. The Atkins diet is to date one of the most popular diet plans used by people who are trying to lose weight. The Atkins diet is divided in a number of phases, during which the main emphasis seems to lie on the replacement of carbs with proteins. The first part of the Atkins diet revolves around a very low carb diet. Thanks to the restriction of carbohydrates one can expect to benefit not only in terms of weight loss, but also improvements in the blood sugar level. When one restricts the amount of carbohydrates, the result is generally a reduction in one's appetite. Consequently, one will be less willing to eat and increase his or her caloric intake, and so this will speed up weight loss.

This is how one will start to gain from implementing the Atkins diet. But let us elaborate a bit on the 4 phases that such a diet is composed of.

We start off with the induction phase, whereby one will be foods that are high in fats and proteins, while including low-carb vegetables. During this phase one will be basically kick starting the weight loss plan. Moving on to the second phase, there is going to be a balancing out of what one is consuming. In fact this is referred to as the balancing phase and one is encouraged to keep eating what was being eaten during the first phase, but add more low-carb vegetables as well as fruits and nuts. It is important to do this gradually and portions should be small and increased slowly.

The third phase is referred to as the fine-tuning phase. Here one will be allowed to add more carbs in the diet plan. This is the phase when one should notice that the weight loss process has slowed down a bit, and so the Atkins diet would have worked considerably well by now in most cases.

The fourth and last phase, known as the maintenance stage focuses on the importance of realizing what seems to be the right amount of carbs to be consumed, without ending up regaining the weight that was lost. One cannot expect to keep losing weight as there is always the phase where a plateau is reached, but according to people who support the Atkins diet or have actually tried to follow it, at the balancing phase, that is, the second phase, one should have noticed a considerable weight loss. It is important to fine-tune this and maintain this though, as otherwise the weight may easily be regained. Thus the importance of the third and fourth phases.

After having through this overview of what the Atkins diet consists of, many may feel inclined to give it a try, whereas others will have ended up somewhat discouraged as it may seem to be rather complicated. Evidently one will need to be willing to plan meals and snacks as well as keep an eye on the types of foods that are being consumed. One will need to get used to taking into account the amount of proteins and carbs particularly, that are present in the foods that will be consumed, as this is what the Atkins diet is ultimately all about. There are also going to be various people who will not like the fact that there are four stages. It is in fact a bit discouraging as it might seem to be a lengthy process. However, having said that, as a general rule of thumb one can simply do his or her best to stick to plenty of low carb vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus and spinach. Trying to include such vegetables in meals and snacks is always going to be highly beneficial. Eventually one can introduce nuts, seeds and fruits in the diet. Meat and fish are also good options. What is really important is that one tries to avoid low-fat foods and processed foods. Anything that is high in sugars and starches should also be avoided. Regarding fats, it is best to try to consume foods that contain healthy fats, such as full fat dairy products, avocados and extra virgin oil. Obviously the main element in the Atkins diet is the amount of carbs one consumes. Even though it is practically impossible to avoid carbs one should try to stick to sources of healthy carbs, and limit them as much as possible. Such foods include rice, oats, potatoes and apples. These can be consumed during the induction phase, but as the diet plan based on the Atkins diet progresses, they should be minimized as much as possible.

To put the Atkins diet in a nutshell we can conclude that it is basically a moderately low-carb type of diet. For most people it is going to work as carbs are often related in various studies to putting on weight. So when one is trying to lose weight it follows that it is best to cut down on the amount of carbs one consumes. What is most important is that one does not end up adding the consumption of carbs as soon as the weight loss goal that they had in mind is reached. It is very important to maintain a moderate viewpoint, that is, limiting carbs as much as possible. This is why the last stage, that is, the maintenance stage of the Atkins diet is as important as the other three stages. For best results one should do his or her best at each and every stage as they work best when complementing one another.

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