Atkins diet

atkinsThe Atkin’s diet is a dieting program named after its creator – Dr Atkin. The American cardiologist researched for several years to develop a diet chart, which contains healthy food items and can prove beneficial for obese and diabetic people and he finally succeeded in the year 1972.  We first came to know about this diet format from his book – “Dr. Atkin’s Diet Revolution,” which was published the same year.

While developing his revolutionary diet, Atkin concentrated on the issue of how one can reduce fat while keeping carbohydrate (generally known as carbs) in control. In short Atkin’s diet is referred as a eating program (4 phases) that has been combined with mineral supplements, vitamins and daily exercises. Atkin solely believed that anybody can gain his nutritional needs if he or she consumes less amount of carbohydrate and in his book he has described everything about it.

Who Should Follow This Diet?

Anybody who wants to be strong and healthy can follow the diet, but it works best for the patients who are suffering from typical diseases like hypoglycaemia and other types of blood sugar related problems. We have already said that Atkin’s main idea was to reduce the consumption of carbohydrate based foods that badly affects our insulin level. That is why it becomes easier for these patients to manage diabetes level and to check other related conditions, while following this diet.

In addition, if you are fond of food items prepared with meat you will also like this diet because it is generally meat based. However, if other food items are combined with this diet chart, you can have it without worrying much about weight gain.

Who Should Avoid Atkin’s Diet

Atkin’s diet is not a good choice for athletes and for one who exercises frequently at high intensity.  While practicing high intensity exercises, people need to rely on the stored carbohydrates of our body as it works as fuel. That is why they must avoid this diet because if they have carbohydrates in fewer quantities, their storage goes lower and it affects performance level. Sometimes, they could experience breathing problem while practicing cardio exercises like running, swimming, jogging, etc.

However, the modified Atkin’s diet says that athletes can follow some phases of the Atkins diet. They can stick to the phase where Atkin has mentioned how to intake carbohydrate foods with low a glycemic rate. This type of food helps in balancing the carbohydrate deficit, without affecting the natural insulin level. Keep in mind here that their carbohydrate consumption should not be less than 100 grams daily, as this does not support their high intensity exercise regime.

The Four Phases of the Diet

Dr Atkin has developed his diet format in a different way by dividing it in four individual phases. These phases are:

  • Induction
  • OWL
  • Pre- maintenance
  • Lifetime maintenance

The first phase describes how to limit carbohydrate consumption to 20 grams and how to collect the  necessary calories from this much carbs. Here one must choose salad and vegetables as sources of carbs because these are low in starch.

Don’t get confused to see the word OWL because here it stands for ongoing weight-loss.  In this phase, we add fiber-rich and nutrient-dense food to the diet as additional source of carbs. During the first week carbohydrate consumption will be increased to 25 grams and we will add five grams more in every subsequent week. We have to continue with this system until our weight stops reducing. Whenever weight reducing stops completely, we have to move 5 grams from daily carbs intake quantity until we start losing weight slowly.

During the third phase, which is pre-maintenance, we will increase carb intake by 10 gram every week until our weight stabilizes.

Finally, we monitor our weight and increase carbs intake accordingly. Here one should be careful about carbs intake because an unnecessary intake of carbs can spoil your so-long effort and can increase the weight-gaining rate. In addition, you must consult with your dietician before adding new items of carbs.

Overall Effectiveness of Atkin’s Diet

When Atkin first introduced his diet format, it was well followed. However, the modified versions are more resourceful than the first one and are now being considered as a healthy and long term weight loss plan. While following this diet we don’t need to search for refined foods. Rather, we rely on traditional food items and maintain weight simply by increasing and decreasing carb intake from time to time.

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