Atkins New Diet Revolution: A Brief Review
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The Atkins New Diet Revolution
Author: Dr Robert C. Atkins

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DR Atkins' diet program is a low-carb, high protein eating plan in which refined carbohydrates are not permitted. There are three basic phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss and Maintenance. The level of permitted carbs increases as you progress through these diet-stages, but carbohydrate remains something of a problem-food, and readers are warned that fruit-eating will “always” be “somewhat risky.”

Atkins Diet Induction Phase

The aim of this initial 14-day phase of the diet is to induce a state of "ketosis", in which the body begins to burn fat for fuel (instead of carbs) and weight loss is rapid - typically between 2-8 pounds in the first week. There is almost no carbohydrate at all in the induction phase - just three cups of green salad per day, or two cups of salad and one cup of non-starchy green vegetables: a total of 20g of net carbs. This means no milk or yogurt, no whole-wheat breads or cereals.

Atkins Diet Ongoing Weight Loss Phase

In the second phase of the Atkins Diet, known as "Ongoing Weight Loss", you add an additional 5g of net carbs a day in weekly increments: for example, in Week 3 you eat 25g net carbs per day, and in Week 4 30g net carbs per day. These carbs should be nuts, seeds, vegetables and berries.

You keep adding 5g carbohydrate a week until your weight loss ceases, at which point you will have found your correct carb intake - typically between 40-60g per day. When you are within about 5-10 pounds of your target weight you may slightly increase the level of carbs again and by the time you reach it, you should know the number of daily net carbs you can afford to eat to maintain that weight.

Exercise and Nutrition

Exercise is an essential part of DR Atkins' New Diet Revolution, and you are advised to take certain nutritional supplements including calcium and fiber. In order to maintain your weight once you have achieved your weight loss target, you should follow the Atkins For Life diet recommendations and recipes.

Atkins Diet Maintenance Program

This permits a steady but still restricted carb-intake. Curiously, there are no calorie restrictions, so deciding on exactly what amounts of various foods to include in the menus is something of an arbitrary decision.

Carbs to eat regularly, include: apples, berries, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, aubergines, green vegetables, onions, peppers, tomatoes, barley, oatmeal, wheatbran, butter beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, lentils, most nuts and seeds, milk, tofu and unsweetened soy products.

Carbs to eat in moderation, include: apricots, grapes, kiwifruit, mango, melon, nectarine, papaya, pineapple, carrots, peas, squash, black-eyed beans, soy beans, peanuts, unsweetened muesli, buckwheat, multi-grain bread, rye bread.

Carbs to eat sparingly, include: bananas, fruit juice, prunes, raisins, sweetcorn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, white bread, white rice, pasta, pizza, cornflakes, ice cream (sweetened).

Atkins Diet and the Fat Issue

All four phases of DR Atkins' New Diet Revolution, are extremely high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. This remains controversial. Most dieticians and nutritionists as well as heart experts - including DR Agataston, author of the South Beach Diet - are concerned that liberal or over-consumption of saturated fats offers an increased risk of raised cholesterol leading to heart disease.

Atkins Diet and the Nutrition Issue

The 14-day Induction phase contains “no fruit, bread, grains, starchy vegetables, or dairy products other than cheese, cream, or butter.” This means no milk or yogurt, no whole-wheat breads or cereals, which means no easy sources of calcium or vitamin D or whole-wheat phytochemicals (plant-nutrients) that protect against illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, the Atkins plan doesn't permit a high intake of fruits and vegetables, recommended by most nutrition experts because of the numerous documented health benefits from these foods. Instead, Dr. Atkins recommends supplements, but whether bottled-nutrition is as beneficial as food-nutrition is open to doubt.

See also: Nutrient Analysis of Atkins Diet Menus

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