Atkins Diet Basics

By Michael James

The common name for the 'Atkins Nutritional Approach' is the 'Atkins Diet', which was the invention of Doctor Robert Atkins. Dr. Atkins had gained a lot of surplus weight while he was studying in medical school and after coming across a new diet in the medical journal, he decided to refine it and publish it as his own.

Atkins, in his Atkins Diet, stated that he believed that the prevalent theories about weight gain were all wrong. First, he dismissed the idea that saturated fats were bad; instead he said it was it was carbohydrates that led to the weight problems Americans have. Atkins held that our obsession with fat actually worsened the problem. He pointed to all the low-fat foods that were high in carbohydrates, which meant that people on a diet often ate foods that were worse for them than what they normally ate.

The Atkins diet shifted the focus. Atkins said that by avoiding carbohydrates, people would consume stored body fats. And, of course, if you lose the fat, you lose the weight. He said it was not just a matter of eating less. Atkins postulated that your diet could actually help you burn calories and The Atkins Diet supposedly burned more calories than were consumed everyday. But the claims were disputed.

Dr. Atkins also touted the positive influence that his diet could have on suffers of type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a disease you get early in life, but type 2 is often closely associated with diet and excess body weight. So, it should follow that any diet that helps reduce weight, will help people with Type 2 diabetes. The Atkins diet is low in carbohydrates, which must be avoided with type 2 diabetes regardless of the caloric intake, so because of this aspect of the diet, Atkins claimed that those who suffer type 2 diabetes would no longer need medication such as insulin. In general, doctors disagree with Atkins on this point, although they do agree, however, that a lower carbohydrate intake helps control Type 2 diabetes, but there is no proof that carbohydrates cause diabetes.

What are the steps one has to take to follow the Atkins diet? It is followed in four phases - Induction; On-Going Weight loss, Pre-maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance. Here is an overview of the most important phase - The Induction Phase.

The Induction phase is probably the most difficult of the phases in the Atkins diet. Atkins is rather flexible about how long it should last " but recommends two weeks. During this time, carbohydrate consumption should be severely limited " up to 20 grammes per day. The goal is to enter a fat burning metabolic process called 'ketosis' which is when the body, being starved of glucose, starts to convert previously stored fat into the fatty acids needed to power the body. Weight loss during this period is often extreme " some Atkins dieters report losses of 5-10 lbs. a week or more.

The goals of the three final phases in the Atkins diet are the learning of the ideal carbohydrate levels for the next two phases: continued weight loss and weight maintenance. Millions of people are still losing the weight they want to on this diet " but beware the dangers of taking in too much cholesterol. - 31820

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