Following the Atkins Diet

By Michael James

The popular name for the 'Atkins Nutritional Approach' is the 'Atkins Diet', which was the brainchild of Doctor Robert Atkins. He had put on a lot of weight while in medical school and after reading about a certain diet in the medical journal, he decided to improve it and release it under his own name.

Atkins, in his Atkins Diet, stated that he believed that the prevailing 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 shifts the focus. Atkins said that by cutting out carbohydrates, people would burn 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 contested.

Dr. Atkins also promulgated 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 surplus body weight. So, it should follow that any diet that helps decrease weight, will help people with Type 2 diabetes. The Atkins diet is low in carbohydrates, which ought to 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 the most difficult phase of the Atkins diet. Atkins is flexible about the time period " but recommends it lasts for two weeks. During this phase carbohydrates are severely curtailed " you can only consume up to 20 grams per day. The goal is to enter a fat burning metabolic phase called ketosis when the body, starved of glucose, will start converting stored fat into fatty acids needed to power the body. Weight loss during this phase can be extreme " some Atkins followers reported losses of 5-10 pounds a week or more.

The purposes of the final three phases in the Atkins diet are to learn the ideal carbohydrate levels for the next two phases, which are continued weight loss and weight maintenance. Many millions of people are still losing the weight they want to on the Atkins Diet " but be aware of the risks of taking in too much cholesterol and fat. - 31820

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