The Atkins Diet is a controversial theory that overweight persons can best lose weight by reducing their intake of carbohydrates. While the diet encourages the replacement of manufactured carbohydrates with complex and natural carbohydrates, it also allows encourages consumption of increased levels of proteins and healthy fats, which critics argue is contrary to most traditional views of good diet.
Cardiologist Dr. Robert Coleman Atkins was the creator if this approach, and his "Dr Atkins' Diet Revolution" was first published in 1972, and then reissued 20 years later as Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution. It was the bestselling diet book in history with sales of 12 million copies. It is not clear if the record sales were due to the success of the diet or the popularity of message regardless of its effectiveness. Dr. Atkins himself found a center for complementary medicine.
Although it was reported that Dr. Atkins died of a heart attack, in fact, he died from complications following a head injury after a fall on April 17, 2003.
Followers of the Atkins Diet adhere to a plan to reduce intake of refined carbohydrates, increasing intakes of health fat like Omega-3 and other healthy meat and vegetable fats and to increase water intake to at least eight cups of water a day to help properly hydrate the body. Meals consist of five per day to even out the blood sugars in the body and keep the body "convinced" it is not in a state of starvation. The theory and observed results show that weight loss and body transformations take place for the vast majority who follow this approach. The diet also has been shown to have a healthy effect on pre-diabetic and diabetic patients who follow it. Studies have shown repeatedly that low-carb diets improve the ability of the body to regulate and deal with sugar.
People who follow the Atkins Diet eat in phases. Phase One of the diet encourages people to reduce carbohydrate intake by eating a foundation of healthy vegetables, proteins, healthy fats and cheeses as well as nuts and seeds. The Phase 1 approach is often called "Induction" and allows for 20 grams of carbohydrates a day for two weeks. Eating foods loaded with healthy fats, such as Salmon and avocados along with vegetables kick-starts the weight loss and transformation of the body. Drinking lots of water and healthy exercise is also encouraged.
The second phase, also called "Balancing" or "OWL - Ongoing Weight Loss" is to slowly increase the number of vegetables, nuts and fruit back into the diet and to monitor how the individual body reacts to this. Allowed carbs are 25 grams per day during this phase at the start and to increase by five grams weekly until your body stops the weight loss. The diet recognizes this fact that each person is different and encourages people to be vigilant and monitor weight and health as these foods are reintroduced. Once ongoing weight loss comes to a halt, the person removes 5 grams from the daily intake and weight loss recommences.
The third phase, "Fine Tuning" or "Pre-Maintenance", is designed to add more health carbohydrates as the weight loss slows and as the person is within reach of their goal weight. The daily healthy carbohydrate intake is upped by ten-gram increments to evaluate how the body will react and to allow the person to gauge their set point for weight-loss versus weight-gain.
Finally, Phase four, "Maintenance", is a variation of Phase 3 with the person varying their diet seasonally and monitoring their weight and fitness to keep the weight off. This is described by many as the hardest aspect of the plan, but supporters argue that this is no different than any other diet plan where successful weight loss has occurred.
Atkins promoted an measure called "Net Carbs" where the total carbohydrates are deducted from the fiber (and later on, sugar alternatives like erythritol and allulose). This measure is now abundant in modern food products low in carbohydrates.
- American Medical Association
- Jesus Christ, the apostles and the Mediterranean diet/Mosaic diet
- Carbohydrate-insulin model