The Atkins Diet is a renowned low-carbohydrate eating plan developed in the 1960s by a famous cardiologist Robert C. Atkins. It limits carbs (carbohydrates) while highlighting proteins and fats.
The main purpose of the Atkins Diet is to alter the eating habits to help you lose weight and maintain. It’s a healthy lifetime approach to eating, whether you wish to boost your energy, lose weight or improve certain health problems like high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome.
Phases of the Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet consists of mainly four phases, based on your weight-loss goals.
Phase 1: Induction
In this phase, you need to cut out almost all the carbohydrates from your diet. You need to eat just 20 grams of net carbs in a day that too mainly from vegetables. Instead of receiving 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, you only get around 10 percent of calories here. Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, celery, green beans, cucumber, and peppers, should account for 12-15 grams of your regular net carbs.
Here you need to eat protein-rich foods like poultry, fish, and shellfish, meat, cheese and eggs at each meal. No need of restricting fats and oils, but you are not supposed to eat some fruits, bread, sugary baked goods, pasta, nuts, grains or alcohol. You must drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day. You need to be in this phase for at least 2 weeks, based on your weight.
Phase 2: Balancing
In this phase, you need to have a minimum of 12-15 grams of net carbs from vegetables. You also need to avoid foodstuffs with added sugar. Here, you can add back some nutrient-rich carbohydrates like more vegetables and berries, nuts, and seeds, as you endure to lose weight. You can stay in this phase till you are about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) from your goal weight.
Phase 3: Pre-maintenance
In this stage, you can gradually increase the range of foods you eat that includes starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You can add around 10 grams of carbohydrates to your diet every week, but you need to cut back if you are not losing weight. You can stay in this phase till you reach your goal weight.
Phase 4: Lifetime maintenance
You can move into this phase once you reach your goal weight, and then you continue this way of eating for your lifetime.
Foods to Avoid
Foods that you need to avoid when you are following Atkins diet:
- Sugar: Fruit juices, Soft drinks, cakes, candies, ice creams etc.
- Grains: Wheat, Spelt, Barley, Rye, Rice.
- Vegetable oils: Corn oil, Soybean oil, Cottonseed oil, Canola oil etc.
- Trans fats: Typically found in processed foods
- Low-fat foods: These foods are usually very high in sugars.
- High-carb vegetables: Carrots, turnips etc.
- High-carb fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, pears etc.
- Starches: Sweet potatoes, Potatoes etc.
- Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, Lentils etc.
Foods to Eat
Foods you need to eat when you are following Atkins Diet
- Meats: Pork, beef, lamb, bacon, chicken etc.
- Fatty fish and seafood: Trout, salmon, sardines etc.
- Low-carb vegetables: Spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus etc.
- Full-fat dairy: Butter, cheese, cream, full-fat yoghurt.
- Nuts and seeds: Macadamia nuts, Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds etc.
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocados and avocado oil.
Drinks to Take
Here are some drinks that are tolerable on the Atkins diet
- Water: Water is always your best go-to beverage.
- Coffee: In spite of what you might have heard, coffee is high in antioxidants and really quite healthy.
- Green tea: A very healthy beverage.
Alcohol is even fine in small quantities. Good to stick to dry wines with no added sugars, and evade high-carbohydrates drinks like beer.