The Atkins Diet
How the Atkins Diet Works continued...
This "first step in an unhealthy metabolic path" leads to "the early stages of diabetes." However, a body in ketosis burns up excess fat, and in time -- according to the Atkins theory -- returns to normal metabolic function. Though all the fat in this diet may temporarily spike someone's cholesterol level, this is usually short lived and soon rights itself with a lower cholesterol and triglyceride level as weight loss occurs -- at least, that's the theory.
For most people, the carb consumption must be no more than 40 grams a day for this biochemical mechanism to occur. Although exercise isn't stressed, the Atkins theory holds that some people will need to add physical activity for ketosis to kick in. People are urged to supplement with vitamins, since they won't be getting them from sources such as vegetables and fruits.
The plan allows you to eat foods that many dieters have only dreamed about. The diet is said to work even if other diets have left you feeling depressed and deprived. The Atkins diet at a glance:
- Sets few limits on the amount of food you eat but instead severely restricts the kinds of food allowed on your plate: no refined sugar, milk, white rice, or white flour
- Allows you to eat foods traditionally regarded as "rich": meat, eggs, cheese, and more
- Claims to reduce your appetite in the process
On the Atkins diet, you're eating almost pure protein and fat. You can consume red meat, fish (including shellfish), fowl, and regular cheese (not "diet" cheese, cheese spreads, or whey cheeses). You can cook with butter, have mayo with your tuna, and put olive oil on your salads.
On the other hand, carbs are restricted (about 20 grams of net carbs per day, meaning total carbs minus fiber) in the first two weeks, which translates to three cups of loosely packed salad or two cups of salad with two-thirds cup of certain cooked vegetables each day.
There are no exceptions to these rules during the first two weeks because low-carb consumption (no fruits and only a few leafy green vegetables) is supposed to jump-start the weight-loss biochemical activity of the diet. You're not counting calories (in fact, you may be eating more calories than you were before).
Later, the carb allowance is increased in the form of fiber-rich foods, but you do not return to eating refined sugar (by the teaspoonful or in desserts), milk, white rice, white bread, white potatoes or pasta made with the dreaded white flour. Those remain on a lifelong list of forbidden pleasures.
The diet does allow for adding fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods after the two-week induction period.
Then, over time, the transition from weight loss to weight maintenance is made by gradually increasing carbs so long as gradual weight loss is maintained.
Exercise in all phases as part of a healthy lifestyle is now emphasized more than when the diet was first introduced.