What Is The Atkins Diet?
A low carb, high protein, high fat diet.
How does it work?
The Atkins Diet consists of 4 phases:
* The term "net carbs" is used to describe total carbohydrate grams less fiber grams.
The Atkins Diet starts with a two-week induction period that bans practically all carbs...no bread, cereal, crackers, potatoes, rice, corn, fruit, or sweets. The longer "ongoing weight loss" phase is only slightly less restrictive.
Gradually, phases 3 and 4 allow you to add more vegetables, fruit, and wine up to the point where weight loss slows and eventually ceases - presumably, when you've reached your goal.
Atkins Diet Pros
Atkins Diet Cons
Likelihood of long term weight loss success on the Atkins Diet
According to Consumer Reports
("Adherence" means: How easy is it to stick to the diet in the long term.)
Atkins Diet Review: My Professional Opinion
To me, it seems like the popularity of Atkins has reduced food selection to a process based solely on carb and protein grams.
I once had a client who wasn't even on Atkins tell me she'd rather eat a (packaged, processed) Atkins food bar than an apple due to the "carb content" of the apple.
Forget that the apple has 30-50% less calories than any of the Atkins Bars and provides nutritional qualities that no processed food bar ever will!
I've had other people tell me they won't even eat cauliflower while following Atkins.
Do you know where they got that crazy idea? It's the "avoid everything that's white" translation of Atkins. (What Atkins meant: sugar, bread, rice...)
I've yet to see an overweight person who got that way from eating too much cauliflower! Same with bananas and carrots. I hear about regular people not on Atkins avoiding carrots and bananas like the plague "because they have too many carbs."
I'd love to meet just one person who has gained weight (or is in poor health) from eating too many servings of the fruit group!
This "Atkins mentality" keeps otherwise smart dieters from seeing the forest through all the trees! Making good food choices based on nutrient density and their positive effects on your health gets lost in the rush to avoid carbs.
The Atkins publicity machine claims you can eat all the protein and fat that you want (but little or none of the carbs) and still lose weight. What they leave out is that the underlying principle of weight loss has never changed...
To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn
In other words, you have to create a calorie deficit.
The Atkins Diet can result in weight loss, don't get me wrong...but the weight loss has nothing to do with some magical ratio of carb to protein and everything to do with calorie deficit.
The fast initial weight loss in the first phase is mostly water loss (not true weight loss), but those quick "results" can be motivating and provide a dieter with an emotional jump start.
Even though you may feel you are eating as much (protein and fat) as you want, if you are losing weight week after week it's a result of a calorie deficit made possible by following The Atkins Diet "rules."
You can eat an entire 12 oz T-bone steak for just 700 calories...because it's still fewer calories than the dinner size order of fettuccine alfredo (with more than 1100 calories) that you would have ordered otherwise!
I've also noticed that when people "cheat" on The Atkins Diet, they rarely do so by eating a banana or a large bowl of oatmeal. Cheating usually takes the form of ice cream, cookies, or sugar-laden snacks.
Talk about adding insult to injury! Not only does adhering to Atkins cause you to miss out on important nutrients by subscribing to the guidelines, but then the cravings it leaves you with cause you to break your diet with foods that have absolutely no nutrients.
...is that it has made people talk and think about eating protein rich foods. Including protein with meals helps you feel full and helps balance your blood sugar. Translation...
Ample protein helps you maintain good control of your hunger and appetite, ultimately making it easier to control portions and calorie intake.
Here's my bottom line professional advice...
Skip Atkins. Include protein at all (or most) meals, but make sure it's lean protein like fish, turkey or chicken breast, egg whites, protein powder, or lowfat dairy products.
Include a little fat at all meals too, but choose fats of plant origin (vs. animal fats) like extra virgin olive oil, olives, nuts and seeds. No need to avoid fruits simply because of their sugar or "carb" count. And by all means, have lots of salad and or vegetables with your meals!
Make these healthy choices and you can still lose weight, because the best diet is the one that's tailored for you...
...one that fits your lifestyle and diet preferences, so that you'll be able to stick with it for the rest of your life.
Contact me if you'd like professional help putting together the right diet for you.
Read more about The Atkins Diet: Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution.
In case you think Atkins is an American phenomenon, you'll be surprised to see how much my friend, Michelle, has to say on the subject. I hope you read Spanish! Dietas-Ejercicios.com
Did You Ever Try Atkins? Tell About Your Experience!
The best source of information on Atkins is the people who have tried it. If you're one of them...
Give Your Opinion On This Person's Experience!
Here's what others think about this person's experience with the Atkins Diet.
Atkins: Do it right or don't do it
Atkins up and Atkins down
More diet reviews.
Back to Personal Nutrition Guide Home.
New! CommentsHave your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.