Atkins Diet Summary

Perhaps the most widely known of all low carb diets is the Atkins diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970s the Atkins diet is considered by some to be the most extreme low carb diet plan.

Dr. Atkins believed that nearly all obesity is caused by overactive insulin production and not by overeating. He believed that overeating could be caused by carbohydrate addiction and that most overweight people actually ate less than their slim counterparts. However, they crave and eat carbohydrate, which raises their insulin levels and suppresses fat burning.

Dr. Atkins is a proponent of ketogenic fat burning, which is achieved by eating fewer than 40 grams of carbohydrate each day. He advises his followers to buy testing strips so that they can measure the amount of ketones in their urine daily to confirm that they are in a constant state of ketosis. He also recommends the use of dietary supplements to help balance nutrition and the bodies systems.

The Atkins Diet is divided into four stages: the Induction diet, the Ongoing Weight Loss diet, the Pre-Maintenance diet, and finally the Lifetime Maintenance diet.

The Induction diet is very strict as far as carb elimination (20 grams or less per day), but generous in the allowance of fat and protein. It should be noted that low starch vegetables are the recommended source of carbs. This phase of the diet lasts 14 days and is followed by the Ongoing Weight Loss diet (OWL).

The OWL phase allows for the reintroduction of certain good carbs but the levels are kept below 40 grams a day. Dieters stay on OWL until they reach their ideal weight. Once the ideal weight is reached dieters transition into the Pre-Maintenance diet, where they experiment with reintroducing certain good carbs until they discover their carb tolerance level (the total carb grams they can consume in a day and not gain weight).

When dieters understand how much carb they can consume and they maintain their ideal weight, they will enter Lifetime Maintenance. Here they will continue to avoid sugar, processed foods, white flour and hydrogenated fat/oils.

The Atkins diet offers a number of approved foods and there are Atkins stores in many areas that sell diet compatible products.

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