Atkins’ Low Carb Diet
I am an avid believer in low carb eating. A lot of testing has proven that low-carb eating style has more benefits than traditional low fats and carb counting diets. Lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels are just a couple, not to mention weight loss. So, if you could change your style of eating while eating the foods you like and still gain the health benefits, what would you have to lose if not weight?
These low carb diets took a new turn when Dr. Atkins introduced his New Diet Revolution. The benefits of low carb diets are the fact that they are very satiating and the varieties of foods that can be included such as butter and bacon.
These and many more, I read in the Atkins ‘For a New You' book. The more I read the book, the better I felt about making a change in the way I saw healthy eating and weight loss. With immediate effect, I downloaded the Atkins app and started tracking what I ate. I found that I could consistently stay between 35-40 carbs a day without thinking about calories or getting hungry. No, I did not choose to eat bread, pasta or rice at this time but there were so many options available I didn’t really miss it.
The list below compares low-fat menus to low carb menus on a day to day basis.
LOW FAT MENU:
Breakfast – ½ cup steel cut oats; ½ cup skimmed milk; ½ banana, and tea
Lunch – fat free mayonnaise, low calorie tortilla wrap made with deli turkey, and tomatoes; carrot sticks; ¼ cup fat free yoghurt; diet soda
Afternoon snack – 2 cups of air popped popcorn; crystal light
Dinner – 1 cup of whole grain pasta; ½ cup marinara sauce; 4 oz. grilled skinless chicken breast; tossed green salad with fat free vinaigrette; ¼ cup of fat free ice cream
LOW CARB MENU:
Breakfast – 2 strips of bacon; 2 scrambled eggs; heavily creamed coffee
Lunch- salad with mixed greens and 2 oz. cheese, blue cheese dressing; 2 broiled chicken thighs; water
Afternoon snack – 1 oz. almonds
Dinner – steak; sautéed mushrooms; artichoke; water
From the above list, it is evident that there is a striking difference between the two diets. As we proceed to the next chapter, I will give a list of the foods that I considered my everyday list. Also, I will add the list of foods I consumed as I approached my weight loss goal.
With a form of resemblance with the ketogenic diet, both diets highlight the importance of consuming more proteins and fats than carbohydrates. When the supplies are in excess, the body obtains energy from the carbohydrates (glycogen stores). When the body requires energy, the ketogenic diet plunges the body into burning fat rather than carbohydrates. While the process is effective for weight loss, it may lead to a condition known as ‘ketoses’ where there are high levels of ketones in the body.
The four phases of the Atkins routine are:
- The induction phase (Week 1)
This is the first phase where the woman cuts down on the intake of carbohydrates in the general daily diet. By calculation, you must consume about 20g of net carbs every day. The importance of the step is to force the body to rely on the fat storage for energy. For at least two weeks, you must follow this routine if you want to lose weight the fast and quick way.
- The second stage (Week 2)
This phase emphasizes on continued weight loss. Good news! You can increase your net carbs to 25 and 45g every day. To avoid an explosive weight gain, this step helps to reintroduce the carbohydrates into your diet.
- The pre-maintenance stage (Week 3)
According to the name, this step helps to reintroduce carbs in a similar way as the second stage. The objectives of this stage are focus on helping you lose the last 10 pounds very slowly, examining your tolerance for the banned diets, and maintenance of weight loss. At this stage, you are ready to move to the fourth stage of your goal.
- Lifelong phase (Week 4)
This is the maintenance phase. According to Atkins, you must have figured out how the quantity of carbohydrates you need to maintain your weight.
The genesis of the Atkins diet stems from the belief that carbohydrates are the causes of weight gain. Therefore, we can control our appetite by switching to proteins. It is for this reason that we must limit the amount of carbs we consume if we must achieve the weight loss goal. Fortunately, there is no restriction to the amount of fat you can consume. The initial phase (induction stage) contributes the most to the weight loss objective because you lose some of your glycogen stores and water. However, the second stage boosts the stores after the reintroduction of carbs.
As a busy woman, you can cut down on refine carbs, processed carbs, and alcohol when you embrace the Atkins’ diet. More so, you are at liberty to consume cream, butter, red meat, and cheese. Following Atkins’ routine, you should avoid trans fats (that increase the risk of stroke and other heart diseases) which are found in processed foods.
Nevertheless, this low-carb diet may result in:
- Fatigue, lack of energy, and dizziness
- Bad breath and dry mouth
- Potential bowel problems and constipation due to low fiber
- Deficiency in nutrients