The Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet, introduced by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970’s has spurred a legion of low-carb dieters in the United States. For two decades, millions of Americans have restricted their intake of carbohydrates following the teachings of Dr. Atkins. The diet, which was reintroduced in the book Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, focuses on the restriction of carbohydrates to 20 grams in an individual’s diet at the start of the program and then tailoring his diet to accommodate up to 40-50 grams of carbohydrates during the 'maintenance' phase.

During the first phase or the induction phase, dieters are not allowed to have more than 20 grams of carbohydrates and they also can not have any alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. They must also refrain from consuming starchy foods, bread or even fruits. There are no imposed restrictions on meats and other sources of protein and yet weight-loss is fastest during this period. Later on, more carbohydrates will be allowed in the diet but dieters will be asked to watch their intake of refined grains and sugar. By the time a dieter reaches the Maintenance phase, he would already have been used to making smart food choices and would already know the amount of carbohydrates he can consume that will keep him in top shape.

Proponents of the Atkins Diet claim that the program teaches your body to burn calories more efficiently and as a result is said to lessen fatigue, depression, and muscle pains.

The other benefits of the Atkins Diet include:

  1. After successfully completing the four stages of Atkins, you body will no longer crave for sugar or other carbohydrates.
  2. Since only carbohydrates are limited in the program and not meat and other sources of protein, there’s no need for a dieter to suffer from hunger.
  3. The diet has a high success rate with dieters experiencing major weight-loss

Still some medical professionals criticize the program for its tolerance for meat and fat intake which are known to cause increased blood pressure and other heart diseases.

The other disadvantages of the diet are:

  1. The dieter experienced loss of energy during the induction phase when the body is not yet used to low levels of carbohydrates.
  2. Fiber which is good for the digestive system is greatly reduced in the program
  3. The lack of fruits, breads, whole grains and dairy in the diet can result to vitamin deficiencies.