Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet is a popular diet created by Dr Robert Atkins. The diet was first created in the 1970s as the Atkins Diet Revolution, and was re-introduced in the 1990s. Since its re-introduction, the Atkins Diet has been tried by over 25 million people in America alone!

Principle of the Atkins diet

The Atkins Diet believes in limiting the amount of carbohydrates in a person’s diet. The Atkins Diet is strongly against refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, flour and high-fructose corn syrups. Dr Atkins claimed instead that these refined carbohydrates were the cause of many illnesses such as obesity.

Dr Atkins claimed that illnesses such as obesity were caused by excessive secretion of insulin, due to eating too many carbohydrates. Excessive secretion of insulin, according to Dr Atkins, causes people to eat more and hence creates the obesity problem.

The Atkins Diet also believes that the risk of saturated fats to people is overrated. Instead, only trans-fats, found in processed food, are harmful.

The Atkins Diet follows the principle of restricting carbohydrates. This induces the body’s metabolism to burn fat, instead of glucose. This burning of fat therefore leads to weight reduction.

What are you allowed to eat on the Atkins diet?

  • Meat – red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs;
  • 40g-90g of unrefined carbohydrates – derived from whole grains, fruit and vegetables.

What is forbidden on the Atkins diet?

  • Processed food – cakes, cookies, ice cream;
  • Trans fats – such as margarine;
  • More than 20 grams of refined carbohydrates – such as sugar and white flour.

Pros and Cons of the Atkins diet

One benefit of the Atkins Diet is fast results. Some independent studies have noted that when carbohydrates were restricted, people were less likely to over-eat and hence lost weight.

The Atkins Diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease, as it can raise the level of “good�? cholesterol which protects the heart and arteries.

However, the Atkins Diet strongly restricts the intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which contain a substance called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals appear to help in preventing cancer, and people on the Atkins Diet may miss out.

Also, due to its restrictiveness, the Atkins Diet can be difficult to maintain. The weight loss due to the Atkins Diet depends on whether a person can maintain the diet for a long time. In some studies, over 40% of people dropped out before their completion.

Daily and Weekly Atkins Diet Plans

There are four stages in the Atkins Diet – Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-maintenance, and Lifetime maintenance.

  1. Induction: The Induction phase is the most restrictive stage of the Atkins Diet. The dieter is allowed to eat most meats, one cup of vegetables, two cups of salad, cheese and cream, and 20g of carbohydrates a day. Caffeine, alcohol, and processed food is prohibited.

    The Induction phase lasts two weeks, and is where most dieters see the most significant amount of weight loss. A 6lb – 8lb weight loss per week is not uncommon.

  2. Ongoing Weight Loss: After two weeks, the dieter enters this stage where they can slowly increase their carbohydrate intake. An increase of 5g a day is permitted until the dieter is within 10lb of the target weight.

  3. Pre-maintenance: The dieter continues to increase their carbohydrate intake. This stage is to find the maximum amount of carbohydrates the dieter can eat without weight gain.

  4. Lifetime maintenance: The final stage emphasizes the need to entrench the habits from earlier. Most people eat 40g – 90g of carbohydrates daily.

Expected Weight Loss on the Atkins diet

Most dieters can expect a loss of at least 12lb on this diet, with most of the weight loss occurring during the first two weeks.

Atkins Diet Rating

Ease: 4/5 -The diet requirements are quite straight-forward, and due to diet restrictions it is easy to create an Atkins meal.

Balance: 2/5 - The jury is still out as to whether the diet is healthy.

Maintenance: 2/5 - Due to its restrictiveness, it can be difficult to maintain the diet.

Overall: 2/5

More Information

You can get a free personalized Atkins Nutritional Profile from