The Atkins diet is one of the most popular diet plans that is also in trend these days. Named after Dr. Robert C. Atkins, it's a high-protein, high-fat diet that has been around for decades but continues to be debated over its effectiveness and potential health risks. Some say this phase-wise diet plan is a great way to lose weight and become healthier, while others warn of potential health risks associated with such an extreme diet. To be aware of the risk along with the health benefits, it’s important for you to understand the pros and cons of Atkins diet.
It's a 7-day diet plan which you must follow strictly. The types and amounts of compliant foods may differ across various Atkins plans and phases. However, as a general rule, you can anticipate consuming the following foods while on the Atkins diet. The phases of the Atkins Diet are as follows:
This phase is the most restrictive. You should consume no more than 20g of net carbohydrates daily for two weeks. During this time, you can eat high-protein foods like eggs, fish, poultry and meat, and some vegetables that grow above ground.
In this stage, your daily carb intake gradually increases to 25–50g while avoiding white bread, rice, and other grains. You'll also introduce nuts, seeds, and low-carb fruits into the mix.
In this stage, you will experiment with different levels of carbohydrate consumption until you find the level that works best for you—one that allows you to maintain your weight without feeling deprived.
Once you have reached your desired weight, this is the phase where you will continue eating the same combination of foods while monitoring your weight and carbohydrate intake levels. This is meant to be a lifelong commitment to maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy all the benefits of the Atkins diet.
Although low-carb diets may not be suitable for everyone, there are several advantages to following the Atkins diet. Since the publication of Dr. Atkins' initial diet book in 1972, numerous studies have highlighted the efficacy of a low-carb lifestyle for weight loss and cardiovascular health. Here are some of the potential benefits of the Atkins diet.
The main benefit of the Atkins Diet is weight loss due to its low carb intake, which encourages your body to burn stored fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This leads to rapid weight loss in those who are overweight or obese.
For people with diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions, following an Atkins Diet helps lower blood sugar levels by eliminating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.
People following an Atkins Diet often report increased energy levels due to the improved diet and reduced unhealthy foods such as processed carbs and sugar.
Unlike other diets that need you to keep track of your calorie intake regularly, Atkins diet does not require you to. Simply follow the recommended guidelines for your food intake, and you can enjoy your meals without any restrictions.
You must remove unhealthy foods such as processed sugar and carbs from your daily meals to follow this diet. This will help to decrease your body's triglyceride levels, resulting in a reduction in bad cholesterol levels.
The Atkins diet plan has proven to be highly effective for weight loss. Those who follow this diet have experienced significant weight loss in the initial stages, which has helped to boost their motivation and confidence.
Because the Atkins Diet requires you to eat more fat than other diets, it can increase bad cholesterol levels. This could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease if you take the diet to an extreme or follow it for an extended period.
While Atkins Diet eliminates unhealthy processed foods, it also limits nutrient-rich items such as fruits and vegetables. This could lead to deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals and put you at risk of developing additional health problems.
Following a strict low-carb diet such as Atkins is difficult to maintain in the long run because it requires you to completely avoid certain food groups, including sugary snacks and starchy carbohydrates.
The high protein intake associated with the Atkins Diet can lead to digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, and indigestion.
Following the Atkins diet also requires you to buy more expensive protein-rich foods like meats which may not be affordable for everyone. This could result in an increased grocery bill every month.
The Atkins Diet is just one of many weight-loss options. It's beneficial because it focuses on eating healthier rather than calorie counting and involves cutting back on carbs rather than restricting foods entirely. However, it may not be suitable for everyone; depending on your lifestyle or medical history, this diet may not be the best option for you. If you're considering trying the Atkins Diet, it's important to research and thoroughly consult your nutritionist beforehand.
Long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet can be linked to various complications, including heart arrhythmias, impairment of cardiac contractile function, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, lipid abnormalities, and physical activity impairment.
Research has shown that during the maintenance phase of the Atkins diet, the recommended protein intake is higher than the keto diet. Additionally, the carbohydrate allowance is more flexible. This diet, which is lower in saturated fat and higher in protein, can assist with weight maintenance and decrease the chances of developing heart disease.
If you are taking diuretics, insulin, or oral diabetes medications, have a history of an eating disorder, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, this may not be safe for you. Talking to your healthcare provider or RDN before starting a new diet plan is important.
It's good that Atkins has naturally low carbohydrates that don't convert to sugar. When you have low carb intake, your body burns fat for energy instead, especially the fat stored around your belly.
According to research, the Atkins diet may effectively promote weight loss. A study that compared seven popular diets found that the Atkins diet was more likely to lead to significant weight loss after 6-12 months. Additionally, 75% of the studies suggested that the Atkins diet could be useful for achieving long-term weight loss.