Atkins Diet

by Emily McBride
(last updated September 24, 2009)

The Atkins diet is formally called the Atkins Nutritional Approach. It was started by Dr. Robert Atkins, who actually used the diet himself. The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet. Dr. Atkins' two books; Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution, the original book from 1972, has been revised to be the newer Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, which came out in 2001. The principles in the revised book remain true to the principles in the older version.

  • Why no carbs? Dr. Atkins believes that refined carbohydrates (high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, flour) take the blame in the problem with obesity. The diet's purpose in limiting carbohydrates is to get the body to switch from burning energy from fat stores rather than burning energy from carbohydrates. Dr. Atkins (as well as many who have tried this diet) believe that dieters following a low-carbohydrate diet experience less hunger than those on a low-fat diet.
  • Phases. The Atkins diet has four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance. Induction usually lasts two weeks and is usually the hardest part of the diet because the body has to drastically adjust, but also show the most weight loss. At the very most, 20 grams of carbohydrates are allowed each day, and most should be from vegetables. Foods that are allowed are poultry, fish, meat, eggs, and some cheese, butter, and vegetable oil. Drinking water and abstaining from alcohol are also required. For the on-going phase, more specific foods are assigned from the "carbohydrate ladder." Carbohydrate intake is increased in the pre-maintenance phase, with the lifetime goal being to make healthy choices about food.
  • Controversy. Many experts claim that following a low-carbohydrate diet is not healthy for the body (think of the food pyramid with grains as the biggest section on the bottom). Another worry is that many people who try the diet claim that they gain the weight back (and more) as soon as they return to eating normal foods again. Although many people do lose weight from following this diet, some experts believe that it is only because the dieter eats less because they are bored of eating from the limited choices that they are given.

Remember to thoroughly research any diet plan before you begin it (and ask your doctor if it will be safe and effective for your body). Just because following a certain diet helps you to lose weight does not mean that it is healthy for your body.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...


Finding a Good Family Doctor

Everyone wants a reliable doctor, especially when you have kids to worry about. Follow these tips to find a good family ...

Discover More

Laser Eye Surgery

Tired of having to wear glasses or contacts to see? Laser eye surgery can get rid of your dependence on glasses or ...

Discover More

The Best Eye Shadow for Green Eyes

Are you one of the lucky few with green eyes? Follow these tips for what colors of eye shadow to use to make your eyes "pop."

Discover More
More Health Tips

Jenny Craig Diet

Are you looking around at options before you choose a diet? Read here for more about the well-known Jenny Craig diet.

Discover More

How Long Should You Stay with a Diet?

If a diet is something you can't see yourself doing for many years or the rest of your life, maybe it's time to rethink ...

Discover More

Eating Healthy while On the Run

Eating properly when you're away from home can be a challenge, but you may find that it is entirely manageable even for ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three minus 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)