The Atkins diet allows you to lose weight by eliminating sugars from your diet. Developed by Dr. R. Atkins, it has been reviewed by three university medical professors: S. Phinney, J. Vollek and E. Westman, in light of advances in dietetics.
What is the Atkins diet?
The Atkins diet was developed in the 1970s by an American doctor who gave his name to the diet.
Dr. Atkins based his diet on the relationship between carbohydrate intake and fat storage. By eliminating carbohydrates, or sugars, the body will have to draw energy from the fat stored in the body.
An Atkins diet thus requires a diet:
- with a maximum of 80 g of green vegetables per day;
- without carbohydrates: rice, bread, pasta, fruits, some vegetables, starchy foods, cereals . . ;
- . . .no sugary drinks: soda, alcohol. . ;
- rich in proteins: meat, fish, eggs, dairy products . . ;
- rich in lipids: butter, oil…
The 4 phases of the Atkins diet
Whatever the phase, the rule is to eat by hunger only, until satiety and to drink enough (sweetened drinks are allowed).
Duration: 7 to 14 days.
Only 20g of carbohydrates are allowed, 15g of which are ideally provided by vegetables. The rest is generally provided by fruit or dairy products.
Most carbohydrates should be avoided (cereals, pasta, semolina, flours and derivatives, rice, potatoes, pulses, sugar and derivatives). There may be 2 snacks during the day.
Duration: up to 5 kg of the desired weight.
The aim is to gradually reintroduce carbohydrates, at a rate of 5 g per step. These carbohydrates can be provided by legumes, berries, nuts, seeds,… These are sources of carbohydrates rich in fibre and/or with an interesting content of unsaturated fatty acids.
Duration: up to the desired weight and stabilized over 1 month.
It’s a prestabilization phase. Starchy, wholegrain or wholegrain cereals are allowed.
Carbohydrate intake should be increased by 10g per 10g increment and weight loss should continue to be observed. Once the goal has been reached, it is up to each individual to find the amount of carbohydrate they can ingest without putting on weight again.
Duration: for life.
You eat with a daily amount of carbohydrates that does not make you gain weight (the amount you determined in phase 3).
Keys to losing weight with the Atkins diet
- A food composition table and a culinary scale must be available to quantify carbohydrates accurately.
- It is better to force on lipids than on proteins because when proteins are in excess, the body can use them to make energy (this is called neoglucogenesis). As a result, it makes fewer ketones.
- In case of fatigue, mineral and vitamin supplementation may be necessary.
- Snacking should be routine. This helps to avoid frequent bouts of fatigue in the late afternoon and not to be too hungry at dinner (risk of eating more and faster).
- The sweetener allowed as part of this diet is not miraculous if you are addicted to sugar: the brain is not fooled! So the best thing to do is to learn to drink without a sweet taste.
The benefits of this plan
The Atkins plan has many advantages, it allows:
- rapid weight loss, up to 6 kg in 1 month;
- to eat his fill;
- to eat without counting: no restriction on quantities.
The disadvantages of the Atkins diet
The Atkins diet also has its drawbacks:
- it is difficult to follow, because it is restrictive on the large family of carbohydrates;
- it’s not adapted to everyone’s nutritional needs;
- it causes muscle wasting;
- it can lead to very strong cravings for sugar that can put the diet at risk;
- it can cause dietary deficiencies leading to nausea, fatigue and even depression;
- it helps raise cholesterol levels;
- Weight regain is often inevitable at the end of the diet;
- it cannot be followed by people with diabetes, especially because of the risk of hypoglycemia it can cause .
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