The Atkins diet plan is a no or low carb diet plan, in which the amount of carbohydrate intake is restricted. The severe restriction on carb intake forces the body to burn fat, thereby conducing to weight loss.
Begun by Dr. Robert Atkins in 1970s, the Atkins diet plan surged in popularity in the 1990s. This is a weight loss diet plan that focuses on changing one’s eating habits for weight loss. Dr. Atkins says that the reason the obesity statistics in America is escalating at such a rapid rate is because people consume too many carbohydrates in the form of sugar, flour and high fructose corn syrups. The Atkins diet plan is based on four nutritional principles, such as weight loss, weight maintenance, good health and disease prevention. Today, the Atkins diet menu plan has become synonymous with fast weight loss.
Atkins Low Carb Diet Plan
Atkins diet plan is a low carb diet plan, which entails consumption of no or low carb foods for quick weight loss. The carbohydrate intake is severely restricted in this diet plan, however, fat consumption is allowed. Atkins nutritional approach is based on the concept that the body will be forced to burn fat for energy, when it is supplied with minimal amounts of carbohydrates.
With Atkins diet meal plan consisting of fish, cheese, meat, eggs, good fats and good carbohydrates a person can lose about 10 – 30 pounds of weight in the first month. Meal plans for Atkins diet consists of a four phase model; induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance.
Atkins Meal Plan: Induction Phase
The induction phase lasts for about 14 days, during which carbohydrate intake is limited to a mere 20 grams per day. People are seen to lose about 15 pounds in the first 2 weeks itself. Because the carb intake is severely restricted, the body is coerced to burn fat instead, thus, during this induction phase dramatic weight loss is seen. The diet comprises fish, meat, eggs, chicken, turkey, shellfish and soft cheese. In this stage, a person’s addictions to wheat, sugar, alcohol, caffeine is broken.
Atkins Meal Plan: Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL)
In this stage a person’s Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL) is found and he should maintain a carb limit of that amount. CCLL is critical for losing weight. In the OWL stage, carbs are introduced gradually to the diet, increasing 5 gm of carbs every week. One has to check his or her weight every week. The carb amount has to be increased by 5 gms each week till one stops losing weight. This carb limit becomes one’s CCLL. Consuming anything more than this carb limit will conduce to weight gain.
Atkins Meal Plan: Pre-Maintenance
When a person loses the required amount of weight (10 pounds away from weight loss goal) he or she then enters the third stage of pre-maintenance. In this stage, one learns what one’s body metabolism can handle and what it cannot. One’s carb intake is increased slowly by 10 gms each week till CCLL is found again. As you consume more carbs, it’s a test to eat small portions of the same.
Atkins Meal Plan: Lifetime Maintenance
A person enters the fourth stage of lifetime maintenance when the desired weight loss has occurred. In this stage, one has to remember that even though the variety of foods that can be consumed has increased, one has to control the amount consumed and not slip away into the old eating habits. One learns to control one’s carbohydrate cravings and not consume more than required, so as to prevent weight gain once again.
Atkins Diet Menu Plan
We have listed down some breakfast, lunch and dinner foods that generally come under the Atkins diet menu plan. Have a look at the Atkins diet food list.
- Scotch eggs
- Boiled eggs
- Turkey sausages
- Bacon slices
- Decaf coffee or tea
- Buffalo wings
- Thinly sliced grilled beef steak
- Salad greens
- Small tomato
- Ham steak
- Pork rinds
- Chicken salad
- Pork chops
- Roasted lamb
- Fried fish
- Sour cream
- Grated cheese
- Romano cheese
- Mashed cauliflower
- Salad greens
- Taco salad
- Black olives
Benefits and Criticisms
Those who relish meat and lots of vegetables will love the Atkins plan. Moreover, traditionally fatty foods like cheese, etc. are allowed in this diet plan, which makes most people happy. Atkins diet menu plan is an effective weight loss program that helps lose weight fast, by burning unwanted fat from the body. Moreover, with this diet plan one does not feel hungry between meals, because blood sugar levels are maintained at the same level throughout the day, due to cut back on carbs. All said and done, there are some cons of this diet plan as well.
Following this plan is slightly difficult (especially during the first two weeks) for those who love stuffing themselves with loads of carbs such as pastas, fruits and breads. One of the greatest criticism’s of this diet plan is that it abandoned its customers once the program was done, leaving them free to regain the lost weight. Some are seen to encounter Atkins diet side effects such as headaches, constipation, etc. when they begin the Atkins diet. Moreover, consuming more of lean meats and specific vegetables and fruits can burn a hole in the pocket.
The Atkins diet plan has helped scores of people lose weight really quickly. If followed correctly, this diet plan can help you lose as well as maintain body weight. One’s overall health also improves!