Atkins diet is one of the popular weight loss diets. This article presents some meal plans for Atkins diet that can help you as a guideline to get started.
Obesity is a very common problem in children and adults. It is caused mainly by unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle. It can give rise to a number of health problems including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea, and certain orthopedic problems.
Therefore, it is very essential to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy body. There are various methods of weight loss such as weight loss pills, surgery, exercises, and specific weight loss diets. Atkins diet plan is one of the most effective weight loss diet plans. It is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet plan, which can help you lose weight naturally.
This diet plan was launched by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1960s. It is a multi-phased program, which not only helps you lose excess weight, but also prevents various health problems.
Our body generates energy by burning carbohydrates and fats. When the intake of carbohydrates is decreased, our body gets energy by burning more fats as fuel. This process is called ‘lipolysis’. Once the carbohydrate intake is reduced to less than 40 grams per day, your body will start burning fats efficiently. Your cravings for carbohydrates are minimized.
Due to fat burning, ketones are released through urine. This process is known as ‘ketosis’. High-protein foods in this diet can help stabilize the blood-sugar levels. Thus, our body loses excess weight through lipolysis and ketosis.
There are four phases in Atkins diet such as induction, ongoing weight loss (OWL), pre-maintenance, and maintenance.
In the induction phase, the consumption of carbohydrates is strictly restricted to 20 grams per day for at least 14 days. You can have only salads and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and lettuce. You can have protein-rich foods such as meat, eggs, fish, shellfish, and chicken. This phase induces certain changes in your body chemistry, leading to lipolysis and ketosis. The induction phase stabilizes the blood-sugar levels and breaks your food cravings.
In the OWL stage, you can gradually increase the intake of carbohydrates from 20-25 grams in the first week, 30 grams in the next week, and increase 5 grams weekly. Carbohydrates should be taken in the form of nutritious and fiber-rich foods. Then, reduce 5 grams of carbohydrates from your daily intake in order to continue moderate, sustained weight loss.
In the pre-maintenance stage, the rate of weight loss is slower. Healthy body weight is maintained by increasing the daily intake of carbohydrates by 10 grams.
Maintenance phase is the last stage in this diet plan. Once you have reduced your weight to the desired level, you need to maintain the appropriate weight. In this phase, you can consume a variety of foods having restricted amounts of carbohydrates.
Diet Meal Plans
The Atkins diet plan involves the consumption of more proteins and fats such as eggs, fish, meat and cheese; and limited intake of refined or processed carbs or high-carb foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, very sweet fruits, starchy vegetables, and high-sugar foods such as desserts.
The most preferred foods in this diet plan are eggs, cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, and mozzarella), meats (ham, bacon, beef, etc.), fowl (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.), fish, and shellfish (trout, salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc.), vegetables such as squash and peas, and fats like olive oil, butter, and vegetable oil. You can have beverages like herbal tea, club soda, diet soda, and one or two cups of tea or coffee.
Here are some sample Atkins diet meal plans, which can guide you for getting started:
Breakfast: Omelet made from 3 eggs, ¼ cup of cream, and 2 teaspoons of spinach and feta, ½ ham steak, and decaffeinated tea or coffee
Lunch: Salami and cream cheese roll-ups, and 2 cups of salad greens
Dinner: Creamy almond chicken, 1 cup salad greens, 1 cup broccoli, and 1 teaspoon dressing of choice
Breakfast: 3 soft or hard-boiled eggs (You can chop them lightly and mix with 1 teaspoon fresh butter, 1 teaspoon cream, and 1 teaspoon fresh herbs of choice), 4 turkey sausages, and decaffeinated tea or coffee
Lunch: Chef salad (ham and turkey strips, grated cheese, and chopped eggs with 2 cup salad greens), and 2 teaspoons dressing
Dinner: Lamb roasted in mint and rosemary sprigs, 1 cup cauliflower with cream and butter, 1 cup salad greens, and 1 teaspoon dressing of choice
Breakfast: Two poached eggs over fried green tomatoes, and 2 strips of nitrate-free bacon
Lunch: Grilled turkey burger with pepper-jack cheese, green salsa, and red cabbage slaw
Dinner: Sauteed kale with red pepper dressing and spice pumpkin seeds
Breakfast: Whitefish salad and 2 tomato slices
Lunch: Spinach, ham and cheese omelet, and mixed green salad
Dinner: Herb-roasted chicken with lemon, buttered green beans on Panna Cotta
Atkins diet causes significant weight loss in a natural way by burning body fats. High protein foods recommended in this plan can help maintain constant blood-sugar levels. You are able to avoid inter-meal diets, as you won’t feel hungry in between the meals.
This diet also improves your overall health since most of the toxins in the body are removed along with fat burning. Also, it helps increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), which can minimize the risk of atherosclerosis.
Before you opt for Atkins diet plan, it is necessary to consult your doctor/dietitian. Regular exercises along with this diet are significantly beneficial for quick weight loss. This diet plan is not recommended for people with diabetes, kidney disorder, and during pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.