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Atkins Diet - An Introduction to the Atkins Diet Plan

written by: Summer Banks • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 2/27/2009

Many people have struggled with their weight for a long time. This should not necessarily be the case. Many diets exist to ensure that weight watchers lose weight and more importantly, keep it off.

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    An Introduction to the Diet Plan

    Atkins diet is a system by which the body is motivated to lose weight by a change of metabolism and eating habits. Since the body burns fat more slowly, eating diets rich in fat and proteins while reducing carbohydrate intake will speed up the weight loss process. The theory states that over-consumption and hypersensitivity to carbohydrates is the root problem of being overweight. Since it is likely that most overweight people have cells that are ‘insulin resistant’, the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose does not work properly. Thus, a large amount of carbohydrate intake, rather than becoming energy, accumulates causing weight problems.

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    How the Atkins Diet Works

    A body process called ketosis is attained once a person reduces carbohydrates intake to below 40 grams a day. In this state, the body burns fat for energy. This in turn affects insulin production further preventing fat accumulation. As the body perfects the fat conversion to more efficient levels, the craving for carbohydrates subsides and the dieter is able to do without certain foods.

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    The 4 Phases of Atkins Diet

    Induction is considered the most restrictive phase since the dieter is allowed to eat only 20 grams or less of carbohydrates per day. In addition, the foods are limited to only non-starchy vegetables and salads. The next phase is the ongoing weight loss phase. Here, the carbohydrate intake is increased to 25 grams per day. This 5-gram increment is done each week until the body stops losing weight. The last phase is the lifetime maintenance phase. In this final phase, the dieter is allowed to select a wide variety of low carb diet foods without increasing the carbohydrate intake. This phase allows the dieter to eat more foods than the other phases while at the same time keeping the weight down.

    Usually, when on this low carb diet, the dieter will have to eliminate yogurt, fruits and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Consumption of alcoholic beverages or drinks with caffeine will also have to be curtailed for the program to be effective and yield results. As with any diet regimen, this low carb diet program has worked for many people and will likely work for anybody with the self-drive to improve his or her health.