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The Atkins Diet
Low Carb Hot Cross Buns. This versatile low-carb chicken recipe is a true crowd-pleaser, and can be easily adapted to suit your tastes. Atkins' Diet was reviewed by Melissa Stoner, R. Learning about each phase of the diet will help you understand what to expect. Diets low in carbohydrates tend to be low in fiber, which will contribute to constipation.

Acceptable Foods

A Scientific Review of the Atkins Diet and How the Low-Carb Plan Works

The Atkins Diet doesn't require calorie counting or portion control. It does require you to track your carbs, though. It uses a system called net carbs, which is the total carbohydrate content of an item minus its fiber content. For example, a half-cup 4 ounces of raw broccoli has 2. The Atkins Diet says its approach to carbs will burn off your body's fat stores, regulate your blood sugar and help you achieve optimal health, while not leaving you feeling hungry or deprived.

Once you're at your goal weight, the Atkins Diet also says it will help you identify your personal carbohydrate tolerance — the number of grams of net carbs you can eat each day without gaining or losing weight. The Atkins Diet claims exercise isn't vital for weight loss. However, it acknowledges that exercise can help maintain your weight, as well as offer other health benefits. The Atkins Diet has four phases. Depending on your weight-loss goals, you can start at any of the first three phases.

In this strict phase, you cut out almost all carbohydrates from your diet, eating just 20 grams of net carbs a day, mainly from vegetables. Instead of getting 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, as recommended by most nutrition guidelines, you get only about 10 percent. You should eat protein, such as fish and shellfish, poultry, meat, eggs, and cheese, at every meal.

You don't need to restrict oils and fats, but you can't have most fruits, sugary baked goods, breads, pastas, grains, nuts or alcohol. You should drink eight glasses of water a day. You stay in this phase for at least two weeks, depending on your weight loss. The Atkins Diet says that you can lose 15 pounds 6. The Atkins Diet also acknowledges that you may initially lose water weight. It says that you'll continue to lose weight in phases 2 and 3 as long as you don't eat more carbs than your body can tolerate.

Most people can lose weight on almost any diet plan that restricts calories — at least in the short term. Over the long term, though, studies show that low-carb diets like the Atkins Diet are no more effective for weight loss than are standard weight-loss diets and that most people regain the weight they lost regardless of diet plan. Because carbohydrates usually provide over half of calories consumed, the main reason for weight loss on the Atkins Diet is lower overall calorie intake from eating less carbs.

Some studies suggest that there are other reasons for weight loss with the Atkins Diet. You may shed pounds because your food choices are limited, and you eat less since the extra protein and fat keep you feeling full longer. Both of these effects also contribute to lower overall calorie intake. The Atkins Diet says that its eating plan can prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And most weight-loss diets — not just low-carb diets — may improve blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels, at least temporarily. One study showed that people who followed the Atkins Diet had improved triglycerides, suggesting better heart health.

But there have been no major studies to show whether such benefits hold up for the long term or increase how long you live. After one year on the Atkins diet, people in the study lost an average of 10 pounds.

They also had improved triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure. But experts say any diet that helps you lose weight will probably improve your cholesterol. Since most studies on the Atkins diet last a year or less, researchers don't know if the health benefits from the diet are maintained and if the diet is safe for long-term use. Some points to remember include:. Always check with your doctor before starting a weight loss program , especially if you have certain health problems or if you take medications.

WebMD takes a closer look at the Atkins diet and helps you decide if it is right for you. How It Works The Atkins diet has evolved since its creation in Lose weight and improve health by eating a low-carbohydrate diet that consists of: These include whole grains such as: White sugar White rice White bread White potatoes Pasta made with white flour You don't have to count calories on the Atkins diet as long as you are reasonable with portion sizes.

Atkins Diet Phases The Atkins diet consists of phases. You must avoid all: During phase 2, you slowly add some whole food carbohydrates back to your diet, such as: Continued You can eat between 25 and 45 Net Carbs daily.

During phase 3, you continue to add a variety of carbohydrates to your diet, including more: Science Behind the Theory The main idea behind the Atkins diet is to change your metabolism so that you burn fat for energy instead of glucose, a process called ketosis. Studies have shown that people who stick to a low-carbohydrate diet like Atkins can lose weight.

Some points to remember include: Many experts caution that eating a diet high in saturated fats can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. The initial phase in the Atkins 20 plan is limited in food choices but focused on protein, fat, and vegetables that are low carb and not starchy.

In each phase you add back food groups: With the Atkins 40 plan you can choose from a larger variety of foods and carbs but still little to no starchy foods. If you like variety in the foods you eat, the Atkins 40 plan would likely be better for you. Of course you'll still need to keep your portion sizes under control, which may be easier as a low-carb diet can help tame hunger. Recent research suggests that people on the Atkins diet who chose foods rich in plant fat and protein did better with their health than those who went with the diet rich in animal fat and protein.

This makes sense to me, and the Atkins 20 and Atkins 40 diets reflect this idea. They focus more on getting fat and protein from heart -healthy choices like olive oil and protein like soy and lentils. If you have diabetes , heart disease , kidney disease, or high cholesterol , talk to your doctor before starting this diet to make sure the balance of carbs, fat, and protein is right for you.

For the person who needs structure in their diet, limiting starchy, sugary carbs will help cut calories and allow for weight loss. And focusing on proteins and fats that are plant-based is the healthy and smart thing to do. For your long-term health, you have to move on from the initial Atkins 20 diet.

You have to exercise and keep portions small while you start eating nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains again. The Promise Does bacon and eggs for breakfast, smoked salmon with cream cheese for lunch, and steak cooked in butter for dinner sound like a weight-loss menu too good to be true?

New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.