Nowadays most diet-plans are labelled fads. The Atkins diet, however, does have much steam left even after being 60 years old. As you might have guessed, it is low to zero carbohydrate diet that helps lose weight. It involves putting someone on an eating plan consisting of proteins, fats and a lot of fibre. As it turns out, the Atkins diet believes that eating too much of carbs – especially sugars and refined carbs like white flour is the principal reason behind surging waistlines.
Here’s how it works: Once you delete the carbohydrates from your daily meals, your body starts burning fats to derive the energy to take you through your day. As a result, the accumulated fats also start to act as fuel and voila, you lose them. Fats and proteins, as a matter of fact, keep you feeling full for longer hours than the same quantities of carbohydrates do, hence you are less likely to feel hungry and go binging.
Permitted foods: Eggs, meats (lean cuts of chicken, mutton, pork), full fat dairy products like cheese, milk, butter, ghee; fatty fish like salmon, trout; veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli; nuts and seeds like almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds; and healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, coconut oil etc.
Foods to avoid: All forms of sugar like ice-creams, sweets, cakes, soft-drinks; hydrogenated fats, oils like canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil; starchy veggies and fruits like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beet, bananas, mangoes, apples, pears; legumes like beans, chickpeas; grains like wheat, rice, barley etc.
Going about it: The Atkins diet is generally divided into four phases:
Phase I – No carbs at all for a minimum of two weeks. You lose the maximum amount of weight during this phase.
Phase II – Introduce healthy complex carbs back to your diet. Carbs should comprise about 10% of your meals. Phase to last about 2-3 weeks.
Phase III – When you are about 5-7 kilos away from your target weight. Carbs should comprise a maximum of 20% of your meals. Phase to last about 3-4 weeks.
Phase IV – When you reach your target weight and will know to balance the carbs in your daily diet. This ideally will go on for the rest of your life.
How the Atkins diet helps: Besides helping you lose weight fast, the Atkins diet helps control blood pressure and blood glucose levels, prevents heart diseases and improves cognitive functions. While an Atkins diet may resemble a party menu to many, it is quite difficult to adapt to, especially considering our Indian food habits. However, few diet plans promise weight loss without exercise and the Atkins diet is certainly the best exponent of those. Always consult a dietitian before you consider taking up this diet regimen.