Atkins diet

Atkins diet

Dr. Atkins Diet is the most popular diet in America since the late 20th century to the present day. The first book ин Dr. Atkins, published in 1992, was sold in 10 million copies and helped thousands of Americans change their lives for the better. Before the appearance of Dr. Atkins’ theory, people used to believe that the main danger for both health and figure was the fats.

Refusal of chops and cheese in the 1970s proved that people follow the trends of dietetics and care about their health. Ironically, the place of fats was not taken by vegetables and fruits, but by refined foods, based on flour and sugar (complex carbohydrates). Healthy food was then considered:

  • bread,
  • pasta,
  • muesli,
  • cereals.

This situation soon led to the fact that Americans became the most “obese” nation, which also suffers from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The development by Dr. Atkins proved to be very useful. This is not only a diet, designed to quickly get rid of excess weight. It is an entire system of balanced nutrition, by following which you can improve the overall tone and get rid of many diseases.


The Atkins diet is based on refusing certain types of carbohydrates. The lack of carbohydrates leads to the fact that the body has to use fat reserves as a “fuel”. It should be noted that the Atkins diet does not require a complete rejection of carbohydrates, as this would mean the rejection of many minerals and vitamins, because all fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates.

The Atkins diet is distinguished by the fact that it does not imply calorie counting and does not require “sacrifice”, allowing you to eat delicious and varied food.

All that you need for success is to:

  1. understand the basic principles of digestion
  2. learn to provide your body with exactly what it needs.

What is the danger of carbohydrates? When ingested, they can be:

  1. used immediately as a fuel,
  2. stored in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles.

If these resources are exhausted, “extra” carbohydrates form fatty tissue. In addition, when you consume products that contain sugar, white flour and other concentrated carbohydrates, your blood sugar level increases, which stimulates the production of insulin (a hormone that controls sugar), and the sugar level drastically decreases, causing fatigue, headache and other unpleasant symptoms.

Sooner or later, regular blood sugar jumps lead to diabetes and obesity, while the constant excess of insulin, produced by the body, turns into fatigue and depression. With hyperinsulinism (an excess of insulin), glucose can not be used as an energy source. It immediately turns into fat, while the body requires more carbohydrates, since its needs are not satisfied.

This results in a paradoxical situation – depletion of body tissues with severe obesity! In addition, insulin retains salt and liquid in the body, thus exacerbating the problem of obesity and exposing the heart and blood vessels to high loads.

The situation is complicated by the fact that it is the sweet and floury foods that many people get addicted to, and it is very difficult to get rid of it. Nutrition that consists mainly of carbohydrates is uncommon for a human being, as a biological species. Our ancestors for thousands of years, ate:

Dr. Atkins

  • animal proteins,
  • fats,
  • variety of plant foods.

Carbohydrates (honey, sweet fruits) were a rare and valuable treat. The increase in the share of carbohydrates in the human diet occurred quite late, with the transition to agriculture.

Now, when there is no shortage in carbohydrates, our instincts and taste preferences that formed over the centuries play a cruel joke with us. This irrational aspiration to sweet (as well as fat and salty) makes the foundation for the industry of fast food – the main threat to human health.

Dr. Atkins does not consider all carbohydrates dangerous. He rejects only those that our body converts into glucose. In addition, there are indigestible carbohydrates (fiber). Fiber is remarkable through the fact that it not only does not raise the blood sugar level, but also slows its flow into the blood, thus preventing the production of “excess” insulin.

In addition, fiber

  • regulates the work of the intestines,
  • binds cholesterol and removes it from the body,
  • cleanses our body of toxins.

Fiber is found in all sorts of plant foods, including:

  • fruits,
  • vegetables,
  • nuts,
  • seeds,
  • cereals.

Sweet fruits and berries could raise the blood sugar level, if they did not contain fiber. Therefore, juices that do contain no fiber can not be considered a useful product. If your menu is usually low in fiber, increase its amount gradually and drink enough water.

  • To get the maximum benefit from plant products, consume sweet fruits, vegetables and berries little by little during the day.
  • Vegetables with a high content of carbohydrates (potatoes, zucchini) should be combined with proteins and fats to reduce the amount of sugar that enters the blood.
  • Do not cook vegetables until softened, but leave them a little crispy or eat raw (except for tomatoes, which become more useful when the walls of their cells are destroyed).

According to the Atkins system, dangerous carbohydrates are only those that rapidly increase the blood sugar level, that is, have a high glycemic index.

You can avoid sudden blood sugar jumps and the problems associated with them by choosing products with a low glycemic index, like:

  • brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal,
  • apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums,
  • all kinds of cabbage, lettuce, onions, asparagus,
  • beans, peas, lentils, nuts.

A high glycemic index is characteristic for:

  • sweet pastries, white bread,
  • polished rice, pineapples,
  • cheese, carrots.

The situation with pasta is quite interesting. With prolonged cooking, their index is quite high, but if you cook them al dente, that is, a bit raw inside, their glycemic index will drop almost by two times, because long chains of starch molecules do not have time to unfold and will not be absorbed by the body.

Based on the experience of numerous followers of Dr. Atkins method, it is possible to give up sweets and bakery products, if the alternative is to eat anything you wish – from fruit salads to pork chops. The Atkins diet does not provide for calorie reduction. On the contrary, the caloric content of foods can be increased through fats, and you will continue losing weight in spite of this.

The problem of all diets that limit the caloric content is that the body goes into an economic mode and begins to make reserves at every opportunity. This is why it’s so easy to gain weight again after an unbalanced weight loss diet. The Atkins diet completely eliminates such a possibility, so you can refuse it at any time, without fearing of gaining weight again.

If you decide to change your life with the Atkins diet, note that this diet is not intended for

  • people with kidney diseases,
  • pregnant women,
  • breastfeeding mothers.

Before you start the Atkins diet, you should stop taking over-the-counter medicines, since many of them contain sugar or other sweeteners, including:

  • sleeping pills,
  • laxatives,
  • syrups,
  • lozenges.


Dr. Atkins developed detailed recommendations for each of the 4 phases of his weight loss diet. Within the framework of this article, we can only outline them in general terms.

The introductory part of the Atkins method provides for switching the body from its usual carbohydrates to fats. You should completely exclude:

  • all sweets (including sugar-free chewing gum, diet drinks),
  • flour-containing products,
  • cereals, grains and muesli,
  • potatoes, nuts, seeds,
  • legumes, beans,
  • sweet fruits and berries.

The first 2 days of no-carbohydrate nutrition can cause weakness and a strong hunger, but Dr. Atkins promises that you will get rid of unpleasant symptoms within a week. Together with the symptoms, your dependence on sweets will also disappear.

Since our body needs fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they can only come with carbohydrates, you can consume greens and vegetables that contain a minimum amount of carbohydrates. Note that carbohydrates can be “hidden” in:

  • sauces as flour, starch and sugar;
  • in fried meat, fish as flour coating;
  • in fish sticks, minced meat factory-produced meatballs as white bread;
  • in ketchup and mayonnaise as sugar.

Without restriction, you can eat:

  • meat, fish, eggs,
  • butter and vegetable oil,
  • any spices.

You are also allowed to have minimum quantities of:

  • hard cheeses (completely exclude cottage cheese and sweet cheeses),
  • sesame,
  • tomatoes,
  • avocados.

These foods contain a small amount of carbohydrates. Margarine is unacceptable, yet not because of carbohydrates, but because of hydrogenated fats. Avoid dietary products, since they are intended for a low-calorie diet and contain sweeteners.

The introductory part of the Atkins diet lasts about 2 weeks. You can complete it earlier, as soon as you feel liberation from the addiction to sweets. If this does not happen, you will have to continue. The craving for sweets or other foods that contain concentrated carbohydrates indicates metabolic disturbances.

It is enough to break the vicious circle (for example, to refuse “comforting” food), and the metabolism will recover. During the first stage, many people lose 2-4 kg of excess weight, yet you should not be deceived – this is mostly water. Loss of fat tissue will begin during the next phase.

The phase of getting rid of excess weight slightly weakens the requirements for nutrition, leaving the basic principle unchanged – the minimum content of carbohydrates. At this phase, you decide which carbohydrates you can eat without harming the figure and health, while earlier, before the diet, the choice often depended on the sweet tooth.

sweet tooth

In the second stage of the Atkins diet, you should increase the consumption of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, berries).

Just like before, empty calories are excluded, yet sometimes you can pamper yourself with small quantities of:

  • chocolate,
  • wine,
  • pasta.

The stage of preparation for a new nutrition model sets the following goals:

  1. select an individual menu
  2. learn to eat without external restrictions

To do this, gradually add to your menu foods that were prohibited before, and monitor your weight and health. If the weight continues to fall or remains at the same level for 2 weeks, this product suits you, and you can try to introduce the following product. After a while, you will form an optimal diet for yourself. This phase imperceptibly passes into the final phase.

The final phase of the Atkins diet does is not about weight loss. Its goal is to maintain the ideal weight and health for the rest of your life. The diet gradually turns into a lifestyle, which makes it simply impossible to gain excess weight, because during the previous phases you have

  • successfully overcome the craving for sweets
  • learned what foods and in what quantities your body needs.

All that you need to do after finishing the first phases of the Atkins diet is to use the knowledge that you gained.