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Atkins diet – sources, health benefits at

Friday, December 15, 2017 by

The Atkins Diet is every meat-lover’s weight loss dream. It was created by Dr. Robert Atkins, inspired by a 1958 research paper entitled “Weight Reduction” by Alfred W. Pennington. The Atkins diet is one of the most popular weight loss methods. The Atkins diet has four phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss (Balancing), Pre-maintenance and Lifelong Maintenance.

The Induction phase limits carbohydrate intake to only 20 grams per day, lower than the average American’s intake of 250 grams. During this stage, you’ll have to say goodbye to your favorite carbohydrates. On the other hand, you get to eat unlimited amounts of meat and fatty foods. This is the phase in which the body switches from burning carbohydrates to burning fat, also known as ketosis.

The second phase can be called the “ongoing weight loss” or the balancing phase. At this point, you’ll get to increase your daily carbohydrate intake from 10 grams to anywhere from 25 to 50 grams.

Pre-maintenance is the phase when you only have 5 to 10 pounds left to lose. During the pre-maintenance phase, you will need to increase your carbohydrate intake by 10 grams per day, at a weekly increment. The idea is to slow down weight loss to one pound per week, until you reach your target weight.

The final phase is called the Lifetime Maintenance. This stage is all about maintaining your weight. You’ll be consuming less than 90 grams of carbohydrates per day, but you’ll also get to eat your favorite fruits and vegetables again (since they aren’t allowed in the first three stages).

The Atkins diet is a strongly debated method for weight loss because the lack of fruits, vegetables, and dietary fibers may result in an increased risk of chronic diseases. To fill the void, the Atkins diet suggests taking vitamin and mineral supplements as part of the daily diet.

Benefits of the Atkins diet

Sticking to this lifelong dietary plan results in both positive and negative side effects. With a significant lack of carbohydrates and glucose, your body turns to ketosis to burn unnecessary fats. It is also good for those who are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, since it regulates blood sugar levels, thus preventing overeating.

However, the Atkins diet is also known to cause damage to the bones, kidneys, heart and liver, due to the lack of vitamins and minerals from natural sources like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some negative side effects of the Atkins diet include headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, constipation, bad breath, dry mouth and even some forms of cancer. Always consult your nutritionist prior to beginning any diet.

Food items typically found in the Atkins diet

The following food items are suggested by the Atkins diet:

  • Meat – Beef, pork, chicken, lamb.
  • SeafoodSalmon, trout, sardines.
  • Eggs – Chicken, quail, fish roe.
  • Low-carb vegetables – Broccoli, kale, asparagus.
  • Full-fat dairy – Butter, cream, cheese, full-fat yogurt.
  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds.
  • Healthy fat – Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil.

In the Atkins diet, you will have to avoid (or minimize) the intake of:

  • Sugary foods – Soft drinks, cakes, candy.
  • Grains – Wheat, spelt, rice.
  • Diet” and “low-fat” foods – They usually contain a lot of sugar.
  • Legumes – Lentils, beans, chickpeas.
  • High-carb fruits and vegetables – Bananas, apples, grapes, carrots.

Body systems supported by the Atkins diet

This diet supports type-2 diabetics and regulates blood sugar levels. However, some studies show that it may also cause problems to the kidneys, heart and liver. It may also cause increased cholesterol levels.

Where to learn more


The Atkins diet is a good weight loss program for “already healthy” individuals, but may cause more damage to individuals with heart- or blood-related diseases.


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