September 09, 2020 5 min read

 

If you haven’t already heard, the Atkins diet is definitely one to try if you’re someone looking to shed a few of those winter kilos!

Between 2017 and 2018, a whopping two-thirds of Australians over the age of eighteen were considered to be overweight or obese. The large price of $42 billion USD is spent annually by American’s trying to lose weight — and I can imagine the figure for Australia wouldn’t be too far behind!

You might be wondering why it is so difficult to shed those extra kilos… that’s because it requires the adequate set of tools to do so, and a major problem with Australians is that we are directed to the wrong tools.

It is often encouraged that we adopt a low-fat and high-carb diet. This guideline often backfires as even though many foods are now available in low-fat options, it hasn’t made it any easier to actually lose weight. This is simply because low-fat foods often have as many calories as their full-fat counterparts.

 

A major issue in Australia in regards to obesity is the over consumption of carbs - and often carbs that are highly refined and processed.

A diet that controls one’s carb intake and limits sugar/flour as well as other refined gains is a low-carb diet which is widely known as the Atkins diet.

Atkins diet is another weight loss trend that millions have achieved success following. Unlike other fad diets, Atkins diet has convincing scientific evidence that reducing carbs is sustainable path to weight loss. The main take-away point from this diet is learning how to choose the ‘right’ carb food options and avoid the problematic ones.

‘Bad’ carbs are the ones that have very little vitamins and minerals such as white sugar and white flour which are found in foods like cookies or cakes (the delicious ones!).

‘Good’ carbs have the most nutrients available in them such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts.

Studies show that controlling our carbohydrate intake can control our glucose levels and our insulin levels which in turn reduces the risk of an individual developing diabetes, heart disease or other health problems, as well as preserving lean muscle mass even as you lose fat, raising HDL (our ‘good’) cholesterol and reduce triglycerides and help dieters stick with the program.

It is super important to note, that while the health benefits of controlling our carbohydrate intake are evident, it is also very important to remember that a low-carb diet does not mean we are given a free pass to consume an unlimited amount of foods high in protein and fat.

The Atkins diet consists of 4 phases.

  • Phase 1: this phase is considered to be an ‘induction’ phase where it is suggested you:
    • consume under 20g of carbs per day for two weeks
    • Eat foods high in protein
    • Eat low-carb vegetables such as leafy greens
    • this kick starts weight loss!
  • Phase 2: this phase is referred to as the ‘balancing phase’ where it is suggested you:
    • Slowly begin adding more nuts into your diet
    • Slowly begin adding more low-carb vegetables into your diet
    • Slowly begin adding small amounts of fruit back into your diet
  • Phase 3: this phase is considered to be an ‘fine-tuning’ phase where it is instructed you:
    • Begin adding more carbs into your diet when you are very close to your goal weight and your weight loss rate begins to slow down
  • Phase 1: this phase is considered to be an ‘maintenance’ phase where it is instructed you:
    • Eat as many healthy carbs as your body can tolerate without re-gaining the weight that you lost

There are many misconceptions about the Atkins diet. A common misconception about the Atkins diet is that people are often under the impression that the induction or the first phase of the Atkins diet is the entire program. Understandably, this can turn people into another direction as the suggested dietary guidelines for the first phase appear extremely strict and not exactly sustainable for an ordinary person.

Many people also believe as this diet is a low-carb diet, that automatically means you are able to consume an unlimited amount of foods high in protein and fat which is simply untrue!

The main tools for the Atkins diet is to be able to have a full array of colourful vegetables in the beginning as well an ensuring you are having a minimum of five and maximum of eight servings of vegetables a day, even in phase one (induction).

The real purpose of the Atkins diet is not only to help you achieve your weight loss goals but to teach you a sustainable and permanent way of eating that will help you maintain that weight loss.

Following the four phases of the Atkins diet is very important to successfully achieve that goal and controlling your carbohydrate intake is integral to that process of finding your carb threshold.

As you would already know, many diets come and go but the Atkins diet is one that has been around for almost four decades!

There is so much evidence that sugar and refined flour are leading contributors to obesity so it looks like low-carb eating plans are here to stay!

For nearly four decades the Atkins diet as revolutionised the way people eat. It was founded by cardiologist Robert Atkins.

The Atkins program emphasis protein, natural fats, nutrient rich vegetables, and whole foods by controlling one’s carb intake and cutting out sugar, white flour, and other refined grains that spike insulin levels.

Essentially, the Atkins diet helps turn your body into a fat-burning machine. It trains your body to eventually burn its own fat as its primary energy source and that's really important when you have fat stored as you just want to be able to burn it.

Controlling your carbohydrate intake is the key to the success. Ensuring your carbohydrate intake is low enough that your body will burn fat for fuel as with any weight loss program. The key to success is sticking with it!

The Atkins diet makes this easy because eating enough foods high in protein, fat and fibre helps you stay in control of your appetite. In addition, a variety of convenient and great tasting bars and shakes all specially formulated with the right balance of protein, fat, fibre, vitamins and minerals help you eat right even on the go.

Refer to the following list of foods if you need some ideas! (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/atkins-diet-101#phases)

Foods to eat:

Meats: beef, lamb, chicken, pork, bacon

Seafood: salmon, sardines, trout

Low-carb vegetables: kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus

Dairy: butter, cheese, full fat yoghurt

Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds

Healthy fats: avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin oil

 

Brad Edwards
Brad Edwards



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