We are going to review in detail the Atkins Diet its possible health consequences and the benefits it can provide us. Atkins is a plan to lose weight in a short time and without starving, favoring the consumption of meat and fat. Designed by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 70s, this weight loss plan became a book that quickly became a best-seller.
What is the Atkins Diet
However, for many nutritionists the Atkins Diet was not a balanced plan to lose weight since consuming large amounts of protein and fat could increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and therefore those who performed it increase the risk to suffer from coronary heart disease.
Thus, the Atkins Diet after several decades is renewed in some of its basic principles and therefore the current plan no longer restricts the consumption of certain foods so much and manages to maintain a better nutritional balance.
The New Atkins Diet
The renewal of the Atkins Diet seeks a better balance in the quantity, variety and quality of foods, however reducing the consumption of those that cause fat accumulation and create an acidic environment.
The principle of this diet is to limit the consumption of carbohydrate foods, also eliminating sugars and refined flours. However, this does not mean that the consumption of carbohydrates that cause fat is totally eliminated, what it does is limit the necessary consumption so that the metabolism can be accelerated and that the body can burn fat more quickly.
The goal of the Atkins Diet, beyond losing weight, is to learn to eat carbohydrates but also to give the body foods that provide more vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy phytochemicals.
The idea is that when the desired weight is reached whoever has followed the diet can determine the amount of carbohydrates that can be consumed daily without gaining weight, being able to enjoy a wide variety of meals, within a plan that is divided into phases where the The first is the strictest with a daily consumption of very few grams of carbohydrates.
After the first stage, the consumption of vegetables and fruits and other foods is increased to continue losing weight in a balanced and healthy way.
How to do the Atkins Diet
Like other weight loss diets, Atkins has a series of characteristics that must be taken into account, if you want to lose weight significantly in a short time, such as:
- It cannot be followed for more than 30 days.
- Sugars of any kind should be suppressed for several weeks and then gradually started to be incorporated.
- It is possible to consume all kinds of meats and cheeses.
- Carbohydrates are very limited.
- There is a long list of forbidden foods.
- After 15 days of starting the Atkins Diet, it becomes more flexible to include new foods.
The key to the Atkins Diet, according to its creator , lies in the metabolic changes that occur in the body because carbohydrates are responsible for providing much of the energy to the brain and muscles, when they are scarce the body responds by obtaining energy from stored fats.
As Atkins himself states in his book, when you stop eating bread or rice, the body begins to consume adipose tissue and fat deposits that accumulate in certain areas of the body are eliminated.
The Atkins Diet is developed in 4 phases and throughout the entire diet it is necessary to eat five meals a day: Breakfast, Mid-morning, Lunch, Snack and Dinner.
The most important thing is not to feel hungry, something that is totally possible since in this weight loss plan calories are not counted and therefore whenever you are hungry it is possible to eat.
The Induction Phase and has some basic rules that must be followed:
Induction Phase Rules
- Eat three normal meals a day and two smaller ones.
- Freely eat combinations of fat such as butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, vegetable oils and proteins such as poultry, fish, shellfish, red meat, eggs.
- Only consume 20 grams of carbohydrates daily in the form of green salads or other vegetables. These 20 grams are equivalent to 3 cups.
- Do not eat fruits, bread, pasta, grains, nuts, or seeds, starchy vegetables or dairy products with the exception of cheese, cream and butter.
- Do not eat foods that combine carbohydrates and proteins such as lentils, peas and other legumes that are not allowed in this first stage.
- Do not eat forbidden foods.
- You adjust the amounts of each meal to satisfy your appetite and when you feel hungry you should eat the amount of food allowed until you feel satisfied.
- Always verify that foods are low in carbohydrates by reading the product label.
- It is possible to eat out, but always paying special attention to the carbohydrates hidden in dressings and sauces that often have sugar.
- Avoid both food and drinks sweetened with aspartame, it is preferable to consume those that use sucralose or saccharin, taking into account that each bag is equivalent to 1 gr. carbohydrates.
- Avoid coffee and all caffeinated beverages.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water of 250 cc each.
- Take at least one multivitamin with minerals.
During the Induction stage it is possible to eat unlimited fish, poultry, seafood, red meat and eggs. It is only necessary to take into account:
- Limit the consumption of oysters and clams to 120 grams. daily as they have higher carbohydrate content than other shellfish.
- Always be careful to verify that processed meats and sausages have not been prepared with sugar. The same applies to processed fish and poultry that may contain starches and starches.
- It is preferable to avoid cheese in the first phase of Induction and if you want to include it in the menu it should not exceed 120 grams. daily hard, semi-soft and white cheeses, such as cheddar, cow’s or goat’s cheeses, cream cheese or gouda.
- The only carbohydrates that can be consumed at this stage are vegetables, but only those that are allowed and only 3 cups per day.
- Possible salad dressings can be boiled egg, sautéed mushrooms, sour cream, spices without sugar, oil, vinegar (not balsamic or Modena), lemon juice.
- Fats are important in the Atkins Diet and the most acceptable are olive, canola, soy, sesame and grape seed oil, preferably those that have been processed with a cold press, avoiding very high temperatures to use them. As for butter, it is allowed and margarine should be avoided because it is produced based on trans fatty acids.
- Artificial sweeteners, only sucralose is recommended since it does not contain calories and does not alter the blood sugar level, avoiding the use of aspartame as it slows down weight loss.
- As for the drinks that can be consumed in this first stage, in addition to the eight glasses of water per day, coffee and tea only if they are decaffeinated, all kinds of infusions are also allowed.
- There are foods of a special category that serve to have greater menu options. For example, you can take up to 20 olives a day, half an avocado and up to 2 tablespoons of cream, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Whereas packaged meals can be taken in the Induction stage but always keeping in mind that they are low in carbohydrates.
Extended Induction Phase (Optional)
The induction phase should last no less than 15 days. However, the amount of kilos that must be lost has a lot to do with it and for this reason there is Extended Induction in the Atkins Diet to extend the first stage for 15 more days before moving on to the PPP phase (Progressive Weight Loss).
Therefore, those who have to lose a lot of weight or have difficulties to lose it easily can continue the induction for a few more days, achieving better results before moving on to the next phases of the program, taking into account that the PPP phase can slow down the process of weight loss, something that is not bad, since the slower the progress, the greater the opportunity to change bad eating habits.
Therefore, if you are bored with the induction phase and do not want to continue with it for another 15 days, when the number of kilos to lose is not significant or you want to slow down the weight loss progress in exchange for a more varied diet , nothing prevents going to the PPP stage.
Progressive Weight Loss Phase (PPP)
This is an interesting phase because it helps to know your own metabolism. The PPP stage does not differ much from the Induction stage, but it has the advantage that it allows adding a greater variety of foods that were previously prohibited, and it is also possible to increase the 20 grams. of daily carbohydrates doing it gradually and until you know how many grams of carbohydrates the body supports before gaining weight again.
Rules of the PPP Phase
In the PPP phase, certain rules must also be met since food is added and, as will be seen later, these are divided by steps:
- Fat and protein are still the main foods in the diet.
- Daily carbohydrate intake is increased but not more than 5 net grams per week.
- New foods are added in this order:
- Salads and other vegetables.
- Dairy, fresh and aged cheeses.
- Nuts (walnuts, pistachios, almonds).
- Fruits such as strawberries and berries or cantaloupe.
- If desired, wine and other low-carbohydrate alcoholic beverages can be added.
- Other fruits outside of the list of the first stage.
- Vegetables that contain starch.
- Whole grains
- Add new foods one at a time
- Eat each group of new foods no more than three times a week to start and gradually more days will be implemented.
- If new foods cause weight gain, stop eating them.
- Continue with the PPP Phase until you only need to lose between 2 and 4 kilos.
- It is possible in this phase to stop at each step for as long as desired and if a group of meals is preferred, up to 5 grams can be added. net more from that same group.
- You can also skip a step if the foods are not to the taste of those who follow the diet, but taking into account that they are ordered by nutritional importance and also by glycemic load.
Atkins Diet Steps PPP Phase
First step: Vegetables
- 1 cup of cooked spinach.
- 2/3 cup bell pepper.
- 1 medium tomato.
- 1 cup of cooked broccoli.
- 12 medium asparagus.
- 1 cup of cauliflower.
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped or sliced.
- 1/2 avocado.
- 2/3 cups of zucchini.
Second Step: Vegetables
- 150 grams of fresh cheese.
- 150 grams of mozzarella cheese.
- 3/4 cup of cottage cheese.
- 3/4 cup ricotta.
- 3/4 cup of cream.
Third Step: Nuts and Seeds
- 10 Macadamias (Australian Nuts).
- 7 Common walnuts.
- 7 Almonds.
- 26 Roasted peanuts with shell (Peanuts).
- 9 Chestnuts.
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds.
Fourth step: Juices, Berries and Strawberries
- 1/3 cup blackberry.
- 3/4 cup fresh raspberries.
- 3/4 cup of fresh strawberries.
- 1/4 cup of cantaloupe.
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
- 1/4 cup of lime juice.
- 1/2 cup of tomato juice.
Fifth Step: Alcohol
In this phase alcoholic beverages of any kind are not allowed.
Sixth Step: Legumes
- 1/8 cup of lentils.
- 1/8 cup of beans (kidney beans, kidney beans).
- 1/8 cup of black beans (beans, beans) black.
- 1/8 cup of chickpeas.
- 1/8 cup of broad beans.
Seventh Step: Other Fruits
- 1/4 apple.
- 6 cherries.
- 1/2 peach (peach).
- 6 grapes.
- 1/2 cup of strawberries.
- 1/4 grapefruit (grapefruit).
- 3/4 cup of cantaloupe.
- 1/2 kiwi.
- 1/2 cup of watermelon.
- 1/4 cup of fruit cocktail.
- 1/2 plum.
Eighth Step: Starchy vegetables
- 1/4 cup of carrot.
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin.
- 1/2 cup of sweet potato (sweet potato, sweet potato).
- 1/4 cup of green peas.
Ninth Step: Whole Grains
- 1/4 cup of oatmeal flour.
- 1/2 slice of whole wheat bread.
As in the previous phases in this there are also some rules that must be followed to start a stage on which it will depend not to regain the lost weight and still lose a few more kilos.
Rules of the Pre-Maintenance Phase
- Do not increase your carbohydrate intake more than 10 grams per week.
- Add new foods progressively.
- Eliminate any food that has been detected to make you gain weight, such as those that cause increased appetite or produce fluid retention.
- Make sure you continue to eat the right amount of protein and fat.
- If you gain weight at this stage it is necessary to return to the previous level of carbohydrates.
- Continue taking vitamin and mineral supplements regularly.
Atkins Diet Steps Pre-Maintenance Phase
First Step: More Vegetables
- 2 cups of cooked spinach.
- 1 cup of bell pepper.
- 2 medium tomatoes.
- 2 cups of cooked broccoli.
- 24 medium asparagus.
- 2 cups of cauliflower.
- 1 cup onion, chopped or sliced.
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup of zucchini.
Second Step: Dairy
- 300 grams of fresh cheese.
- 300 grams of mozzarella cheese.
- 1.5 cups of cottage cheese.
- 1.5 cups of ricotta cheese.
- 1.5 cups of cream.
Third Step: Nuts and Seeds
- 20 Australian walnuts.
- 14 Common walnuts.
- 14 Almonds.
- 6 tablespoons of sunflower seeds.
- 50 Peanuts (peanuts) with roasted shells.
- 18 Chestnuts.
Fourth Step: Strawberries and Berries
- 1.5 cups of blackberries.
- 1.5 cups fresh raspberries.
- 1.5 cups of fresh strawberries.
- 2/4 cup cantaloupe.
Fifth Step: Alcohol
Wine and other low-carbohydrate alcoholic beverages.
Sixth Step: Legumes
- 1/4 cup of lentils.
- 1/4 cup of kidney beans (kidney beans, kidney beans).
- 1/4 of cup of black beans (beans, beans).
- 1/4 cup of chickpeas.
- 1/4 cup of broad beans.
Seventh Step: Other Fruits
- 1/2 apple.
- 12 cherries.
- 1 peach (peach).
- 12 grapes.
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1/2 grapefruit (grapefruit).
- 3/4 cup of cantaloupe.
- 1 kiwi.
- 1 cup of watermelon.
- 1/2 cup of fruit cocktail, preserved in water.
- 1 plum.
- 1/3 of banana.
- 1/3 of mango.
Eighth Step: Starchy vegetables
- 1/2 cup of carrot.
- 1 cup of pumpkin type squash.
- 1/4 of cup of sweet potato (sweet potato).
- 1/2 cup of green peas.
- 1/4 cup of banana.
- 3/4 cup of beets.
- 1/4 of cup of potato.
Ninth Step: Whole Grains
- 1/4 cup of long grain brown rice.
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread.
- 1/3 cup of whole wheat cereal for breakfast.
- 1/4 cup of barley.
In the Maintenance Phase, the rules to take into account are the following:
Rules of the Maintenance Phase
- Maintain a balanced level of carbohydrates to avoid gaining weight.
- Eat foods rich in natural carbohydrates that are not processed and are also rich in nutrients.
- Get regular physical exercise.
- Continue taking nutritional supplements according to personal needs.
- Do not allow the weight achieved to exceed more than 2 kg of the ideal and normal weight that was achieved during the diet.
What to eat on the Atkins Diet
In the Atkins Diet, foods are divided into three groups: Protein foods, fatty foods, and carbohydrate foods.
- Red meat
- Fish and shellfish.
- dry routes.
- Beans (beans).
- Saturated fats of animal origin.
- Unsaturated fats of vegetable origin.
- Vegetables and vegetables.
Foods not allowed on the Atkins Diet
As the allowed foods are determined in each Phase of the Atkins Diet, it is necessary to also take into account the prohibited foods in the Atkins diet, which are the following:
- Bread and pastries.
- Ice cream, sweets and cookies.
- Pasta, cereals and rice.
- Milk and yogurt.
- Fruits and some vegetables.
- Starchy products, such as bread and pasta.
It is recommended to bear in mind that as the different phases are reached, the diet becomes more flexible, including some vegetables, fruits and dairy products as well as alcohol.
Contraindications of the Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet may be perfect for those who like to eat meat in large quantities, in addition to other foods such as eggs or bacon, while other carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta, certain vegetables and desserts are totally prohibited, at least during the early phases of the plan.
For many people it can be a difficult diet to follow, especially if you like to eat a lot of vegetables, and it is not recommended for people with heart, kidney or diabetes diseases.
On the other hand, the detractors of the diet affirm that the low consumption of vegetables and fruits during the phase with which the program begins, can cause a significant lack of essential minerals and vitamins, while due to its low content in foods with fiber it will cause constipation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Atkins Diet
Since most Atkins weight loss diets have their advantages and disadvantages, both are important when choosing a weight loss plan that suits the needs of each person.
Advantages of the Atkins Diet
The latest version of the Atkins Diet expands the examples of certain foods that can be added in the different stages of the plan, including the type of fats that now gives greater importance to the consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, limiting the consumption of saturated and eliminating the Trans fat.
Another group of foods such as carbohydrates is also detailed, allowing the “good” ones such as those found in fruits and vegetables and that provide fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The consumption of protein helps to have a greater sensation of satiety and the body burns more calories when digesting proteins than carbohydrates, thus making an extra expenditure of energy.
Disadvantages of the Atkins Diet
As it is a diet with different phases, in the first phase, carbohydrates are almost totally ruled out for 15 days, although the objective is that during that period of time a few kilos are lost, the amount of carbohydrates to consume is very little .
On the other hand, doctors do not consider it appropriate to follow the first phase for more than 15 days because despite losing more weight it is unhealthy.
Atkins Diet Recipes
There are countless recipes that can be adapted to incorporate into the Atkins Diet menus, including Mediterranean fish, which is also suitable for people with high cholesterol. This dish has all the benefits of quality fatty acids, it is suitable for the Atkins diet and best of all, it is very tasty.
P escado to the Mediterranean
- 500 grams of blue fish fillets.
- 1 onion.
- 2 tomatoes.
- 1 lemon (juice).
- 1 clove garlic.
- olive oil.
- 1 bay leaf.
- Oregano and fresh basil.
Brush a baking dish with a little olive oil.
Spread the blue fish fillets in the pan and season with salt, pepper, oregano, fresh basil and lemon juice.
Place the sliced tomatoes and onion and the finely minced garlic clove on the fish fillets.
Cook in a preheated oven at 180ºC for about 20 minutes.
Serve the fish accompanied by the tomatoes and onions.
A classic of gastronomy, meatloaf in its light version adapts perfectly to the Atkins Diet, as well as being a simple recipe to prepare.
- 500 grams of minced lean beef.
- 1 tablespoon of oat bran.
- 1 egg white.
- 1 grated carrot.
- 1 grated onion.
- 100 grs. low calorie cheese.
- Pepper .
- Dried oregano and thyme.
In a bowl place the meat and add the bran, grated carrot and onion, the whipped egg white and season with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.
Mix all the ingredients to form a paste that will spread on plastic wrap.
On the meat, place the cheese cut into small pieces and roll up with the help of plastic wrap.
Place in a baking dish previously brushed with a little olive oil.
Cook in a preheated oven at 200ºC for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Serve the light meatloaf cut into slices and accompanied by green leafy salad.
Video on the Atkins Diet
This educational series and fun videos explain everything you need to know about how to lose weight on the New Atkins Diet.
Atkins diet considerations
Carbohydrates and fats provide the body with the energy it needs on a daily basis, but the Atkins Diet pays special attention to carbohydrates as a priority source and hence limiting carbohydrate intake forces the body to convert accumulated fat into energy and this translates into in weight loss.
However, before starting this diet to lose weight, it is necessary to consult a doctor since each person has a different level of carbohydrate balance and according to the Atkins Diet, excess carbohydrates causes the body to store fat again and gain weight.
Sources and References:
STRINGHINI, Maria Luiza Ferreira, Faculty of Nutrition, Federal University of Goiás.
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