The Atkins diet what it is? preparation and benefits
How does the Atkins diet work?
Low carbohydrates, but fat: These are the cornerstones of the Atkins diet. But how exactly does the diet work? And how effective is it?
Meat and vegetables as much as you like, but bread is forbidden: That is the reputation that the Atkins diet has to this day. But what is really behind the low-carb diet? And how long do you have to stick to the diet?
- More on topic : Ketogenic Diet vs Atkins Diet
Developed by a cardiologist
The cardiologist Robert Atkins developed the diet named after him in the 1960s and 70s. His thesis: Permanent weight loss works when people reduce their carbohydrate intake. However, the intake of fat and proteins will not be less.
Atkins separates the weight loss process into four phases, with the amount of permitted carbohydrates being particularly low at the beginning and later increased.
Phase 1: 20 grams of carbohydrates
In the first phase of the Atkins diet, you should not consume more than 20 grams of carbs . Bread, pasta and starchy vegetables such as peas or beans are prohibited. Even fruits with high fructose content are not allowed.Instead, salads, broccoli and other vegetables cover the low carbohydrate requirement.
You can eat fat and protein until you are full. This means that poultry, fish and meat are allowed, but also fat like butter, mayonnaise and vegetable oils.
How long exactly this diet portion lasts, depends on your initial weight: It should be about 10 percent of the desired weight loss can be achieved.
Phase 2: Find out the critical amount of carbohydrate
In the second phase of the Atkins diet, the permitted amount of carbohydrate is steadily increased until no weight loss occurs. How to find out which carbohydrate intake you are losing weight. Atkins calls this the “critical carbohydrate amount.”
The second phase may look like this: In the first week of the second phase you increase the permitted amount of carbohydrates to 25 grams. If you lose weight during the week, you can increase the amount of carbohydrate in the second week to 30 grams. This will continue until a decrease stop occurs. Last week’s carbohydrate intake is your personal “critical amount of carbohydrate” – the amount of carbohydrate you still lose weight.
Phase 3: Just before the desired weight
The third phase starts when you are about to reach your optimal weight. The goal is to establish the diet plan that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
To do this, increase the carbohydrate intake until you find out the amount that stops you from gaining weight. You can also experiment with foods that were completely banned in the first stages.
Phase 4: Lifelong diet
In the last phase of the Atkins diet, you know the amount of carbohydrates that you do not increase anymore. They feed so that they do not come over with this limit.
Atkins recommends regular weighing to quickly detect an increase and counteract carbohydrate reduction.
Radical nutritional change requires determination
The metabolic processes that are triggered by a loss of carbohydrates, are quite complex: After about five days, the human organism enters the state of so-called ketosis. Hereby, the body increasingly uses fats for its energy production.
If a calorie deficit is guaranteed, the user of the Atkins diet loses weight. To achieve this calorie deficit, the diet recommends a complete diet change to the said fat and protein diet. Among low-carb diets, it is considered the toughest and most consistent, requiring users an extra dose of determination. The first weight loss sets in after five to seven days, which is due to the strong loss of water.
How effective is the Atkins diet?
A meta-study by researchers from Kyoto Medical University has evaluated 14 studies on the effectiveness of low carb diets. The result: Especially those diets that have severely limited carbohydrate intake – such as the Atkins diet – have been effective in reducing the fat of obese subjects.
The consumer center North Rhine-Westphalia has basically no objections to a diet that provides for at least 20 grams of carbohydrates. However, the organization points out that such a diet is against habits and therefore difficult to sustain in the long term.
However, the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) already pointed out in 2004 that in a diet not only the weight loss should be evaluated alone, but also the stabilization of weight over a longer period. Here, however, there is still need for research on the Atkins diet.