3. Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet is a very-low-carbohydrate diet that makes the body burn stored fat for fuel (versus carbohydrates). The updated version of the diet, authored by three leading nutrition experts at highly esteemed U.S. universities, makes a point to emphasize eating a variety of non-starchy vegetables and high-quality whole foods.
The diet was originally considered unhealthy and demonized by the mainstream health authorities, mostly due to the high saturated fat content. However, new studies have shown that saturated fat is harmless.
Since then, the diet has been studied thoroughly and shown to lead to more weight loss than low-fat diets, and greater improvements in blood sugar, HDL (the “good” cholesterol), triglycerides and other health markers.
Despite being high in fat, it does not raise LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol on average, although this does happen in a subset of individuals.
The main reason low-carb diets are so effective for weight loss, is that when people reduce carbohydrate intake and eat more protein, their appetite goes down and they end up automatically eating fewer calories without having to think about it.
The Atkins Diet is a 4-Phase Plan
The Atkins diet is split into 4 different phases:
Phase 1 (Induction): Under 20 grams of carbs per day for 2 weeks. Eat high-fat, high-protein, with low-carb vegetables like leafy greens. This kick-starts the weight loss.
Phase 2 (Balancing): Slowly add more nuts, low-carb vegetables and small amounts of fruit back to your diet.
Phase 3 (Fine-Tuning): When you are very close to your goal weight, add more carbs to your diet until weight loss slows down.
Phase 4 (Maintenance): Here you can eat as many healthy carbs as your body can tolerate without regaining weight.
However, these phases are a bit complicated and may not be necessary. You should be able to lose weight and keep it off as long as you stick to the meal plan below.
Some people choose to skip the induction phase altogether and include plenty of vegetables and fruit from the start. This approach can be very effective as well. Others prefer to just stay in the induction phase indefinitely. This is also known as a very low-carb ketogenic diet (keto).
Foods to Avoid | You should avoid these foods on the Atkins diet:
– Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, candy, ice cream, etc.
– Grains: Wheat, spelt, rye, barley, rice.
– Vegetable Oils: Soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil and a few others.
– Trans Fats: Usually found in processed foods with the word “hydrogenated” on the ingredients list.
– “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Foods: These are usually very high in sugar.
– High-Carb Vegetables: Carrots, turnips, etc (induction only).
– High-Carb Fruits: Bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes (induction only).
– Starches: Potatoes, sweet potatoes (induction only).
– Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc (induction only).
Foods to Eat:
– Meats: Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, bacon and others.
– Fatty Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, sardines, etc.
– Eggs: The healthiest eggs are Omega-3 enriched or pastured.
– Low-Carb Vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and others.
– Full-Fat Dairy: Butter, cheese, cream, full-fat yoghurt.
– Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
– Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil.