The Atkins diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, particularly sugar, to cause the dieter's body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. There are multiple versions of the diet, each with different carbohydrate restrictions. The diet also provides dieters with a list of acceptable foods.
The diet restricts a dieter's amount of net carbohydrates, which are the carbohydrates that affect blood sugar. It focuses on healthy fats, such as the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and avocado. By keeping sugar consumption low, the dieter avoids sugar highs and lows. During sugar highs, the body stores the excess sugar as body fat. During sugar lows, the dieter feels fatigued and hungry.
The Atkins diet is divided into four phases. The first phase, which typically lasts for two weeks, is the induction phase. The largest amount of weight loss usually occurs during this phase. The next phase, ongoing weight loss, allows for small increases in carbohydrate consumption. Once the dieter is within 10 pounds of his goal weight, he enters the pre-maintenance phase,which allows him to increase his carbohydrate consumption again.
After reaching and maintaining his goal weight for a month, the dieter enters the lifetime maintenance phase. He continues to follow the habits he used throughout the diet.