Different Diets: What Is the Atkins Diet?

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The Atkins Diet is a weight loss diet that is based on a low-carbohydrate and low-sugar approach to losing weight. The goal is to limit balance the body's sugar and decrease fat storage.

What Is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins Diet was developed by a physician named Robert C. Atkins in 1972. The basis of this diet is limiting the intake of carbohydrates and sugars while also consuming a higher amount of protein. This is said to limit the amount of fat that is stored due to carbohydrates and sugars in the body, while offering protein to the body for fuel. In addition, limiting the intake of carbohydrates is said to significantly decrease a person's appetite, which assists in weight loss.

Dr. Atkins developed The Atkins Diet as a way to encourage healthier and more balanced eating habits. Since its inception in 1972, there have been multitudes of books written on the subject, and the diet itself has undergone a significant amount of scrutiny while also maintaining a huge following. The Atkins Diet's popularity spiked in the mid 1990s and was one of the top diets for a long time. Today, The Atkins Diet is still popular and used by many. There are a wide variety of programs centered around The Atkins Diet that are available via the Atkins Foundation as well as multiple other organizations and vendors. The Atkins Diet regained a surge of extra popularity after it was credited as the source of Kim Kardashian's 40-pound weight loss in 2016.

The Four Phases
The Atkins Diet is split up into four phases, which start off with beginning to limit carbohydrates and progress throughout the phases.

  • Phase One (The Introduction Phase): Limit carbohydrate intake to under 20 grams per day for two weeks. Eat low-carb vegetables and leafy greens along with high fat proteins.
  • Phase Two (The Introduction Phase): Begin to add more low-carb vegetables, some fruit and nuts into or back into the diet.
  • Phase Three (The Fine-Tuning Phase): As a person approaches his or her target weight, he or she should add additional carbohydrates into his or her diet until weight loss slows.
  • Phase Four (The Maintenance Phase): The person can continue to eat high-protein meals and as many healthy carbohydrates as he or she wants.

Foods to Eat and Avoid
One of the important aspects to look at when asking about the Atkins Diet is what foods the diet requires a person to avoid. Though the basis of the diet is avoiding carbohydrates and sugars, there are multiple other foods that those utilizing the diet are encouraged to avoid in order to lose weight. Some of these foods include grains, vegetable oils, trans fats and foods that are marked specifically "diet" or "low fat."

In addition to there being specific foods the diet encourages those following not to eat, there are also foods that dieters are encouraged to eat. Some foods the Atkins Diet encourages those following it to eat are fatty fish and seafood, a lot of meat and protein, eggs, low-carb vegetables, nuts and dairy.