Benefits Of The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is the focus of the following comments from the American Heart Association:

“The Atkins diet puts forward the controversial belief that low fat is not the only way to proceed for a healthier lifestyle and weight control. Dr. Atkins blames carbohydrates (grains, pastas, fruits, potatoes) for weight gain. He believes that if you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you will then lose weight. Too many carbohydrates in your daily diet encourages your body to retain fat.”

When the body absorbs simple carbohydrates quickly, it causes a response of insulin which speeds the conversion of calories into fat. The Atkins plan focuses on the consumption of nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods and vita-nutrient supplementation. The plan also restricts processed and refined carbohydrates (which make up to approximately 50 per cent of people’s diets). It also encourages you to eliminate sugar from your diet as it contributes to a slower metabolism.

The Atkins diet is designed as a program on which you can keep a healthy weight for a lifetime and is highly suitable (but not restricted) to those who prefer to eat animal protein. The diet offers people who have failed on low-fat diets a healthy, effective and safe alternative. Instead of carbohydrates and sugar, dieters are allowed plenty of fat and protein.

Four phases are included on the Atkins diet, they are; 1) Induction, 2) Ongoing Weight Loss, 3) Pre-Maintenance and 4) Lifetime Maintenance.

During Phase 1 (Induction), you are supposed to restrict carbohydrate consumption to 20 grams each day, obtaining your carbohydrate primarily from salad and other non-starchy vegetables.

In Phase 2 (Ongoing Weight Loss), you then increase carbohydrate in the form of nutrient-dense and fibre-rich foods by 20 grams daily in the first week and then 30 grams daily in the next week until you gradually begin to lose weight. Then you subtract 5 grams of carbohydrate from your daily intake so that you continue on your goal of sustained weight loss.

In Phase 3, known as ‘Pre-Maintenance’, you make the transition from weight loss to weight maintenance through increasing the daily carbohydrate intake in 10 gram increments every week.

In the last phase of the Atkins plan (Lifetime Maintenance), you can select from a wide variety of food whilst controlling carbohydrate intake to ensure positive weight maintenance.

Mixed views exist on the Atkins diet, especially amongst health experts and dieticians. Many experts tend to be critical of low-carb diets but have not totally discounted the Atkins diet as an effective method of losing weight. Although they do assert that it’s too early to adopt a low-carb diet, health experts do accept that it’s worth trying. The main criticism of the Atkins diet is that it entails frequent meat consumption.

However, followers argue that the program can indeed be tailored to different preferences and metabolisms. After the first phase (known as the ‘Induction phase’) the Atkins diet plan may be modified. Despite the immense popularity of the diet, the Atkins diet plan continues to leave many people sceptical. Another criticism of the diet is that a person will be unlikely to keep the weight off over the long term. However, this claim can just as easily be applied to many low-fat or low-calorie weight loss plans, on which dieters are likely to feel hungrier.


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.