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Atkins Diet

Atkins Recipes: Do They Work?Developed in the early 1970’s by a cardiologist of the same name, the Atkins diet plan is widely considered one of today’s most popular diets, and is thought to have triggered the low-carb trend. Actress Courtney Thorne-Smith, best known for her roles in Melrose Place and Ally McBeal, was a recent celebrity spokesperson for the Atkins plan; the starlet claims the diet helped her get slim and stay fit after the birth of her son.

The diet appealed to thousands of Americans who dreamed of eating nothing but cheeseburgers and piles of crispy bacon – but don’t forget to hold that bun! This high protein, low-carb approach was made famous by its promises of drastic weight loss, while followers gorged on delicious steaks and high-fat foods. However, like many diets that work based on severe food restrictions, Atkins had its share of downsides, especially during the early phases when carbohydrates are all but totally eliminated.

Atkins diet plan overview

The Atkins diet plan is based on the assumption that overweight individuals eat too many carbohydrates, and that refined carbs like white flour and corn syrup are the leading causes of obesity. Unfortunately, these sugary, starchy treats like cinnamon rolls and glazed doughnuts are things our bodies scream out for. In an effort to thwart this vicious cycle, the Atkins plan limits dietary starches forcing the body into burning stored fat – rather than carbohydrates – for energy. Known as ketosis, this process of using fat for fuel is the basic premise behind the diet’s four phases, which are as follows:

  • Phase 1: Induction. The hardest phase, where you are only allowed 20 net grams of carbs per day. Most fruits are off-limits, as are breads, grains, pastas, nuts and alcohol.  This phase lasts roughly two weeks and is focused on proteins such as poultry, meat, eggs and cheese, as well as low starch veggies, oils and fats.
  • Phase 2: Ongoing weight loss. Gradually integrate more vegetables and fruits, plus nuts and seeds, as you continue to shed pounds. In phases 1 and 2, most Atkins recipes feature heavily on protein and natural fats. This is a lengthy phase and is recommended until you are within 10 pounds of your ideal weight.
  • Phase 3: Pre-maintenance. Dieters are now allowed to eat a larger variety of fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains. As long as you continue to lose weight, you can add 10 grams of carbs to your diet each week. After attaining your goal weight, phase 3 is suggested for an additional month.
  • Phase 4: Lifetime maintenance. This final phase refers to a permanent way of eating, ensuring you’re never more than five pounds from your ideal weight.

Atkins recipes

Without a doubt, the induction phase of the Atkins diet plan is the hardest for most people. Here is a sample of a daily menu that allows 20 grams of carbohydrates:

  • Mixed salad (3 cups) = 3g.
  • Eggs (two) = 1g.
  • Cooked vegetables (1 cup) = 4g.
  • Cheese, 3/4 oz = 3g.
  • Avocado (half) = 2g.
  • Olives (10) = 2g.
  • Lemon juice (1 tbsp) = 1.5g.
  • Cream (1 tbsp) = 0.5g.
  • Salad dressing (2 tbsp) = 2g.
  • Sugar substitute (2 tsp) = 1g.

Another solution for effective weight loss

The Atkins diet plan has both its fans and critics, and to be fair, the side effects are reportedly quite unpleasant. Dieters can expect bad breath, constipation, flatulence, dizziness and fatigue during the first two phases, and the plan isn’t recommended for anyone with medical concerns such as diabetes or other serious health conditions.

While restricting carbs can be an effective weight loss tool, many dieters fall off the wagon too soon to realize significant results. However, with the addition of one-on-one counseling that targets the root of our eating behaviors, many overweight individuals have been able to overcome those stubborn hurdles that often block the journey to weight loss success. At The Center for Medical Weight Loss, skilled physicians have helped thousands of dieters attain their goals by incorporating balanced meal plans and regular exercise with individual sessions for guidance and support.

Read stories of weight loss success!

If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of physician-assisted weight loss, just enter your zip code above to find a Center in your area. Special introductory offers are available in most locations.