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The Atkins Diet

A Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet Plan

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The Atkins Nutritional Approach is a low-carbohydrate diet plan created by Dr. Robert Atkins. He popularized his diet in a series of books, starting with 1972's Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. In his books, Atkins submits that the main cause of obesity is eating refined carbohydrates, sugar, flour, and high-fructose corn syrups. The carbohydrate-restricted diet plan seeks to change the body's metabolism. Instead of burning glucose, the body will burn stored body fat. Whole, unprocessed foods with a low glycemic index are the most preferred.


1. Diet Rule #1: There are 4 phases of the Atkins Diet. Count carbs, not calories. In the beginning, carbohydrate intake is limited to 20 net grams per day.

2. Diet Rule #2: Phase 1, or Induction, is the most restrictive phase. Stay on this phase for at least 2 weeks. Only 20 net carbs are permitted and must come from salad greens and allowable vegetables.

3. Diet Rule #3: In Phase 2, or Ongoing Weight Loss, increase carbohydrate intake by 5 net grams per day. Weight loss continues to occur. Learn how food groups in increasing glycemic levels impact craving contol.

4. Diet Rule #4: When within 10 pounds of the target weight, switch to Phase 3, or Pre-Maintenance. Increase carbohydrate intake by 10 net carbs. Find the maximum number of carbohydrates you can eat per day without gaining weight.

5. Diet Rule # 5: In final phase, Lifetime Maintenance, continue the habits acquired in earlier phases. Eat primarily whole, unprocessed foods. Drop back to an earlier phase if weight gain occurs.


In his book, Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution, Atkins says that hunger is the primary reason for low-fat diet failure. The Atkins Diet restricts net carbs to decrease the on set of hunger. Net carbs are digestible carbohydrates that effect the blood sugar. To calculate net carbs, take the total number of carbohydrate for a food and subtract fiber and sugar alcohols (which have a lower impact on blood sugar levels). In 2003 and 2004, the Atkins Diet gained widespread popularity. Many companies released special product lines low in carbohydrates to capitalize on the low carb craze.

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