Atkins Diet Information

The Atkins Diet was introduced in the 1960s, and is one of the most well known diets around. Created by the late Robert Atkins, M.D., a cardiologist and graduate of Cornell University, the Atkins Diet has been used with great success by thousands of people to lose the extra pounds that just don’t seem to go away on other diets. The Atkins Diet is easy to follow. There is no need for counting calories, weighing in, or recording the foods you have eaten.

The theory behind the Atkins diet is that people will use fat reserves to burn energy rather than use the energy created by their bodies when they eat carbohydrates. The Atkins Diet consists of four phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance. Each phase comes with its own information and set of instructions that must be followed. The Induction phase lasts about two weeks and helps dieters to "jump start” their weight loss by severely restricting carbohydrates, sugars, and caffeine in order to change the metabolism from one that burns carbohydrates to one that burns fat. Subsequent phases of the Atkins Diet involve eating a high protein, high fat, and low carbohydrate diet. Dieters following the Atkins Diet plan are allowed to eat as much red meat, cheese, and eggs as they want but must limit their intake of carbohydrates in any form -- including fruits, vegetables, pasta, bread, and milk -- according to the parameters of the diet plan.

Some medical experts question the health safety of the Atkins Diet over the long term, primarily because of the emphasis on eating foods containing saturated fats and proteins. Health concerns include the impact of large amounts of protein on kidney functioning, the impact of saturated fats on cholesterol and heart disease, and the potential for some types of cancers to develop from eating a diet low in complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, certain vitamins and minerals, and fiber. Currently, no long-term studies on the Atkins Diet have been undertaken, so it continues to be surrounded by controversy.

For a review of this diet and 3 other diets by the American Cancer Institute see the following article by TheDietChannel: Popular Diets Versus Dietary Guidelines.