The Atkins Diet
Perhaps the most widely known of all low carb diets is the Atkins
diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970s, the Atkins diet is considered by some to be
the most extreme low carb diet plan.
Dr. Atkins believed that nearly all obesity is caused by overactive insulin production and not
by overeating. He believed that overeating could be caused by carbohydrate addiction and that most overweight
people actually ate less than their slim counterparts. However, they crave and eat carbohydrate, which raises
their insulin levels and suppresses fat burning.
Dr. Atkins is a proponent of ketogenic fat burning, which is achieved by eating fewer than 40
grams of carbohydrate each day. He advises his followers to buy testing strips so that they can measure the
amount of ketones in their urine daily to confirm that they are in a constant state of ketosis. He also
recommends the use of dietary supplements to help balance nutrition and the bodies systems.
The Atkins Diet is divided into four stages: the Induction diet, the Ongoing Weight Loss diet,
the Pre-Maintenance diet, and finally the Lifetime Maintenance diet.
The Induction diet is very strict as far as carb elimination (20 grams or less per day), but
generous in the allowance of fat and protein. It should be noted that low starch vegetables are the
recommended source of carbs. This phase of the diet lasts 14 days and is followed by the Ongoing Weight Loss
The OWL phase allows for the reintroduction of certain good carbs but the levels are kept below
40 grams a day. Dieters stay on OWL until they reach their ideal weight. Once the ideal weight is reached
dieters transition into the Pre-Maintenance diet, where they experiment with reintroducing certain good carbs
until they discover their carb tolerance level (the total carb grams they can consume in a day and not gain
When dieters understand how much carbs they can consume and they maintain their ideal weight,
they will enter Lifetime Maintenance. Here they will continue to avoid sugar, processed foods, white flour
and hydrogenated fat/oils.
The Atkins diet offers a number of approved foods and there are Atkins stores in many areas that
sell diet compatible products.
History of the Atkins Diet