The Atkins Diet is a low-carb diet created by Dr. Robert C. Atkins in the 1970s. Atkins designed the diet to help people lose weight, and especially excess fat. The program is divided into four phases and, depending on your weight-loss goals, you may start in any of these phases. If you have at least 15 lbs. to lose, you will benefit from starting in the first phase, called Induction. The objective of this phase is to kick-start your weight loss by helping your body switch to burning fat instead of carbohydrates and quickly eliminate any carbohydrate or sugar cravings you may have.
The induction phase of the Atkins eating program is the strictest in terms of carbohydrate restriction. The objective is to eliminate almost all carbohydrate-containing foods, such as grains, legumes, fruits, juices, sugars, candies, desserts and starchy vegetables. The target is to eat no more than 20g of carbohydrates a day, most of which should come from foundation non-starchy, high-fiber vegetables, which include kale, leafy greens, mushrooms, artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower and tomatoes.
The Atkins program recommends eating a serving of 4 to 6 oz. of protein at each meal, while some tall men may need up to 8 oz. Protein-rich foods include fish, shrimp, crabmeat, oysters, chicken, turkey, duck, veal, pork, beef, ham and eggs. You can eat 3 to 4 oz. of cheese every day, but ricotta, cottage and sweetened cream cheese are off-limits during this phase. Nuts and seeds are not allowed during the first two weeks of the induction phase, but you can have 1 oz. a day in subsequent phases. You don't have to trim the fat, nor do you have to remove the skin from chicken.
The Atkins Diet does not skimp on fat. Along with protein, fat is key to keep you full and satiated between meals. In addition to choosing full-fat cheeses, not trimming meat and eating the skin of the chicken, if you wish to do so, you should use just enough vegetable oil to prevent meat from sticking in the frying pan and then add the equivalent of about 1 tbsp. of fat, such as butter, mayonnaise, olive oil or coconut oil. You can also add a few slices of avocado or a few olives to a salad.
With less than 20g of carbohydrate a day in induction phase, this proportion corresponds to less than 10 percent of the daily calorie intake. As for protein, the requirements vary. For example, women usually require between 91 and 133g of protein a day, and men, between 112 and 154g a day, depending on their size. This is the equivalent of about 20 to 30 percent of the daily calorie intake. Finally, most of the calories are provided by fat, the proportion of the calories coming from fat in the Induction phase of the Atkins Diet usually ranges between 60 and 70 percent.
- Atkins: The Program
- "The New Atkins for a New You"; Eric C. Westman et al.; 2010