The Atkins diet is a type of ketogenic, or low-carbohydrate, diet. The diet burn fats at an accelerated rate by not giving you any sugar to burn. While the Atkins books may say "eat as much as you want," this is not necessarily the best option for everyone. While the idea of eating nothing but bacon and eggs may be attractive to some, it is not the best program to successful weight loss on a low-carbohydrate diet. Consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.
While dieting may work to lose weight -- or body fat -- diet and exercise together work much better. If you are not currently exercising, you do not need a complicated program or plan: start by going for a walk every morning and doing body weight exercises in the evening. This helps boost your metabolism and speed up your fat loss. Walking, plus pushups, jumping jacks and other exercises you learned in gym class at school, can give you a head start on your weight-loss goals.
To follow the Atkins diet, you still need to eat enough protein -- a low-carb diet does not mean eat as much of anything else you want. Your body requires protein and the amino acids that comprise proteins, and the only way to get them is via your diet. You need to get at least 30 percent of your calories from protein to avoid muscle loss, notes a 2005 article in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." If you do not, your metabolism slows as you lose muscle mass, and you do not burn fat as effectively.
While the Atkins diet may be just as effective as any other diet for weight loss, it is still possible to overeat while on this diet, so track your caloric intake and adjust your calories accordingly. Do not make drastic cuts as this can lead to extreme hunger and dietary failure. Cut 100 calories a day and track your progress for two weeks. If your fat loss has increased, you are doing fine; if not, cut an additional 100 calories. Take your time -- you didn't accumulate the extra fat overnight, so it will take a while to get rid of it as well.
Types of Fat
While all fat has 9 calories per gram, not all fats are equally healthy. While on the Atkins diet, it is still best to limit saturated fats such as found in bacon and most deep-fried foods, all of which are also high in trans-fatty acids. Monosaturated and polyunstaturated fats are healthier, and essential fatty acids produce critical hormones such as testosterone, which is responsible for muscle rebuilding and repair. If you are not producing enough testosterone, your ability to lose weight is compromised.
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Effect of an Energy-restricted, High-protein, Low-fat Diet Relative to a Conventional High-carbohydrate, Low-fat Diet on Weight Loss, Body Composition, Nutritional Status, and Markers of Cardiovascular Health in Obese Women; M. Noakes, et al.; June 2005
- "Annals of Internal Medicine"; A Low-carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Versus a Low-fat Diet to Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: a Randomized, Controlled Trial; W.S. Yancy Jr., et al.; May 2004
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Increases the Rate of Muscle Protein Synthesis in Older Adults: a Randomized Controlled Trial; Gary I. Smith, et al.; February 2011