The food pyramid for the Atkins diet.
He popularized this diet in a series of books starting with Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution published in 1972. The Atkins franchise which promoted his diet filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005, two years after his death. However, the company has reorganized and you still can buy Atkins food and related products.
So what is this Atkins Diet that has proven to be so popular? According to Atkins refined carbohydrates, in particular sugar and flour, are the main cause of obesity. He also felt that saturated fat was not a major nutritional problem, and was much less a factor in developing vascular disease than the trans fats often found in hydrogenated oils. At the risk of oversimplifying, this diet tells you to cut the carbs and not worry about dietary fat. It also recommends nutritional supplements and exercise.
According to Atkins when you cut down on the carbs your body will start to burn its stored fat. He claimed that a low-carbohydrate diet might make the body burn up to 950 calories a day. This claim has been disputed. Since fats and proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates people on a low-carb diet may take longer to become hungry than those on a low-fat diet.
The Atkins diet consists of four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance.
Atkins revised diet book.
The Induction phase is the most limiting phase of this diet. Its goal is to propel the body to start digesting body fat. In this two-week phase dieters are allowed 20 net grams of carbs a day. To calculate the net grams subtract the grams of fiber, sugar alcohols and glycerin from the total grams of carbohydrates. Here 12 to 15 of these net grams must be salad greens and other green vegetables. At this stage you are allowed a lot of meat, fish, shellfish, fowl, and eggs, up to 4 ounces (113 g) of soft or semi-soft cheese, and even butter and vegetable oils. You must drink eight glasses of water per day and bread, pasta, and alcohol are no-nos. Watch the caffeine and take a multivitamin with minerals. The good news is that many people who exercise daily lose 5 to 10 pounds per week in this phase.
During the Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) phase you increase your carbohydrate intake each week by 5 net grams. You start to add new foods in the following order: Fresh dairy, nuts, berries, alcohol, legumes, other fruits, and starchy vegetables. Continue this phase until you get within 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of your target weight. People who choose to lose only a little weight may start the diet at this phase.
During the Pre-Maintenance phase, you adding good carbs to your diet each week and continue to lose weight until you reach a stable weight. This stage proceeds slowly; it may take a few months to get your weight to where you want it.
The Lifetime Maintenance keeps your weight at the desired level, avoiding the all too common situation where dieters slacken off and return to their old weight and eating habits. You can always return to an earlier phase if you are starting to put weight back on.
It is said that in 2003 and 2004 one out of eleven adults in North America followed the Atkins diet. Pasta and Rice sales declined sharply. Then this diet started to lose popularity and it became quite controversial. My suggestion as a non-medical person is that you consult with your doctor before undertaking this or any other diet.
So what about wine in this diet? As indicated above, it all depends on which stage you are in. Donít drink any wine during the first stage that normally lasts two weeks. This restriction is not due to the carbs; wine usually has low carbs. By eliminating wine at this point youíll reduce spikes in your blood sugar and consequently your craving for sweets. In later phases you can add wine but you do have to count the wineís carbs. The recommended maximum intake of 3 Ĺ ounces of wine contains on average 4.3 grams of carbohydrates. And stay away from sweet wines. Atkins says if you are going to drink alcohol, the best drink is wine. I agree.