Is the Atkins Diet Healthy?

Is the Atkins Diet Healthy

The Atkins diet has been a popular plan back in the early 2000s for tackling certain health conditions and has very positive and effective outcomes. When you decide to do a diet plan, it is essential to get proper guidance about whether it is healthy or not to know that it will help you with your health concerns rather than causing more damage to the body. The following discussion will let you know about is the Atkins diet healthy?

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What is the Atkins Diet?

The Atkins diet plan initiates reducing carbohydrates in a person’s diet to achieve the core benefits of weight loss, a healthy lifestyle, prevention from diseases. The main focus of this diet is to lower the carbohydrate intake as much as possible, including plenty of fats and moderate amounts of proteins.

As it is established from the scientific studies over the year that refined and processed carbs are the macronutrients that lay the foundation of obesity and other health problems. In contrast, healthy fats are not a contributor to health damage. That is why consuming a low-carb diet plan like Atkins sometimes works for the human body and brings out the best and positive results.

The Atkins diet works on the phenomena of ketosis, a metabolic process of fat breakdown to produce ketone bodies as a source of energy for the body. This process stimulates when you have lower proportions of carbohydrates in your diet plan as glucose is the primary fuel of our body, which is carbohydrate metabolism.

But when you eat fewer carbs, the body has to start the ketosis process to work and run. This is the whole concept behind the Atkins diet plan, in which the stored fat in the body burns to fulfil the human body’s energy requirements and which results in weight loss.

The main difference between Keto diet and Atkins diet is that Keto resists carbs as a main goal of the diet whereas Atkins Gradually increases carbs quantity after some time and focuses on high protein instead of moderate protein. For more information on Keto vs Atkins, check out our detailed article here.

The Phases of the Atkins Diet Plan

To make it an easy-to-understand diet plan, the dietitians have divided it into four phases:

Phase 1 (induction)

In this phase, the person consumes only 15 to fewer grams of carbs per day, mainly from vegetables because they are low in starch. The dieter eats high-fat and high-protein foods in the induction phase so that the ketosis process can start.

Phase 2 (balancing)

In this phase, you keep the carb content consistent which is 15 or fewer grams. Still, then you include other carb-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, berries, along with vegetables to increase the carb content to 20 to 25 grams so that a person can know how much carbs they can eat while still losing the weight, the fat, and protein intake will remain the same which is fat in higher portion and protein in moderation.

Phase 3 (pre-maintenance)

In this phase, the dieter increases the carb content by adding another 10 grams to the diet plan. This phase usually starts when you are very close to reaching the targeting weight.

Phase 4 (maintenance)

In this phase, you introduce as many healthy carbs you want, often in the range of 40 to 120 grams per day, without regaining the weight and making sure that the importance is not going up.

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A Standard Day Atkins Diet Plan

The ideal scenario for the Atkins diet is that you have to include foods that are low in carb, organic, natural, and 100 % grass-fed without any added sugars. And you have to exclude foods high in processed and refined carbs, inorganic and ready-made foods, sugary products from the diet plan.

Here is a typical one-day Atkins diet to give you an overview of what will you eat in the plan and how many portions you need:

Breakfast

Cheese omelet with spinach and mushrooms

Snack

A handful of nuts

Lunch

Chicken salad with olive oil dressing and veggies

Snack

A piece of fruit

Dinner

Beefsteak with roasted broccoli

Beverages

  • Water
  • Black coffee without sugar
  • Green tea
  • Flavored water such as lemon, strawberry, cucumber, mint flavors.

 

Is the Atkins Diet Healthy?

It is a very common question that is the Atkins diet healthy or not? As a person wants to know that how will the diet plan affects their health and body functions.

So, according to the American dietetic association, a low-carb diet such as Atkins trigger the ketosis process and results in weight loss which concluded that this diet plan is healthy for an individual. The medical and health researchers have suggested that the Atkins diet works for the human body, which makes the claims of weight loss and improving a person’s health by performing this diet plan very well proper.

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The Atkins diet plan not only lowers the carbs but also through its phases it enables a person to manage more carbohydrates than just 15 or 20 grams as we cannot do the diet plan for our whole life, but it makes our body to get adapted to a good amount of carbs in the diet plan without gaining weight which is a very healthy aspect of the Atkins diet plan.

But, the problem here is that it increases the carb intake which is not a healthy and viable option. Secondly, in some plans it is noted that Atkins diet advices to take two to three cups of vegetables a day which is far less for fiber consumption ad if this continues, and you rely on proteins only, you’ll definitely end up with a fatty liver. So this is a problem with Atkins diet.

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Health Benefits of Atkins Diet

Following are the health benefits that the Atkins diet provides to a person:

Weight loss

Weight loss is the significant health benefit of the Atkins diet plan, which occurs as you include only healthy and nutritional foods in the diet plan and exclude all the harmful activities and habits from your life. Studies have shown that this diet plan is very effective for weight loss but it is hard to maintain with Atkins diet.

Good for heart health

People assume that fats are the reason for heart diseases, but recent health studies of the last decade have proven that healthy fats are good for heart health, and their consumption can even help you prevent heart diseases.

Improves brain functions

Low carb diet plan such as Atkins is perfect for brain functions as the brain likes ketones more than glucose as an energy source supported by medical research that the Atkins diet improves brain functions such as better memory, enhanced mood, hormonal balance, improved focus, .

Suppress appetite and hunger issues

The Atkins diet plan is very effective in resolving hunger issues. It suppresses appetite as it contains foods such as higher protein ones, foods with excellent fiber content, that are more filling to the stomach and keeps the cravings and hunger suppressed. But this situation is for the phase 1 and 2 when you consume less carbs, after that you will get hungrier than usual.

Lower blood sugar levels

Having higher blood sugar levels is harmful to the body as it can cause diabetes or other health problems. The Atkins diet plan helps an individual in lowering blood sugar levels by reducing carb intake.

Resolve metabolic syndromes

Atkins diet helps resolve metabolic syndromes as it regulates the digestion process and provides more healthy nutrients to the body to deal with metabolic problems.

Reduce inflammation in the body

Atkins diet contains foods that have excellent anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent diseases such as cancer, heart problems.

Side Effects

When your body experiences a new change, it takes some time for it to adapt. Likewise, the transition from carbohydrate metabolism to ketosis process is a significant change for the body so, during the adaptation period, the body may show some symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Irritated mood
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Tiredness

The side effects vary from person to person. However, how long they last is between 5 to 7 days until the body gets adapted to a new environment. All these symptoms are minor, and you can easily overcome them by getting more sleep, enough water intake and added electrolytes, taking some medication prescribed by your physician, .

There is no need to get concerned about the side effects or stop doing the diet plan. They are just the signs that your body is getting into the ketosis state and all you need is to keep up your motivation and try to overcome the side effects of giving up.

Types of People Ineligible for the Atkins Diet

Some people cannot do a low-carb diet plan due to certain medical conditions. Following are some people who cannot do the Atkins diet plan, or if they want to do then they need approval from their doctor and also from a registered dietitian:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • A person with severe liver and kidney problems
  • A person with heart problems
  • A person who is on medication for a specific health condition

Conclusion

Atkin’s diet plan is a well-planned and effective way for a person to deal with health problems like obesity, higher blood sugar levels, imbalanced brain activity, or just that person wants to achieve a healthy lifestyle. But we consider it healthy just for the phase where it restricts carbs, high carbs and high proteins can lead you to many problem in your body so it is best to avoid such type of diets. Studies have proved that it is a fad diet and has many problem when people follow it.

Author: Idrees Samih

Founder, Certified Ketogenic Diet and Ketosis Health Coach.

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