Atkins diet is a diet low in carbohydrate , which aims to meet the energy demands through fats and proteins.
The American cardiologist Robert C. Atkins devised this diet plan in the '70s to prevent and control diabetes mellitus. Recently it became popular, driven by a massive promotional campaign (it has been adopted by many Hollywood stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Renee Zellweger).
The Three Phases of the Atkins Diet
Similar in many aspects to the Metabolic Diet, it aims to maintain constant levels of insulin, severely limiting carbohydrate intake and causing the body to use fats and proteins as an alternative energy source.
The Atkins diet consists of three distinct phases, the first is called induction phase, the second is characterized by an increment of glucose while the third phase is where you eat more carbohydrates.
Phase 1 - Induction
The first phase is called Induction, that should be followed for at least two weeks to accustom the body to burn fat more effectively and stabilize the blood sugar.
During this first phase the diet imposes a strong limitation of glucose intake, which must not exceed 20 grams per day (note that in 100 grams of pasta there are about 75 grams of carbohydrates).
Therefore all foods rich in carbohydrates, both simple and complex (rice, pasta and cereals in general, sweets, snacks, potatoes, soft drinks, jams, most of the fruits and also several vegetables) will have to be avoided.
Instead these foods can be eaten: steak, fish, cheese, eggs, vegetables with low glycemic index and various seasonings (just avoid hydrogenated fats present in margarines).
Phase 2 - Increase Glucose Intake
In the second phase, the diet allows a slight increase in the contribution of glucose.
The proportion of carbohydrates in the diet in fact, is increased by 5 grams a day, until you reach the "critical level of carbohydrates needed to lose weight", variable from person to person.
The small carbohydrate increment (the famous 5 g per day) must be met by slightly increasing the intake of vegetables, no-sugary fruit and dry fruit.
In this second phase of the diet foods such as pasta, bread, cereals, sweets and dairy products are banned.
Phase 3 - More Carbs
When you are close to achieving the ideal weight you enter the third stage.
During this period, the Atkins diet recommends to increase the intake of carbohydrates by 10 grams a week.
The purpose of this third phase is to reduce weight loss to no more than 500 grams per week, preparing the body to the fourth and last maintenance phase.
Because of the low fiber, vitamins and minerals intake (due to the reduced consumption of cereals and some fruits), the supporters of this diet recommend to supplement your menu with multivitamins, antioxidants and bran.
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