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Atkins Drinks

Weight Loss Made Simple

Atkins Diet: By Kathleen Goodwin, RD

It has been 10 years since Dr. Robert Atkins re-introduced his 1970s low carb diet program (known in the '70s as Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution). The book, now known as Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution has flooded the market, producing what can only be termed "low carb mania" in the United States and abroad. Millions have tried his diet, and his books have been on the bestseller lists for a decade. It has been estimated that nearly 25 million Americans are on a low carb diet during any given period. Dozens of "low carb" products continue to flood the market, reminiscent of the '80s and early '90s "fat free" everything era.

How the Atkins Diet works
The first two weeks of the Atkins diet is termed the "induction" period. During this time, dieters are permitted to eat no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. This translates into a diet consisting of nearly unlimited meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheeses, oils, butter, margarine, bacon, and sausages. The 20 gram carb limit is generally derived from trace amounts of carbs in sauces, dressings, cheeses and a couple cups of lettuce greens or vegetables daily. During these two weeks, participants are not allowed to have any milk, fruits, grains, cereals, breads or "high glycemic index " vegetables such as potatoes, peas, corn and carrots. After the first two weeks, dieters can begin adding about 5 more grams of carbohydrates to their diet weekly. Generally, a diet consisting of no more than 40-90 grams of carbohydrates is what dieters must stick to long term, in the "maintenance" phase.

A recent research study conducted by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity showed that Atkins dieters cut their normal daily caloric intake by 1,000 calories while following the Atkins plan. Additional research has shown that during the ongoing weight loss phase, Atkins dieters consumed only 1500 calories a day on average, much less than their previous caloric intake.

What's left to eat?
Big distinctions need to be made between healthy and unhealthy foods. No one will argue with Dr. Atkins' advice to limit sugary processed foods, like cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, donuts, chips, crackers, French fries, and processed breads and flours.

For a review of this diet by the American Cancer Institute see an article by TheDietChannel: Popular Diets Versus Dietary Guidelines.

Please consult a physician before starting any diet program.

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