One key aspect of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat. This is what the Atkins diet teaches. The concept of using a low carb approach to lose weight is not new. The Atkins diet shows a way to implement a plan that is effective, easy to use and allows you to eat great foods and satisfies your carbohydrate cravings.
Why do people follow this diet?
Many people expect to have better success with weight loss and control of blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels by following a low-carbohydrate diet.
Many nutrition experts disagree with the basic premise of low-carbohydrate diets-the notion that high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets cause obesity and other health problems. In one argument, some nutritionists point to the traditional Japanese diet that is very high in carbohydrates, low in protein, and very low in fat, yet is associated with good health and normal weight in people who follow that diet. Rather than attributing obesity and other problems to carbohydrate intake, these critics blame the overconsumption of calories (from any source) and lack of physical activity as the primary causes of these health disorders.
The human body works best with a diet that includes some carbohydrate. Recently a Recommended Dietary Allowance for carbohydrate was set at a minimum of 130 grams per day. This would represent 26% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, which would still be considered a low-carbohydrate diet, but would avoid the potential hazards of more restrictive diets, including symptoms of ketosis (nausea, weakness, dehydration, light-headedness, and irritability) and loss of body protein.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, Phase One is very important. This introduction jump-starts you with the program. Your carb consumption is limited to about 20 grams each day for two weeks.
During Phase One, you should be eating protein rich foods like fish, chicken, whole eggs, and cooked beef. You also need foods with the "good" fats such as those found in dairy products and olive oil. Your carb meal might be a green salad with a low carb dressing such as olive oil. You can also eat green beans or broccoli.
Phase Two of the Atkins program is referred to as the "ongoing weight loss" phase (OWL). At this time you keep eating foods that are high in protein and fat.
The difference is that in this phase you begin to add five grams of carbs each day to your allotted 20 grams. You continue with this plan until you stop losing weight. In other words, you can have from 20 - 25 grams a day the first week, 25 - 30 grams a day the next week and 30 - 35 grams a day the following week, and so on until you reach a plateau in your weight loss.
When your weight loss stops, it is time to start dropping 5 grams of carbs each week until you learn how many grams of carbs you can eat and still continue to lose weight. For the average person, this is about 40 - 60 grams per day. Stay with this Phase until you lose about 5-10 lbs.