Atkins Nutritional Approach

From ArticleWorld

The Atkins Diet, formally known as the Atkins Nutritional Approach, is the popular low-carbohydrate diet that was created by Dr. Robert Atkins. He popularized the diet in a series of books, starting with Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution in 1972. Although he continued to update some ideas in subsequent books, he remained faithful to the overall concept.


Principles of the Atkins diet

Dr. Atkins theorized that Western eating habits foster obesity for two reasons: the eating of refined carbohydrates (sugar, flower, corn syrups) and saturated fat is an overrated problem – that trans fats only need to be avoided. This mode of thinking rejects the food pyramid. He also states that a lot of eating disorders are due to hyperinsulinism, a result of eating too many carbohydrates. Atkins emphasizes diet, nutritional supplements and exercise.

The theory of the Atkins Diet is the restriction of the intake of carbs in an effort to shift the metabolism from burning glucose to burning stored fat. Preferred foods are whole, unprocessed foods with a low glycemic level.

The four phases of the Atkins Diet

  1. Induction – the first and most restrictive phase. It limits carb intake to 20 net grams a day. This is when people see the most significant amount of weight loss.
  2. Ongoing weight loss- this phase allows for an increase in carbohydrate intake by 5 grams a day. This phase lasts until weight is within 10 pounds of one’s target.
  3. Pre-maintenance – the goal of this phase is to find the maximum number of carbohydrates one can eat before gaining weight.
  4. Lifetime maintenance – This phase is intended to carry habits established in previous phases.

The Atkins craze

In 2003 and 2004 the Atkins Diet enjoyed such popularity that it was blamed for significant declines in the sales of carb-heavy foods like potatoes, rice and pasta. Many companies, like Coke and Pepsi-Cola, joined the craze by releasing C2 and Pepsi Edge, respectively.


Low-carbohydrate diets are controversial and serious research has only recently supported some of Dr. Atkins’ claims.

Since it emphasizes fatty foods and does not follow the food pyramid, many nutritional experts consider the Atkins Diet unsound. Also, acidity from high protein intake can cause osteoporosis. Opponents point out that weight loss through fad diets is due to fewer choices available – and the weight loss often only is a short-term benefit.