This diet was suggested by Dr. Robert Atkins. It is a strict low carbohydrate diet. Atkins believed that people striving to lose weight should refrain from consuming refined carbohydrates. Therefore, this diet focuses on using stored up body fat in order to provide fuel for energy (ketosis). The body normally uses glucose as fuel.
The Atkins Diet focuses on avoiding all food products that tend to raise blood sugar levels, like sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, etc. Dr. Atkins also believed that this diet is good for people with type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) because it involves lowering blood sugar levels. The Atkins Diet encourages people to eat whole and unprocessed food.
There are four phases or stages in the Atkins Diet. They are Induction, Ongoing weight loss, Pre-maintenance, and Lifetime maintenance. The Induction phase consists of two weeks of strict carbohydrate restriction. This phase focuses on helping the body metabolism to switch to the Ketosis process, i.e. burning fat instead of glucose as energy fuel.
Some of the foods allowed in this stage include broccoli, turnips, spinach, poultry, fish, cheese, etc. Other dietary requirements during this phase include, drinking eight glasses of water, a multivitamin, refraining from alcohol consumption, etc. This stage, when combined with exercise, leads to significant weight loss.
The next phase in the Atkins Diet is the Ongoing weight loss stage, where there is a little less carbohydrate restriction and some of the Induction phase foods are permitted to be consumed in larger amounts. In the Pre-maintenance phase, carbohydrate intake is again slightly increased. The final lifetime phase involves sticking to the dietary restrictions and requirements. If need be, a person can go back to an earlier phase in order to lose weight.
This Diet, while being popular with many people has also come under scrutiny for health issues like other diets. Though the Diet claims to help in many ways especially with diabetes, some people are of the view that it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, etc. The Ketosis process sometimes causes bad breath and digestive disorders in some people. It is best to refer to a physician before starting any diet.