Are you starting on the Atkins Diet? The Atkins diet program was launched nearly half a century ago in 1972. Since then, it’s become one of the most popular low-carb diets along with the Ketogenic Diet and South Beach. When you decrease carbs, it requires you to boost the other macronutrients: protein and fat. Atkins allows an unlimited amount of both, which is a different approach from the Keto Diet. However, there are also some similarities since the goal of Atkins is for the human body to go into a state of ketosis. This makes it get energy from stored fat with an Atkins phase 1 meal plan.
One of the key features of Atkins is that it has four phases. It’s important to know the four phases and what they’re about. Phase 1 requires you to drop carbs to 20g and consume more fat and protein. This is the first phase so it’s important to make sure you’re eating the right foods so you can stay in ketosis. It can provide several benefits like weight loss since you’re not getting energy from calories and carbs. You should also know about the other phases since they’re also part of the Atkins program and can help you get the best results from the diet program.
What Exactly Is the Atkins Diet?
This diet program was designed by Dr. Robert Atkins. It’s a low-carb diet that’s used mainly for weight loss. However, you can also experience other benefits from going low-carb.
An interesting feature of Atkins is you’re allowed to consume as much fat and protein as you want. The caveat is you must reduce your carb intake. The low-carb feature of the diet is one of the main ones and can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Several studies have been done on low-carb diets during the past few decades. They show you can get several benefits like weight loss. These diets might also help with other areas like lowering your risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and some kinds of cancer.
Dr. Atkins penned a best-selling diet book 45+ years ago in 1972. In recent years the Keto Diet has been the most popular low-carb diet on Google. However, Atkins still has many loyal followers and remains one of the top low-carb diets available.
It’s interesting that when it was launched, there were many critics of the Atkins program. That was due to various factors, including it being high in saturated fat. However, recent studies have shown that there doesn’t seem to be a close link between saturated fat and heart disease.
It’s related more to issues like the fat’s source. For example, sources like coconuts and dairy are a healthier way to consume saturated fat versus fatty meats, for example. Another issue is the diet doesn’t seem to boost bad cholesterol. That can happen, but it’s quite rare. Researchers have focused in recent years on the ratio of bad/good cholesterol instead of just total cholesterol.
The feature of Atkins is it includes 4 phases including:
- Phase 1: Induction
- Phase 2: Balancing
- Phase 3: Tuning
- Phase 4: Maintenance
Atkins Phase 1: Meal Plan
This phase is the Induction Phase. It requires you to drop carbs to 20g per day. You should thus boost your intake of protein and fats. You’re allowed an unlimited amount of these macronutrients. If you’re looking for a meal plan here are some foods to add to your diet during Phase 1:
You can eat several kinds of meat, including beef, pork, fish, seafood, and (wait for it) bacon! One caveat is you should generally reduce your intake of processed meats on any diet. Just because Atkins and Keto allow bacon doesn’t mean you should eat it daily. It’s a highly-processed food that involves steps like curing and salting.
Eggs are also allowed on Atkins-Phase 1. A chicken egg has about 1g of carbs, which is quite low for any food. Most of the nutrients are in the yolk, including protein, vitamins/minerals, and healthy fats/cholesterol.
The best low-carb fruits include avocados with net carbs of 6g, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Meanwhile, blueberries are somewhat higher in carbs so you should generally avoid them during Phase 1.
Avocados are one of the top low-carb fruits you can eat. That’s because they’re high in water and healthy fats. Fats make up about 80% of the tropical fruit’s calories, which makes it an outstanding choice to help keep you in ketosis.
Veggies are generally low-carb. The main exceptions are starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, and parsnips. Some of the best low-carb options include broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, and asparagus. Another benefit of veggies is they’re low-calorie.
Make sure to go with full-fat dairy. That’s because it’s lower-carb and high-fat. Studies show that a high-fat diet is more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet. Dairy products are also high in nutrients like Vitamin D and calcium.
Food to Avoid on Atkins
1. Diet Foods
This might be surprising. If you’re trying to lose weight won’t such foods help? Well, in many cases they don’t. The reason is they’re often low-fat and high-sugar. There’s some debate about whether or not low-carb diets can help you shed weight.
What’s clear is that sugar doesn’t. More sugar means more carbs, which means weight gain. Another issue is sugar turns to fat so you’ll be more likely to add weight and possibly become obese if you consume too much sugar in your diet while on Atkins.
2. Starchy Vegetables
Make sure to avoid ones like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, parsnips, yams, beets, and turnips. Like other foods not allowed on low-carb diets, these are chock-full of nutrients. However, they’re also high-carb, which can prevent you from staying in ketosis.
This includes wheat, rice, rye, barley, corn, etc. These are easily superfoods and loaded with nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins/minerals, and others. However, the big problem is they’re also high-carb. This can kick you out of ketosis and wreck your diet. That’s a bad thing when you’re trying to lose weight on a diet like Atkins.
4. Vegetable Oils
These might sound healthy since they have the word “vegetable” in them. However, these are also highly-processed oils that can be quite unhealthy. It’s better to go with options like olive oil or coconut oil. These are high in healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with weight loss.
This doesn’t just include white sugar but also honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, molasses, etc. Several foods are loaded with white granules including candy, cakes, fruit juices, sodas, and ice cream. The main issue with sugar is it gives you an energy boost without any nutritional value white following an Atkins phase 1 meal plan.