How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

Without a doubt, the Atkins Diet is the most controversial weight loss plan of all time….Whether you love it or hate it, anybody with a few extra pounds on their body knows about Atkins.

  • They know that Atkins is low carb.
  • They know that Atkins gets rid of body fat faster than any other diet.
  • They know that doctors hate it
  • and they probably believe that it probably kill them by clogging their arteries with cholesterol.

grilled steak How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

They also know that Robert Atkins got very rich selling low carb books and videos and processed Atkins-approved food products.

atkins pyramid english1 How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

click to enlarge

Q.   And why did old Doc Atkins get rich???

A.   Because it worked.

No other diet comes close to Atkins in terms of melting off large amounts of body-fat in a short period of time.

And if for just one short minute, all the Atkins-haters could put down their stereotypes about pork rinds and cholesterol and bacon and the threats of cardio-vascular disease and the cheddar cheese and sausages and the grease… We can take an honest look at what Atkins really saying.

Let’s take a look at Phase 1 or the Induction Phase of Atkins’ plan.

atkins induction How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

Takeaways

  • For 14 days, you eat only 20 grams or 80 calories of carbohydrates.
  • You can have as much protein and fat as you desired, but only 20 grams of carbs.

What does that mean?   What can you eat?   What should your meals look like on Phase 1?

atkins bk lunch How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

atkins dinner How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

Specifically, what kind of carbs could you eat on Phase 1?

atkins carb food How To Make A Better Atkins Diet

And how much of those carbs can you get for your daily allowed 20 grams?

my low carb foods How To Make A Better Atkins Diet If we take a look at my own list of “favorite” low density carbs, we can see just how much actual food you can get from your allowed 20 grams of carbs…

  • 8 avocados, or
  • 64 spears of asparagus, or
  • 6 cups of cucumber, or
  • 44 cups of iceberg lettuce, or
  • 52 cups of spinach, or
  • 400 radishes, or…well you get the point.

44 cups of lettuce…that is a lot of salad…all for just 20 grams of carbs.

So…what happens after the 14 days of low carb hell that old Doc Atkins just put you through?

Next PageWhat happens after the 14 days of low carb hell?

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Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

8 Comments

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  2. MakingFitHappen

    February 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Adherence to just about ANY diet will work. Long term weight maintenance depends on long term adherence, and that’s where Atkins fails. Blame people for being ‘sugar junkies’ if that helps defend your chosen program, but a diet that is THAT hard to maintain, even if it technically works, is a failure in the end.

    • healthhabits

      February 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      “Long term weight maintenance depends on long term adherence”….. AGREE

      ….”and that’s where Atkins fails”….DISAGREE….sort of

      Over the past 20+ years, I have known dozens of people who have transitioned through the 4 phases of Atkins having achieved their weight loss goals. The ones I am still in contact with eat a diet consisting of vegetables, animal protein and a small amount of fruit or dairy or nuts, etc…

      On the other hand, I have known 100+ people who have tried and failed Atkins. I have also known hundreds of other people who have tried and failed with low-fat diets, low-cal diets, food exclusion diets, intermittent fasting diets, Mediterranean diets, zone diets, etc diets

      Based on the research, all diets fail for the vast majority of people. Not just Atkins

  3. rlnorthcutt

    February 14, 2012 at 12:49 am

    So how do you explain all of the studies and research which shows that diets high in animal protein (meat and dairy) drastically increases the risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.? I mean, refined/processed foods of any type are obviously killers… and more veggies are totally good… but whole grains (not bread, but whole grain) are the cornerstone of not only the best modern diets for health but also every traditional culture for thousands of years.

    After tons of research, experimentation and observation – there is no doubt that the best diet for the average human is heavily plant-based. Not necessarily vegan… and not necessarily “carb heavy”. Greens and veggies are extremely important, and you can’t eat too many.

    After reading your series here (Atkins redux), it seems that your focus is on weight loss. While it is true that an atkin’s style diet does help reduce weight quickly in the short term, studies show that after a year, the results are on par with a traditional low-fat diet. And this says nothing about the long term health effects of eating a diet high in animal protein.

    With 2/3 of Americans either overweight or obese, it is clear that something needs to be done… but focusing on the short term weight loss over the long term health is literally short sighted.

    I am willing to be wrong on this – but where is the research? Where are the peer-reviewed studies to back up the claims? Where are the long term studies to show the likely effects of eating this way for a decade?

    Honestly, I think it is irresponsible to recommend a diet of this type. While I appreciate your notes to consult a doctor, and your admittance that many people don’t do it properly (which is true), this is only serving to encourage people to continue eating poorly and kill themselves one bite at a time.

    • healthhabits

      February 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

      To save time and excessive link clicking, it may be simpler to just recommend Gary Taubes’ book Good Calorie, Bad Calories

      While I don’t see 100% eye to eye with Taubes, his is the most complete argument in favor of excessive carb/sugar intake as a driver of poor health & obesity. And unlike the vegan’s most popular piece of research – The China Study – Taubes doesn’t rely on observational studies.

      In regard to grains being the cornerstone of many traditional diets…I agree to a point. The consumption of grains occurs only fairly recently in the evolution of homo sapiens. And for cultures concerned with lack of food, grains are super important. Fruits & vegetables can not be stored like grains can.

      However, we live in a society where scarcity is not an issue. We don’t NEED grains. Because of this, their importance to our survival has been negated.

      From a nutritional/health/disease standpoint, grains are a big loser compared to fruits & vegetables. Their nutrient/calorie ratio compares poorly, and in a society starved for nutrition but overfed in calories, grains have become a huge liability

      Regarding your specific concern for Atkins, most criticisms of the diet focus on the induction phase of the diet and ignore the following phases which introduce increasingly higher levels of carbs/sugar as the dieter’s insulin sensitivity improves along with their fat loss.

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  5. Thomas

    January 8, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I lost a lot of weight on Atkins’. In fact it’s the only diet that’s ever worked for me and I’ve even tried vegetarianism…

    I not only lost weight on Atkins but my overall health improved dramatically! – I used to suffer from headaches almost daily and through Atkins GONE and it’s been years now.

    My blood pressure came back to normal after being way too high, my cholesterol is also better!

    And last but not least – I gained muscle.. Nice abs, biceps nice Y shaped back.. etc

    Atkins makes perfect sense – All of these carb rich foods are NOT what our ancestors would have eaten they would have eaten mostly meat and some vegetables since in nature (without stores etc) meat is much easier to come by than cultivating veggies or fruits.

    Atkins is perhaps the best thing that i’ve ever done health wise.

    I’ve learned that anything that gets pushed in the media as good – reverse it.

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