Atkins Diet Review: The Original Low Carb Diet

Atkins Diet Review: The Original Low Carb Diet

Atkins diet review

Grilled steak. Light on the veggies. Welcome to the Atkins diet!

The Atkins Diet Review: Introduction

Mention the Atkins Diet, and there’s almost no doubt you’ll generate some controversy, even now.

To some, the Atkins Diet is the best thing that ever happened to them, and to dieting in general. Others see the Atkins diet as dangerous and impractical. The mere mention of the implementation of this diet throws them into convulsions (the comments following this review will give you can idea of the range of emotions it elicits).

All in all, it all makes for an interesting discussion.

The Atkins Diet has returned to the spotlight with the resurgence in the popularity of such low carbohydrate diets as “Protein Power”, “The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet”, and Barry Sears’ “Enter the Zone”. But clearly this man is no stranger to the dieting industry. A former cardiologist, his first book “Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution”, was released way back in 1972. And it differs little from his most recent offering.

Why all the controversy?

Ah… good questions.

The problem with the Atkins diet, according to some experts, is its period of extreme carbohydrate restriction (under 30 grams daily). In the initial stages, the bulk of daily caloric intake comes either from fat (saturated or unsaturated is fine) or protein.

Although the science behind low carb dieting is starting to catch up with and vindicate many of claims made by Atkins and others, that hasn’t prevent nutritionists from claiming that low carb dieting is dangerous in other ways…

1.That increased protein intake is dangerous, and seriously hampers and impedes normal kidney function.

This is absolute and total rubbish. None of the experts making such claims have been able to dredge up a single example of renal failure as a result of this diet. And I could not find any evidence that an increased protein intake posed any dangers to “normal” individuals not suffering from renal disease. In fact, I found the contrary (see Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005 Sep 20;2:25)…

“…we find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons after centuries of a high protein Western diet.”

One review (Contrib Nephrol. 2007;155:102-12) proposed…

“… that the concept that protein restricted diets decrease the risk of developing kidney disease in the general population is not supported by the scientific literature.

This one, which investigates a higher level of protein intake for athletes (see Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Dec;31(6):647-54) indicated…

“…that higher protein diets have quite consistently been shown to result in greater weight loss, greater fat loss, and preservation of lean mass as compared with “lower” protein diets.”

Of course, there are issues when increased protein is NOT a good thing — anyone with less than optimal kidney function needs to be concerned about increasing their protein intake without first consulting with a medical professional.

And as Elissa points out in this blog post, diets rich in cereals/grains, animal proteins, and salt (like the typical North American diet) can get a condition known as chronic metabolic acidosis (CMA). 

That aside, the available evidence indicates an elevated protein consumption is not dangerous.

2.Severe long term carbohydrate restriction leads to nutritional deficiencies.

Yes, this is true, but it’s also more than a little misleading.

Anyone who reads the Dr. Atkins diet knows that his period of extreme carbohydrate restriction is very short lived — only a couple of weeks.

Then you gradually start reintroducing low glycemic carbs (like fruits and veggies) back into your diet. Plus, Dr. Atkins suggests you do supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals during this brief period of extreme restriction.

In other words, there is no “long term” restriction involves with this diet.

Additionally, those who make this claim neglect to mention that the folks adopting this diet are doing so because their previous eating habits were terrible.

It is not likely, for instance, that the vast majority of individuals embarking on the Atkins diet were consuming perfectly balanced diets complete with highly nutritious meals beforehand and that this diet is going to expose them to nutritional deficiencies.

In other words, it’s a valid point, but in the real world, it’s moot.

3.Increased fat intake leads to higher cholesterol levels, and increases chances of heart attack.

Any diet that place an emphasis on the consumption of fatty foods can’t be good for you, goes the argument proposed by mainstream nutritionists.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence this is so.

In fact, a recent 20-year study found no association between low carb diets and the risk of coronary heart disease.

In other words, this “danger” is not a danger at all.

It’s also been demonstrated that it’s the low carb diet that is more effective at improving metabolic syndrome!

Still Skeptical?

Can’t blame you really. After all, you’ve heard for years and years how dangerous fat is for you. So…

Please review the clinical references I include here if you continue to be skeptical.

Secondly, for most of our entire evolutionary development we have been hunter-gatherers. That means no harvesting of crops, no tending of flocks: just scratching a living from what we scavenged or killed each day. Scientists studying the fossilized feces of early man (now there’s a job for you!), have speculated that as much as 80-85% of their diet came from meat.

Considering our early ancestors lived in Northern Europe around 30,000 years ago, and survived an ice age, it’s not surprising they ate meat. When it’s that cold, there just aren’t bushels of fruit and vegetables available at every street corner!

The bottom line here is very simple… our ancestors often experienced times of severe carbohydrate restrictions for extended periods of time (in fact, the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic did so up until very recently), without any ill effects. So this diet does not present any real threat to safety, especially considering the short period of time you’re actually restricting carbs.

So what is the purpose of this carbohydrate restriction anyway?

It’s to get the body’s insulin secretion system back on an even keel. Simple carbs, like those in preponderance in the North American diet, cause the body to become insulin resistant. In short, this leads to wildly vacillating blood sugar levels. This may lead to weight gain, fatigue, moodiness, lack of concentration, and UN-productivity. Carbohydrate restriction “reprimes” the body, and gets it back to working properly again.

With all that said, this isn’t an easy diet to stay on. Sure, eating all the steak, burgers, bacon, nuts, and cheese you want may sound appealing, but it quickly loses it’s allure when it’s the only thing you eat. Steak isn’t much fun without potatoes, burgers are lacking without fries, and cheese without crackers?

Boring.

Additionally, lean muscle mass seems to be threatened on this diet. Considering muscle burns calories even at rest, the loss of even some of this critical tissue is very undesirable. As an avid weight lifter, the rapid muscle loss I experienced while on this diet was particularly unnerving. I also found that without carbohydrates as a fuel source, strength at the gym dropped dramatically—even after the body had made the adjustment from a carb burning to a fat burning machine.

Atkins Diet Review Recommendation

This diet does seem to be an effective way of losing fat weight. If you’re going to attempt this diet, however, I have two comments for you. First…

The first week is the hardest. On about the third day of the diet, it’s likely you’ll start to feel “muggy-headed” as the body starts to make its switch to a fat burning machine. Hang in there, you’ll soon feel better. Secondly, you will weigh at least 10 lbs. lighter at the end of the first week. Don’t get too excited though, severe carb restriction has a diuretic effect. Most of what you’ve lost is water.

The Dr Atkins diet isn’t perfect, but it does work. That’s the bottom line.

If you’re hypoglycemic, or severely insulin resistant and suffering from metabolic syndrome, the Dr Atkins diet may be just what you need. From what I’ve seen with personal contacts, it is the Atkins diet that leads to the most dramatic improvements in important blood markers (cholesterol blood triglycerides, etc) and weight loss.


Author: Paul

Paul Crane is the founder of UltimateFatBurner.com. His passions include supplements, working out, motorcycles, guitars... and of course, his German Shepherd dogs.

61 Comments

  1. Thanks….good honest and informative review. I am now on Atkins and appreciate the info.

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  2. I read that you would see a 10 pound weight loss at the end of the first week on Atkins. Well, I followed it religiously for 9 days straight, and never lost the first pound! WHAT GIVES?!

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  3. Nikki – depending on your status and previous diet, it can take up to 30 days to reset your system and begin utilizing stored fat. Also, there are hidden carbs lurking in many foods – if you’re truly restricted to 40 per day, you can easily use those up in gum, breath mints, dairy and beverages. Just because a food says sugar free doesn’t mean it’s carbohydrate free. Read ALL labels and keep a count. And pay attention to portion sizes. If 1 oz has 4 carbs, then you need to be sure you eat no more than 4 oz that day, and avoid any other food that has carbs. Jack up the activity level also. If you really follow the induction phase, it will work. ONE CHEAT can totally screw it up. You want to suppress insulin production. When you cheat, you restart insulin production and all the fat / protein you’ve eaten during induction is fair game to be stored as fat. If you aren’t serious, this diet is not a good one for you. Cheating, even a little, can result in a higher weight gain than if you had not started dieting at all.

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  4. Thank you. I found this very informative, just what I needed to make my mind up.

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  5. I have been on atkins for a week now and tomorrow I am going to get wieghed, I am finding it really easy to stay on the diet and today, day five, I had to remind myself to eat because I was not hungry at all. Sure a potatoe would be delicious and I am not even a potatoe fan, but I want to loose about twenty pounds before summer and three of us from work are doing it so we do have support. I cant wait till I get weighed tomorrow and good or bad loss or no loss I am going to stick to it because I do feel better

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  6. I am on day 4, and I have lost 6 lbs. It’s probably all water weight.Also, the light headed mugginess is not gone. I too work out and I don’t think I m going to make it to day 7. I need to lose fat so I am going to try.

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  7. This seems like a very controversial diet with many pros and cons. The cons seem to heavily outweigh the pros though. The health risks of the Atkins diet don’t seem to be worth it for the quick weight loss. It seems more healthy to just eat healthy and exercise regularly.

    Editor’s Comments: What cons are those? Doesn’t this article dispel them?

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  8. Hello, everyone. I found no cons on this diet, being a chef I tend to eat more than my body can burn. I first started the diet back in 1999 and stayed on it for 1.5 years, I lost about 40 lbs in about 8 weeks and maintained my weight as long as I stayed on the Diet as instructed in the book, I felt 100% better, more energy, no more heartburn, bloating, feeling overfull, lazy ETC. But I got to tell everyone here that I have read about this diet off and on for 10 years, this is my 3rd time on the diet, I fall off after a year and start back in my old habits (eating lots of Pasta)I own and Italian Restaurant. There is one thing that stands out after reading all these comments on a variety forums online about the Atkins Diet, everyone I talk to, or has been on this diet eat more vegetables than ever before, the first thing I do before starting the diet is head for the produce section, because after a couple of days with a carb restricted diet any vegetable taste like candy to me. Anyone considering to start this diet should think about how much they actually eat veggies, I’m talking about a well balance mix not just a baked potato every other day, I feel we all think we eat lots of veg. but forget what foods we actually eat between the time we ate our last vegetable, on this diet every meal consists of some kind of veg. or a combination. After I loses my my weight I cut back on protein somewhat and add more vegetables, extremely healthy diet and works for me 100%.
    I found after being on the diet for a while say 4-5 weeks and my Ketostix read is high I take one day (Sunday for example) and treat myself to one meal, this usually had little affect on my ketose levels and it gave me something to look forward to and award myself.(I live to eat). I will admit being a chef helps with selecting and cooking a variety of tasty lo-carb foods. I find more ideas (Lo-carb recipes) online now than I did 10 years ago. I just make sure to cut back the items that create a higher carb count and eat a larger serving. PS nice to see a forum that’s up to date, most I find are years old.

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  9. One of my husband’s colleagues lost a lot of weight and we found out that he is on the Atkins diet. So we decided to give it a try. It’s basically the end of the first day now, and I feel very sick to my stomach. I was worried that this was a bad idea, because it’s the exact opposite of what a healthy, balanced diet should look like. I still don’t know whether I should stick with it or not, I have only been eating a cucumber, a piece of meat, cheese and water today..and it’s only the first day and I feel really bad! And I can’t imagine going on like that for a week, but that’s really all there is with no carbs. Also I am worried, that if I give up after the second week, I will gain everything or even more back.

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  10. Michelle keep doing it. Yes you will feel sick the first 2 weeks then body will be adjusted to this diet. I was on this diet for 7 yrs and stopped it over weight trainers and speculations, but it works. After I did every diet and spent astronomical amounts of money and went from 110 lbs-182lbs listening to foolishness. I am going on the Atkins back again and Nikki is correct this is a serious diet and it’s easy to follow. If you can make it through 2 weeks this will work but if you cheat, you will gain weight.

    The results are worth it, I love this diet – I don’t have to worry about portion size, and I can eat whenever I am hungry which the low calorie diets don’t allow.

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  11. See my previous post.

    I was on the diet for 10 weeks. Great diet…lost 10 lbs. BUT my cholesterol went from 189 to 246. Sadly, I had to quit the diet.

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  12. I’m 22 years old. I have been on the Atkins before but went off to take a break. I am going back on it tomorrow because I’ve gained back 25 pounds. Yikes! Anyway, I must say this is a great diet for anyone. For the first 3 days, you will feel like crap but if you stick with it, it DOES get better. Everyone trying this diet, just keep it up and you won’t regret it.

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  13. I am on day 8! Yeah me, didn’t think I would make it this far. After 2 babies and 6 years I am 35 pounds heavier than when I got married. I decided to really go for it and stick with it and it is hard. I have NO energy and I feel light-headed. I am working out at least 45-60 minutes a day (cardio mostly) and Wii Fit, hehe! I have only lost 5 pounds, but for someone that couldn’t get under 160 for the last 2 years, I am not complaining. I love meat, but it does seem like there are carbs EVERYWHERE. I have been eating these little mini peppers and I figured they were fine, but not really. I guess all I can do is stick it out for 6 more days. I really want some strawberries and blueberries now that they are in season. I am going to the beach in 12 days and hope that my efforts prove to be worth it. Good luck to all of you, and I am really proud of anyone who sticks to it! IT IS HARD!

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  14. I’ve done a modified atkins diet (with lower fat intake) many times over the years. I can only do it for short periods of time because I start to feel like I’m developing gout and my blood lipid panel jumps up (triglycerides went from 97 to over 250 after one six month stint – so the research on lipids must be flawed), often before reaching my weight loss goal. But it’s definitely easy to stick to and provides fast results.

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  15. I’m going back on Atkins because it works. When I first did the diet 6 years ago, I weighed 200 pounds and I wanted to get down to 135. My roommate weighed 150 and also wanted to get down to 135. We’re both 5’9″. We started on the same day and weighed each other on the same scale so we’d both be honest. We were eating crab legs with butter, double cheeseburgers w/bacon (wrapped in lettuce leaves), skinless fried chicken, bacon and eggs w/cheese–it was great! On the second day the roommate comes home with Atkin’s candy bars! I didn’t eat them. I didn’t eat ANY carbs and I walked at a brisk pace around a track at a nearby park for 70 minutes (the length of the CD I always used) every morning before I went to work. I felt fantastic!

    At the end of the first week, there was ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that I lost a whopping 15 pounds, because the roommate DID NOT lose a single pound–her weight was exactly the same! But she just was not as serious (or motivated) as I was–I mean, come on–candy bars on the 2nd day. I’m absolutely certain that I would not have felt so good nor lost so much weight if I had not been EXERCISING. I don’t think this is a particularly healthful diet, so it was important to me to DO something healthful, like exercise. I plan to do this diet again EXACTLY the same way for just two weeks.

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  16. I’ve been doing Atkins for 6 days after realising I was totally addicted to carbs – every meal and lots of cravings. I doubted it would work but I’m so happy I have started. I haven’t felt sick – probably coz I don’t really like meat. I have eggs for breaky, cheese and olives for snack (yum!), Huge tuna sadad for lunch, prawns, fish, salad/cheese for dinner. I have also found Atkins shake and choc bars at the local supermarket which I have too. My cravings are totally gone. And I tested out the cravings theory – for dinner last night I had some chips – right away I craved ice-cream/ choc / you name it. I don’t miss those cravings at all now and my test has totally converted me – No cravings for the first time in my life. My clothes are loser – I’m hooked!

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  17. Hi Katrina!

    I am eager to know how you are doing on your diet now..

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  18. I have been an Atkins user for the last five years and I can honestly testify it DOES WORK! Of course with exercise, the weight loss is even quicker. It really is great for losing a quick 5-7 pounds to get into that special pair of jeans for an event where you want to look your best. I am 54 years old, weigh 125 and still get those head turn looks. And, yes…there are times when I carb out..pizza, ice cream..potato chips…but just going on the diet for the next two days balances everything out…and the best part is you are never hungry!

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  19. Not a bad review—but hunter gatherers did not eat mainly meat (where did you get that fact?). It’s actually just the opposite, the day to day nutrition came from the gatherers–females in the band. Game was difficult to stalk and capture more than a few times a year, and the group would eat mostly nuts, plants and really small game when they can get it.

    Editor’s comments: Hunter/gathers ate whatever they could, whenever they could. But since they weren’t actually growing and harvesting crops, the only readily accessible, all-year-round food source was animal protein. Nuts, fruits and plants are great when they’re in season, but for the 3 quarters of the year that they’re not… well, animal protein was the only consistent source of nutrition. And the farther north of the equator you go, the more true that becomes.

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  20. I weighed 173 about 8 years ago. I exercised all the time. I ate low fat foods and lots of vegtables and never lost a pound for years. After seeing an obese friend of mine loose half of his body size on Atkins, I decided to jump on the Atkins diet wagon.
    The first two days I took in no carbs and I felt tired. But after that my body started to get it’s energy from my fat reserves and I lost an amazing 1 pound per day!

    It was fun because we found that we could go out to eat at the “all you can eat Buffets” which served many different types if yummy meat and fish dishes. When we bought fast food we just ordered our burgers with no bun and no ketchup. We never consumed over 20 carbs in a day, but I was eating a lot more food then before. After 6 weeks I weighed 138 and I was thrilled. In fact I started to get worried because my body mass kept shrinking, so I started eating more carbs at that point just to make myself stop loosing weith and after about a week, I balanced out around 140. All my friends were shocked that I had gotten so thin in such a short time. The all wanted to know my secret and to my great joy I explained the diet to another obese friend of mine and I saw him a few months later and he no longer had a huge belly and he must of lost at least 50 pounds. So 3 of us had huge success with this diet. I loved it because it was the only way my body would loose weight.

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  21. I have been on the diet for 3 weeks. I needed to lose 10 kilos (22 lbs) and, with exercise, I am about halfway there. I lost 3 kilos quickly and then plateaued, which was discouraging but I read that if you aren’t grossly overweight, the results will come a little slower. So I’m persisting and already wearing t shirts that haven’t fitted me for three years, which is good as it’s summer (40C degrees -that’s well over 100F) where I live.

    I’m still a little worried about having to limit fruit and grains after I reach my target and am inclined to eat more of these, combined with daily exercise. Has anybody reached their target weight on Atkins and then switched successfully to a Low G.I. eating regime?

    Editor’s comments: Bazbee, after the initial period of carbohydrate restriction, you are to slowly start to re-introduce low G.I. fruits and veggies into your diet. Because of their low calorie content and minimal effect on blood sugar levels, you should be able to eat as much of these types of foods as you like.

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  22. I am about to start the atkins diet from tomorrow. I gained a good 50 pounds in under two years (gulp, i know, but i did give birth at some point during those two years) and have decided that being 24 and overweight should not go together. i never had a weight problem before, so i really don’t know what to do! i tried a gym, hired a personal trainer and lost a good $500 and lost ZERO POUNDS. whatever.

    but in 2010, i am more positive, less irritated (i’ve put my son in daycare!) and have more time. more ME time.

    ok back to the diet. so i am very very hopeful that i begin to lose weight in the first week. the atkins website said that people have lost up to 15lbs in the first two weeks. wow. i would be thrilled if i lose 10 pounds in the first 2 weeks. is that even possible?

    i have read very mixed reviews of the diet. some lose a lot and some just complain. i just want to lose! so good luck to me and all those out there who are trying to lose weight!

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  23. Thanks, this article seemed like it represented both sides fairly. I’m just starting myself and wondering if it is effective for people who only have around 10 pounds to lose. I workout a few times a week, but have eaten primarily carbs in the past due to convenience. I’m sort of trying this as a science experiment. Should be interesting!

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  24. bottom line: i agree totally

    while overeating carbs = excess fat accumulation, cutting carbs can shed pounds in the short term as any dieter can tell you, but the overall effect of lower carb intake is energy loss. especially if you a physically active. if you work out and exercise or have a daily routine that involves anything other than sitting on your butt all day, lowering carb intake can and will result in easier carb fatigue and difficulty maintaing lean muscle maass, and even loss of lean muscle. when one burns calories through an active lifestyle, the body need simple carbs for immediate fuel. if no carbs are taken in that the body can easily break down, the body begins to literally consume muscle before it burns fat. it is simple how our bodies were designed to survive extended period of not having access to food.

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  25. After reading this review I made up my mind that it seemed like a fair review on both sides, so now I’ve been doing Atkins for just 3 days – so far so good. I havent felt tired or muggy so far and although some people have said they find the first few days difficult, what could be easier? Eggs for breakfast, fish and salad for lunch, meat and veg for dinner, easy easy easy, loving it so far, 3 Ibs in 3 days so far, unbelievable…..

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  26. not tried atkins,tried everything else though,going to give it a go.got around 28-30lb to lose and i am hopeful as i am 48 and see this as my last hope. i exercise at home a couple of times per week but i neither have the time,energy or inclination to do anything too strenuous,just toning exercise,i do like to dance about though!just packed in smoking,doing really well,so,i have a good bit to contend with!wish me luck….

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  27. I am 16 years old and have heard much about this diet i weigh 136 pounds and my height is 5’1 and that makes me over weight so i want to go down to 115 pounds but the only problem is that im a little nervous that if i do lose the weight after the diet i wont be able to eat like “normal” again. I am not an unhealthy eater, my normal diet consist of whole grains,fruits,nuts,and veggies. so will i be able to go back to normal?

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  28. This diet has been a life saver for me, after the induction phase, i began to study it like i was going to present a paper on the topic and now my whole family eats the atkins way and we are truely healthy. If i ever go back to being overweight after knowing what i know now, then i am a fool!

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  29. I went on this diet after having my child in jan of 2009, I went from 170 lbs to 110 in four months! It works if you stick to it and I haven’t gained any weight back with watching my carbs and a little exercise {Mostly with my husband if you know what I mean LOL}, you may feel sluggish the first week or so but keep with it and it’ll work wonders. Good luck!

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  30. I have only been on this diet for 10 days … I am quite muscular, 47 and peri menapause lucky me … and have not been able to lose 7 kilos for about two years… I have done every diet known to man and have been starving constantly…I exercise every day for an hour and should be rail thin but I am not … I have never eaten fat as I have been terrified of it so I guess that why I have been starving …. I started the Atkins diet 10 days ago and have not strayed once .. I have followed the induction from the menu at the back of the new book and dont feel I have lost much weight at all .. I know my waist is smaller but I feel flabbier … is that because my muscles are shrinking and the fat is hanging … sounds crazy I know but I feel I am insulin resistant and don’t whether I should stay on induction longer … I would love some feedback if there is anyone there

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  31. Hattie that’s normal, since you are fit it may take you more time for your body to realize that it needs to go to your fat reserves for energy. I had gone on this diet with mild exercise (mostly consisting of diving) and I literally lost in 4 months about 20 kilos. I went off the diet for 3 yrs and gained in almost all back. I started it last Monday and I have lost 3 kilos in 5 days. But at least for me I feel sluggish and weak for the first 10 days. If you keep to it and don’t cheat to much, don’t drink alcohol, don’t overdue the salads and vegetables because they will have an opposite effect, and eat a lot of fish, chicken, pork, beef. If your anything like me, you will loose your weight after the 1st 10-15 days steady, and thats also when your energy will start to change.

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  32. I recently read The New Atkins for a New You and realized that I had “accidentally” done this version of Atkins back in college in 1968 when I lost 30 pounds in 3 months–and this was four years before Atkins published his first book! Years later, I gained a lot of weight during menopause even though I was not overeating and I have not been able to permanently lose a pound in ten years. But since starting the “new” Atkins a week ago, I’ve lost five pounds (for sure) and am once again hopeful that this will work for me. This is not a dangerous diet as some claim. After getting through the Induction phase, carbs are slowly reintroduced and fruits and other “good for you” foods are back in your daily consumption. It’s all the unnatural sugars (and over consumption of the natural ones), high fructose corn syrup in so many baked, bottled, and canned products, as well as sweets, breads, and pasta–things our ancestors ate rarely or never–as well as a lack of daily “exercise” like walking to get where you want to be that have caused our bodies to bloat up so easily… I know that Atkins works and that it will not harm me, so I’m going to stick with it until once again I’m at a weight I’m comfortable with. As I said, I inadvertently followed the plan even though there was no such plan on paper as yet, and I quickly lost what I had gained my first two years of college–and I kept that off for many years. Following those same principles helped me lose the extra weight after my three pregnancies, too!

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  33. I have been maintaining my desired weight for 1 1/2 years with the help of the Atkins-like diet. I say “Atkins-like” because it has been my experience that 40 grams of carbs is too slow a weight loss regimen…so I strive for “0” carbs or very close for a much more profound weight loss. Initially I lost 45 pounds on my diet. I now maintain eating ‘normally’. I do it by simply watching my weight. When it increases by 10 pounds I go on my diet for 3 week, effectively losing 10 pounds and then go back to eating fairly normally, usually for about 3 months before I gain it back. I almost look forward to going on the diet since while on the diet I find I can pig out without weight gain…so I will frequent buffets where I can stuff myself on fish, meat, chicken, shrimp, etc…. Dr. Joel Savitch

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  34. I did the Atkins back in 2007 went from a size 13 to a size 8 in less than four months. It works!

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  35. Your information was beyond helpful, however I still have a few questions. I am a 17 year old girl, I do MMA, Muay Thai Boxing, and lift weights on the days when I dont have mma training.

    I work out at least an hour a day, at most being 4 hours. Based on my level of activity, I figured i could benefit from the protein intake on the Atkins diet. However, I am beyond concerned about losing the muscle mass that took a long time to get. About how much muscle is lost on this diet, and is it possible to avoid the loss if I continue to lift weights and work out? Also, will this diet effect my stamina overall, or just for the 2 week induction?

    Editor’s comments: For some athletes, the depletion of carbohydrates can lead to a reduction in endurance and in lean body mass. For some, not so much. So there’s no real hard and fast rule. In our opinion, you probably don’t need to Atkins diet, because you probably don’t need to restrict carbohydrates in any significant way while you are training so hard. If anything, you can cut down on starchy carbs (potatoes, breads, pastas) and increase “good” carbs (vegetables, some fruits, etc) while increasing your protein intake.

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  36. I am into my 5th day on the Adkins diet. I feel so good I just can’t believe it. I am a little tired in the morning but it doesn’t stick around long. I can’t get over how it stablizes your moods. I have always been so moody and now I just feel great, steady infact. I loved carbs but on this diet I am not even wanting them, it seems like for the first time ever I am in control of food, it is not in control of me. And food tastes good again, I didn’t even know I was missing out on that. So, anyway I LOVE THIS DIET!

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  37. As far as working out on this diet…it depends on the individual person. I basically live on this diet, and I am a heavy weight body builder. I have NO problem training. Give me carbs and I am weak and tired. My blood work is fine, and my health is fine. Just that some people cannot do certain ” diets.” For me, this is simply a life style. I have had other weight lifters in the gym argue with me that I must be lying or how impossible this diet is to work out on, and honestly, for ME it is just fine. I eat 6 small meals, maybe have 20 to 30 carbs a day from green veggies or protein shakes and that is all. Will it affect stamina? Who knows. It did not bother me one bit. It has bothered others. All you can do is try it. I do find have 3 eggs or a small low carb shake 2 hours before my training I feel better. OR I will do the shake DURING my training. And it depends how you really are training. I have seen people claim to work out hard and they are not really doing a real work out. LOL Just try it. It may work for you. Good luck.

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  38. I did Atkins June-august 2009 and lost 25 Lbs in 10 weeks. Then I lost motivation and I gained everything back plus 5 lbs, just weighed myself today. Its pretty sad lol. I need to lose about 45 lbs. I’ll probably stick with Atkins for the first 2 months and then go low calorie.

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  39. I went on this diet when I was 20 years old. I am now 28. I completely restricted myself to zero carbs and zero grams of sugar for two months. I lost 50 lbs in that two months. If I wanted something sweet I would just eat sugar free chocolate, crystal light, and diet pop. I did not exercise at all and I also drank alcohol but it was vodka with the crystal light or diet pop. Everyday I would take a lot of pills (vitamins and nutrients), I cant remember how many but I think it was around 10 pills, a few times a day. I absolutely loved the diet, it was so easy for me cause I am a huge meat eater, I almost never eat fruits or veggies. I don’t remember feeling sluggish at all. The only thing I hated is that it made my breath smell horrible.

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  40. Listen to this person they know what they are talking about. I know I have done just what he said twice and lost a total of 100 pound plus in just a couple of months.

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  41. ATKINS works ! These University graduates do not know what they are talking about !! Try it and see for your self !!

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  42. I did Atkins starting in October of my senior year of high school. I was 215 lbs and 5’5
    I lost over 50 lbs, most of that in the first three months. It was incredible. I was extremely active at this time which helped with added weight loss.

    Now, 2 years later I have gained it all back. (thanks to the freshman 50) haha. I’ve decided I need to be at a healthy weight again and I’m on day 5 of atkins and I feel extremely optimistic 🙂 I LOVE THIS DIET

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  43. I have been reading up on the atkins diet as many of you have said previously. I just bought the new book at amazon.com and am ready to give it a whirl. I used to be skinny and now at 160 and only 5’2″ I feel very out of place and just huge… Although my book has not come in the mail yet. Today is my first day (45 mins on the treadmill and a restricted diet until my book comes) and I am excited and motivated to stick to it. After reading all the stories about this diet. Just can’t wait to see my results and see what the boyfriend and family say!

    Thank you all for writing your experiences both negative and positive. It gave me great inspiration and I am ready to do it 🙂

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  44. There is some misinformation about the Atkins plan here. A lot of folks seem to think it’s about eating “all the meat, eggs and cheese you want” and nothing else. That is simply not so. It is a low carb, moderate protein, high fat way of eating. Most people find that on Atkins, they eat far more vegetables than they’ve ever eaten before, as vegetables are the main source of carbohydrates on Atkins. As one progresses in the plan, other foods, such as nuts, fruits and even grain are added back according to the individual’s tolerance. However, the vegetables always remain the main source of carbohydrate intake.

    As far as what the body will burn first, the body will burn alcohol before it burns carbs, fat or protein. But, since most of us don’t use alcohol as a macronutrient, carbohydrate is next in line. The body will use it for fuel before it uses fat or protein. The next choice is fat. The last is protein. If the body is receiving low carbohydrate intake, but adequate fat intake, it will begin burning fat as a primary source of fuel. As long as it’s receiving adequate fat in the diet, it will not feel the need to “hold on” to fat for fear that it’s not going to get anymore. Also, as long as there is adequate fat to burn from the diet and from the body, the body will not need to break down it’s own muscle for fuel. Plenty of people, including myself, have found that following Atkins properly and getting regular strength-training exercise has actually increased lean muscle mass while decreasing fat.

    Editor’s comments: That’s correct. It’s only the initial period of the diet that requires such a minimal carbohydrate intake.

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  45. Thank you!
    For writing your review.
    i just finished my first day on the atkins diet.
    I’m 140 pounds 5-3. i am tired all the time and fight to just have the energy to do anything.
    Today, was the first day in a long time that I was up and about all day. i even road my bike.
    I realize i must make the changes, I feel so good inside my body today. i ate healthy. I didnt consume bad fats.
    The only person i told i was starting this diet was a friend with type 2 diabete’s. 2 weeks of low carbs is not the end of the world. It wont be easy maybe. I have learned alot from the atkin’s website about food and my body. I can’t afford the books or products . i can afford healthy food. Thank you

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  46. I think a lot of people are still looking for the magic pill in the Atkins diet. I like this last post because it talks about nutrition. Just because you are doing the atkins diet you can’t eat nothing but meat and fat and expect to feel great. You need nutrition and one thing that has come out recently is that vitamin supplements don’t work the same as eating the foods that supply those vitamins naturally. You need to eat a lot of low carb veggies to maintain your health on this diet. So if you don’t like veggies this diet isn’t for you! Plus isn’t the whole point of losing weight to look and feel better. Just losing fat isn’t the answer. Health is what is attractive and you need to exercise and have a balanced diet in order to look great. You can absolutely have a balanced diet on atkins but it takes effort and thought to make sure you get everything you need to make sure you can stick to this diet for life and be healthy.

    As for people feeling bad in the first phase of the diet. It is due mostly to withdrawal from carbs. You wouldn’t tell a smoker who is having nicotine cravings to smoke again if they feel bad when trying to quit. It is just something you have to go through in order to become the healthiest you can be.

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  47. Also one thing people need to realize is that fruit isn’t as healthy as we’ve been taught. Fruit has been cultivated over hundreds of years to be sweeter than ever. We’ve taken the seeds from the sweetest fruits and used those seeds. Yes it has nutrients but we can also get all those vitamins and more from low carb veggies. You really need to look at fruit like it’s candy because after years of selective breeding it is the equivalent.

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  48. At age 59, my attempts at dieting were to use healthy low-glycemic carbs and to limit portions. It didn’t work. I could not lose a pound! Then I decided to go on this diet about a week and a half ago. I’ve lost 7 pounds so far and I’ve really enjoyed the diet. I am not so careful about the amounts of veggies, so I will often have a big salad maybe twice a day. Perhaps that will slow me down, but it keeps me feeling more balanced, not so much meat all at once.

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  49. Im 46 years old, had a hysterectomy last year and I have been on Atkins for 2 months now. I have lost about 17 lbs. The first month it came off fast and now coming off very slow. The most significant thing that has happened to me is that my depression has disappeared! My entire life has turned around and Im able to do yard work for hours, organize and clean my house and think clearer. Even if I never lost a pound, the way I feel being off Sugar and Bad Carbs is a pure miracle for me. I have kids and they can eat ice cream or whatever in front of me and Im not even bothered. Every morning I have scrambled eggs with olive oil, mushrooms and cheese and often bacon on the side. After 2 months I haven’t gotten sick of it. I take sips of heavy whipping cream if Im craving milk. I also have a low carb/low sugar high protein chocolate drink I get at Costco and also their Vita Rain drinks have been a life saver…no sugar, no carbs and added vitamins. They have the best edamame (soy beans) that microwave for 3 mins and taste wonderful and also marinated cooked shrimp I eat once a week. Pepperoni sticks for snacking. Salads with Ranch. I eat salmon twice a week at home but have most dinners at restaurants and really load up on veggies…with chicken or beef. I drink bottled water and make green tea once or twice a day. Usually one cup of coffee a day. Before this died I binged all day long on crap and felt like crap. Who could argue with giving up sugar and processed foods?

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  50. I was a weight lifter (power lifting, not body building) in my 20’s and 30’s and was pretty heavy. I am 5’11 and weighed in at 238 lbs at my heaviest. I wasn’t huge and fat, but I did have a big belly to go with the big arms and chest. After hitting my 40’s I realized I would rather be in better cardiovascular shape and less of the big, strong (but heavy) weight lifter.

    My wife introduced me to Atkins in June 2010. I had tried “normal” dieting and had given up weight training to concentrate on the treadmill, pushups, situps, and higher rep dumbells. I went from 232 lbs in January 2010 to 226lbs by June, and looked and felt no different. After getting on Atkins I lost 25 pounds in 3 months! I immediately noticed that my blood sugar stabilized and my appetite leveled off – no more “starving” when my blood sugar crashed due to carb binging. My heartburn and indigestion disappeared, which was a blessing. I got down to an amazing 201 lbs and my blood pressure was lower. I finally got to see stomach muscles I had been missing for over 20 years and I had better definition than I ever had as a power lifter. That is one thing worth mentioning again for you middle aged guys – belly fat disappears really quick on this diet, really. No, I wasn’t male underwear model skinny or lean sculpted, but I looked and felt great and was in good shape. I could go run a few miles, go mountain biking, or hit the ski slopes and not feel like a lead weight was rolling in my gut.

    I am still currently on “maintenance” and take many liberties with the occasional carb – pizza, whole grain pastas, whole grain breads – but in moderation along with veggies and meats. Currently 209 lbs, which I am still pretty happy with considering now I eat pretty much eat what I want using my new found knowledge of what my body will tolerate and still maintain. If I want to get down to 200 again I just hit the induction phase for a few weeks.

    TL;DR: Atkins is terrific, highly recommended. Great review of a great diet!

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  51. Have done Atkins a few times in my life, works every time. As merchant marine I have had times due to travel and shipboard life where I have had to fall of the wagon but anytime I want to get shredded quick it works. After transitioning out of induction into a diet that includes a variety of veggies, berries and flax cereal and the like you are then simply eating the way your great great grandparents ate. Hardly groundbreaking and ironically the centerpiece of a “new” diet I heard some guy on the radio talking about where “if your great grandma didn’t have it in her pantry” you don’t eat it.

    The caveman diet too has some similarities to Atkins but it goes to show that theres nothing new under the sun. Trying to avoid simple processed sugar though is like trying to find something not made in China, they dump it in absolutely everything, even sliced lunch meat! I do have one question though, I enjoy putting whipped cream on semi-frozen berries as a dessert, is spray on whipping cream really sugar free? Seems too good to be true and the label shows zero carbs but the ingredients indicate sugar..hmmm.

    Editor’s comments: Hard to answer that question without knowing the brand and checking the label. It could be sweetened with sucralose / splenda or the manufacturer may be pulling a fast one. Hard to say.

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  52. This is my 6th day of following the Atkins, have found it tough going also surprise that I’m eating much more than normal, since my appetite has increased (not sure if this is a good thing). Really want to try and continue for 2 weeks to see if I have positive results, as yet I have no weight loss and feel very bloated and flabby. I suffer with a thyroid problem and take medication for it and would like to know if this effects results?

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  53. Low carb diets are not for everyone and could be dangerous specially in the state of ketosys!!!

    In the past I always regulated my weight with just complete temporary restricting of sugars and breads and extra exersises( was my mother advice 40 years ago) which I find the healthiest way for weight loss.
    2 years ago I tried Atkins and lost very fast 30 pounds, was feeling OK but after six months in ketosys I developed atrial fibrillation and arthritis due to minerals deficiency despity of taking all necessary supplements,drinking water etc,
    Now I still keep this lost weight but I do not
    have the same energy level when I was overweight and could play tennis every day,
    So, everything is good in moderation.
    Just my advice to everybody who wants to try the extreme way of loosing weight- first, try to restrict your carb without going in ketosys-it is much safer,specially when you are not very yound

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  54. Thanks so much for an informative and helpful article! I don’t care much what the “experts” say, as they change their stories every few years–but it’s nice to hear from someone who has tried the diet and can list good and bad points. Just started yesterday, so we’ll see how I feel at the end of the week! 🙂

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  55. I have been on Atkins for 3 weeks and have followed it religiously, yet have lost no weight till now, should I continue or is it just not the right diet for me? I am 28 years old, 214 lbs 5 ft 4

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  56. I really was skeptic at first with this diet, even when my father-in-law handed me the Atkins book. I can attest this really does work! I was told I needed to do something because the labs were not in my favor with cholesterol, and doctor reported that I would need to start taking medicine because my insulin was elevated. I was scared, I refused to hear this. So I read the book, re-shopped for groceries with low or no carbs and I have gone from 182 lbs 9/28/11 and 2 months later I am 157. I still have more to go of course, but I am now losing 1-2 lbs weekly and exercise minimally now with the weather change. All other diets are too restrictive. I can actually have cheese, eggs, and dairy cream in my coffee, and real butter!! I could not do this on low calorie diets at all! I would never believe in a minute I would be 25 lbs lighter in a 2 month time!! I do not even crave sweets at all. It is a lifestyle change for sure, probably for a lifetime because my labs all went down into normal range! Don’t give up is my advice on this diet. I too went 3 almost 4 weeks without noticing any change to my weight or shape, then all of a sudden, I stepped on the scale, and I looked down to see it for myself, this diet has kicked in and I feel great. Good luck to everyone on your journey, don’t give up!!

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  57. My husband and I have been doing The Atkins diet since right before Halloween. We have sailed through three major holidays (its now just after New Years) and have each lost a significant amount of weight. He has lost 22 pounds and I have lost 12. I have more things going against me like being on an anti-depressant, menopause, and a screwed up metabolism for most of my life from constant dieting. This is my third attempt on Atkins, the first was a very successful 40 pound loss about 12 years ago, I gained back that and more over the course of a year when I went back to eating ‘bread’. The second time was a 10 pound loss about 2 years ago in 6 weeks time, went off and gained 20. This time I think I have the right mind frame to think of it as a lifestyle and doing it with my husband (which is a first for me!) makes it more doable. My typical day of eating is a fried egg and 2-3 strips bacon for breakfast or a muffin in a minute(flaxseed and egg muffin), a handful of almonds for morning snack, a large spring salad topped with chicken salad and italian dressing for lunch, 2 cheese sticks for afternoon snack and either pork, steak or chicken with low carb veggie and our favorite ‘just like smashed potatoes’ which is a smashed cauliflower, cheddar cheese and cream chesse goodness (recipe can be googled). My husband rarely eats breakfast and has a huge bowl of collard green or turnip green, ground sausage beef broth soup and then eats the same dinner as me. He occasionally eats nuts or cheese and sausage for after dinner snacks. We are almost never hungry and we dont have those sharp cravings for sweets anymore which is great. I think by eating the recommended veggies and not going over the cheese limit really makes a difference for me. I usually stay under 20 carbs a day and feel fine on this. When I do go over and eat an Atkins bar, I usually do not loss weight and will stall. Same thing happens when I eat too many nut servings. We will be continuing on this diet until we reach our goal, hopefully by the summer and then gradually increase carb intake to figure out our set point to maintain the loss for the rest of our lives. I feel great and have much more energy. Atkins works when you dont cheat, read up on the whole process and good luck!

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  58. Atkins does work! I was overweight in my early teens by about 50 lbs. After less than year of Atkins, I lost that 50 and got down to 115 lbs at 5 feet tall. The weight stayed off for several years until life’s tragedies took over. A lot of stress with my fiance (now husband) being in a car wreck which he suffered massive brain damage, a few deaths in the family, and being diagnosed with PCOS and told I’d never have children, my weight crept up to just over 200 lbs by age 29. I’ve now been on Atkins (for the 2nd time in my life) for 17 days and have lost 11.6 lbs. I’m not losing nearly as fast as I did as a teenager but that’s what happens with age. My husband is doing the Atkins diet with me and his luck has not been so great yet. He’s only been on it about 11 days and has lost only 3 lbs which is unusual as he normally loses weight quicker than I do. He is also very muscular and so I think it is taking more time for his body to burn fat cells. Eating low carb is not a quick fix…it’s a lifestyle change and with any lifestyle change you have to learn to live with it. If you don’t live it and follow the protocol long term, you will fail as you will with anything. Good luck to all!

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  59. I just started Atkins 10 days ago and have already lost 4 lbs. I am 54 and in menopause. My last bloodwork showed hi cholesterol so the doc put me on crestor (10 mg per day). I don’t want to take it and even though I am on Atkins I am having a hard time with the cholesterol thing. I’m brainwashed like everyone else so while eating the Atkins way I’m constantly worried that I’ll give myself a heart attack from all the fat and that my cholesterol will go thru the roof. ARG!!! I am going to stick to it though because the doc did say I had to lose weight. I’d like to get down to 155 or 150. I am currently 176. Any reassurances would be greatly appreciated when it comes to cholesterol. Thanks!

    Editor’s comments: Marcy, a recent 20-year study found no correlation between the low carb diet and heart disease (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061109095850.htm). Second, 10 mg of Crestor is actually a fairly low dose, so while your cholesterol may be high, your doctor was not SO concerned as to start you at a higher dose. Lastly, you should be having regular blood work done, so you should see the results of your diet fairly quickly. If you are not seeing the results you were hoping for, you can always change your diet then.

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  60. Hi all, I’m just reading this post n I’m motivated. On my own with hard work and exercising I’ve lost 20 pounds n two months. Im n phase three (every mth is a phase); for phase 3 I’m going to do ATKINS. Today will be day 1.

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  61. First, in the end, you have to take in fewer calories than you are burning in order to lose weight. Atkins works well while on it helps limit cravings. Often people have gain weight because they eat too much at meals and snack too often between meals. In addition, many of these things on the atkins diet will be part of a person’s normal diet, they just also have a mountain of carbs in the form of breads, sodas, starchy vegetables and sugary deserts. If you instead mostly low starch (mostly green) vegetables with protein, you will be consuming fewer calories. The positive of the diet is the fact that while reducing carbs, blood sugar is regulated and spikes in blood sugar do not happen. Appetite is more controlled. Obviously if you are late for lunch of dinner, you will get hungry, but in the middle of the day, you will not be looking for some sugary snack.

    Lastly, there is a misnomer by those who are only looking from the outside and also failed to read the book. Atkins is not about stuffing your face with bacon and cheese. The key phrase is eat until satisfied. This leads to smaller portions compared to what might be large ones in the few days as you work through switching from high carb to very low carb.

    Obviously most people will not stay on induction long term. If you gradually increase your carb intake as you approach your ideal weight, you will be able to find the happy medium where you are eating a closer to normal amount of carbs. If someone loses weight on any plan and then immediately goes back to eating 3k+ calories again with loads of empty calories, obviously that person will gain the weight back. The same could be said of a person coming off any diet and then acting this way.

    There is no magic pill to getting in shape if you have allowed yourself to gain a signifigant amount of weight. You have to find a plan that works for you and stick to it and exercise. For some people, this plan works great and others, they would rather restrict other areas of diet besides carbs. Whatever works for you is the one you should go with.

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