Understanding the Atkins Diet Basics

The Atkins diet is based on Dr. Atkins' theory that sensitivity to carbohydrates as well as an over-consumption of carbs is the root of most people's problems with weight gain. The basics of the Atkins diet involves using the way that the body processes fat when there is no presence of carbs to lose weight. Atkins thought that most overweight people were resistant to insulin, meaning the cells that turn carbs into energy malfunction in some way. Atkins dieting basics include restricting carbohydrates and following a high protein eating plan.

By restricting the intake of carbs, the body enters a sate of ketosis, which is when the body burns fat as fuel. Atkins' plan runs on the presumption that the body will go through a quick weight loss regime while affecting the insulin production to prevent the formation of fat. Once carbs are not being consumed, the body has no choice but to burn up fat instead of carbs. The basic plan of the Atkins diet is to strictly prohibit carbs for two weeks and eventually re-introduce a limited supply of carbs and other foods, as well as promoting the use of exercise. The idea is to slowly re-introduce carbs and maintain the consumption of a low carb diet. The diet progresses in stages.

The Basics of the Atkins Diet in Stages

The basic stages of the Atkins diet are the induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and maintenance. The induction lasts for 14 days, and involves rapid weight loss by limiting carb intake to just 20 grams a day. The only carbs allowed are essentially green vegetables and salad leaves. Fruit, other vegetables, yogurts, potatoes, rice, bread, alcohol and pasta are all forbidden. During the ongoing weight loss stage, the carb intake is increased to 25 grams a day. The weight loss will eventually stabilize and the carb intake will need to be adjusted again.

In the pre-maintenance stage, the weight loss is less obvious and certain foods are tested back into the diet to see if they can be safely added without causing weight gain. The basics of the last stage of the Atkins diet, the maintenance stage, are simple. The goal weight is reached and one food is re-introduced into the diet at a time so that you can safely judge what foods will cause weight gain and need to be removed again. The Atkins diet primarily allows the consumption of plenty of meat, poultry, fish and eggs, and gradually allows the consumption of additional vegetables and fruit as well.