Atkins Diet

Dr. Atkins, who was one of the first to propose a low-carb diet for weight loss, created the Atkins Diet Plan, which has been around longer than most. The Atkins Diet Plan became immensely popular in the 70s and has been gained and lost popularity in the decades since then. The plan has been criticized for its high cholesterol and fat content, but has remained among the top diet plans due to the fact that despite all its shortcomings it has proven effective for those who were faithful in following it.

Basic Ideas

The Atkins Diet plan is based on the simple idea that a low-carb, protein-rich diet is a good way to lose weight. Its followers are required to consume a lesser amount of refined carbohydrates and sugars, a.k.a “bad carbs”.

The plan was one of the first modern diet plans in that it encouraged a change in lifestyle as an instrument of weight loss. Like most effective diets, the Atkins plan is divided into basic stages of 1) Induction (2 weeks or more), 2) Long-term weight loss, 3) Pre-Maintenance (a transition period from weight loss to weight maintenance, and 4) Lifetime maintenance.

The beginning of the diet is fairly restrictive, so as to make dieters develop required eating habits. The idea behind this diet is to divert the body’s energy usage from carbohydrates to fat stores, thus diminishing them.

The Atkins Diet plan allows you not to count calories, but this does not mean that you can eat all you want – the limits are still there, but they are no different than those recommended in time of maintenance, rather than weight loss. The difference in this case is not how many calories you consume, but where you get them from.

This diet requires quite a bit of effort, since not only will you have to buy and make your own food, but also use your imagination, so the food requirements do not become “monotonous”.

While there is no community center, and no counseling, support for followers of the Atkins Diet plan is available in the form of community forums, newsletters and so on.

Exercise Component

The Atkins Diet plan does not suggest a specific exercise regimen. He does, however, claim that weight loss works a lot better with exercise, so you’ll have to figure out what works on your own.


Although Atkins does have some trademark snack foods, nutritional drinks, and a few low-carb cooking products, most of your food you will have to buy from the grocery store. The choices should not be difficult, assuming you utilize the Atkins book or website for guidance and recipes.

A great thing about this diet is that it will not cost you a lot more than you usually spend, and will allow you to eat-out more or less normally.


Once you read about the diet and understand the phase you are about to undertake, the diet is easy to follow. You rarely feel hungry. The downsides:

•    You have to cook your own meals, rather than buy commercially prepared diet foods, but there are shortcuts which can be easily found.  

•    Learning to count carbs

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