What is the Atkins Diet?

Atkins Diet

Grilled Steak

Robert Atkins published his first book “Dr Atkins Diet Revolution” in 1972 after he had read an article outlining the theory.

The general idea behind the diet plan is that by cutting back on carbohydrates the body had no choice but to switch from metabolizing glucose to burn as energy to using stored body fat instead.

There are four phases to this low-carbohydrate Atkins diet plan which are:

  • Induction – this is when you will lose the most weight as your carbohydrate content is reduced to just 20grams per day.
  • Ongoing Weight Loss – now you have worked out which carbs are best for you to be able to still lose weight but the rate of loss has now slowed to 1-2 calories each day.
  • Pre-Lifetime Maintenance – as you reach your goal the weight loss slows further.
  • Lifetime Maintenance. – simply referred to as a “way of eating for life.”

Certain foods are changed throughout the different phases to ensure optimum results.

There are, as with everything, both pros and cons to the Atkins Diet. A few examples follow:


  • You are finally able to return to eating steaks, creams and things you may have once thought of as a “forbidden food” when trying to diet.
  • It is easy to follow and comes with a lot of informative guidelines.
  • By being able to work out your own carbohydrate level and which ones are ok to eat and still lose weight.
  • A popular diet there are numerous books and websites that can offer recipe ideas and moral support.



  • Some of the diets ideas are considered controversial.
  • It can be tedious having to count the carbohydrates in all your food and drink.
  • The Induction phase can cause the dieter to have some health issues when going through what is referred to as “carb crash”.
  • Some of the food restrictions can prove a little boring.
  • Finding your own acceptance level of carbohydrates can take a while to perfect.


There has been heated debates regarding the Atkins Diet and possible health issues that it may cause. Debates which are still ongoing.

By increasing your consumption of protein and fats medical professionals have raised concerns regarding certain health issues. It is thought that these foods can increase cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. There are also links to poor kidney function among their findings.

Supporters of the Atkins Diet will say in its defence that although carbohydrates are reduced they aren’t omitted from the diet entirely. By choosing “good carbs” such as green, leafy vegetables and fruit which can be eaten in abundance, they are still provided with all the nutrients the body requires.

Unfortunately research to discover the long term effects of the diet have not been done until recently so conclusive evidence is yet to be unveiled. More research is probably needed and an air of caution should be adopted until the results are in.

Dieting is a personal decision and whichever method you opt for do your research and make an informed choice. If embarking on any diet it is always advised that you discuss it with your physician first.