Atkins Diet: What You Need to Know

Photo courtesy Atkins®

Let's face it, you or someone you know has been on a diet at one time or another. In fact, there's a good chance that many of the folks reading this article are on some kind of diet right now. There are all sorts of diets out there, but most of them have one basic thing in common -- in following the plan, you're required to watch the amount of calories you eat. A majority of diets also require you to avoid high-fat foods. There's one diet out there, though, that doesn't do this. Unlike its fellow regimen, it allows you to eat fairly large amounts of red meat, eggs, cheese, butter and even bacon -- all of which would be considered contraband on other plans.

Obviously there's a considerable amount of controversy over such a program; the Atkins diet, now known as the Atkins Nutritional Approach™, is a frequent topic among the media. While dieters across the nation are thrilled with the results of following this unorthodox plan, the medical community is fairly-well divided on how healthy an approach like this can be for someone -- especially in the long run.

Right now you're probably wondering how a diet like this could actually lead to weight loss. According to the late Dr. Atkins, it's all about limiting carbohydrates. As Americans, we eat a large amount of carbohydrates. These are foods that contain white flour and refined sugar. In other words, most of the packaged foods we eat such as pasta, bread and cereal are carbohydrate-rich. According to the core principle of the Atkins diet, by limiting carbohydrates in a four-phase process your body is forced to burn its stored fat, rather than carbohydrates, for fuel.

In this article we'll take a look at the general theory behind low-carbohydrate dieting. We will look at the four phases of the Atkins diet and what foods the plan allows you to eat. And finally, we'll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the program and what medical experts have to say about it.