All You Need To Know About the Atkins Diet for Nigerians
By Tosin Osikoya, M.B;B.S. on 30/01/2012
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Over the past few decades, the Atkins diet has really hit the diet world with full force. This health phenomenon is based on The Atkins Diet, a book by Dr. Robert C. Atkins. He died in 2003 but his diet is still promoted via books and websites.
His concept for weight loss is that we need to be concerned with the carbohydrates we eat, not the fat. Many people have found great success using the Atkins diet. However, it is not for everyone. Before you start the Atkins diet, or any kind of diet, talk to your doctor to make sure it is a good idea for you.
When you’re on the Atkins diet, there will be little calorie counting, but say good-bye to junk foods and processed foods. You will also be eating few carbohydrates and many foods high in protein. The theory behind the low-carb diet found with the Atkins diet is that by reducing your intake of these foods, you will enter a phase in your body called ketosis. During ketosis, your body will burn fat in the body for fuel instead of using the foods in your diet, which will in turn stop insulin production, which will in turn prevent more fat from being stored.
There are four main phases to the Atkins diet: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and maintenance. We will try to relate this to the Nigerian diet.
Phase One: Induction Phase of the Atkins diet:
It is the most restrictive phase and two weeks are recommended for this phase. Carbohydrate intake is limited to less than 20 net per day (grams of carbohydrates minus grams of fiber, sugar alcohols, or glycerin), 12 to 15 net grams of which must come in the form of salad greens and other fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, cauliflower, turnips, tomatoes, and asparagus, to name a few of the 54 allowed by Atkins.
The allowed foods include a liberal amount of all meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, fowl, and eggs; up to 4 ounces (113 g) of soft or semi-soft cheese such as cheddar cheese; most salad vegetables; other low carbohydrate vegetables; and butter, olive oil and vegetable oils.
Drinking eight glasses of water per day is a requirement during this phase. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed during this phase. Caffeine is allowed in moderation so long as it does not cause cravings or low blood sugar. A daily multivitamin with minerals, except iron, is also recommended.
During this phase, these are the things you have to avoid or take only 20g of:
Drinks (any drink that is not water)
The following, you can have unlimited amount of:
During this phase, your body changes, it burns fats and proteins for energy, thus stabilizing your blood sugar.
The induction phase normally gives a weight loss of between 5-10lb per week if you follow it strictly especially with exercise. You have to find a way to eat these foods every day without getting bored!
Phase Two: Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL)
This phase will let you have 25g of carbohydrate daily. This is hard for us in Nigeria, as we do not usually know most of the carbohydrate contents in our food. However do research of the foods you expect to be part of your permanent eating habit until you reach your critical level for losing weight.
The OWL phase lasts until weight is within 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of the target weight. Most people would lose about 1-3lb per week during this stage.
Phase Three: Pre-Maintenance:
This stage is applicable when you have just 5-10lbs left to lose. During this phase, you can increase your carbohydrate intake by 10g each week to enable you find your tipping point (the point at which you begin to gain) then you cut back the 10g in that week. At this time you can start adding your yam, rice, bread and spaghetti slowly.
Phase Four: Lifetime Maintenance:
This phase is intended to carry on the habits acquired in the previous phases, and avoid the common end-of-diet mindset that can return people to their previous habits and previous weight. Whole, unprocessed food choices are emphasized, with the option to drop back to an earlier phase if you begin to gain weight.
As with any diet, you’ll have to exercise in order to lose weight. Healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, are also important. Many people have called into question the safety of the Atkins diet due to its severe methods, and some say that the plan only makes you bounce back to your original weight as so as you hit the maintenance level. The key is to find something that works for you and your weight loss goals and that is healthy for your body.
Make weight control a priority. Weigh yourself at least once per week, and select a healthy weight range that works for you.