Atkins Diet: How Fat Makes You Slim

The Atkins diet is just right for meat and sausage fans. Animal fats are desired in this diet – bread, pasta and sugar, on the other hand, are strictly forbidden. Here you can find out how the diet works and what the risks are. Plus: diet plan and recipes.

It is one of the most famous low carb diets and promises quick success on the scale: the Atkins diet. When the cardiologist Robert C. Atkins presented his diet plan in the 1970s, he revolutionized all weight loss programs that had existed up to that time.

In his opinion, carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour are the main cause of many common diseases and obesity. His motto: Strictly low carb – then the pounds will fall off all by themselves.

The principle: This is how the Atkins diet works

Atkins promises: With his diet you lose weight, become more efficient and look great! On the plus side, you don’t have to count calories or starve yourself. So far, so good.

The principle of the diet according to Robert C. Atkins: carbohydrates are almost completely eliminated from the diet, instead, the focus is on fat and protein.

As a result, the body does not draw its energy from the ingested carbohydrates as usual, but instead draws on the fat reserves for energy production:

In the process, fatty acids are converted into so-called ketone bodies, which serve the body as a substitute for glucose. If the body converts energy exclusively over this way, one speaks of the condition of the Ketose.

The Atkins diet consists of four phases, which differ in the amount of carbohydrates allowed.

  • The introductory diet

For 14 days, the carbohydrate content in the diet should be reduced to such an extent that ketosis is initiated. For this, no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day are allowed.

  • The reduction diet

The goal is to lose as much weight as possible. Per week, the daily carbohydrate content is now increased by 5 grams – until you no longer lose weight. Then the amount of carbohydrate should be reduced again by 5 grams.

  • The pre-restraint diet

In this phase, carbohydrates are increased again until you stop losing weight – up to 10 grams per week are allowed.

  • The lifelong abstention diet

The final step is less of a phase and more of a lifestyle to maintain your weight. The body is no longer in ketosis, but very few carbohydrates are consumed compared to conventional diets.

What can I eat on the Atkins diet?

The menu initially includes low-carbohydrate foods, e.g. lettuce (head lettuce, chicroée, lamb’s lettuce, cucumber, arugula, celery) and vegetables (including artichoke, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, sauerkraut, zucchini, tomato, asparagus, spinach).

They are supplemented by protein-rich components: Meat (beef, pork, lamb, veal, ham), poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose), fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, trout, plaice, herring), eggs in any form (scrambled, omelet, boiled or fried).

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, walnut, soybean, grape seed, olive, sunflower or safflower oil), butter or mayonnaise should serve as fat sources.

Cheese (Cheaddar, mozzarella, heavy cream cheese, sheep or goat cheese, Swiss cheese) and cream are also allowed.

Seasoning is pepper, basil, oregano, dill, ginger, garlic or thyme.

To drink there is water and unsweetened herbal teas. Three large meals or four to five smaller meals a day are recommended. Under no circumstances are bread, pasta, cereal products, beans, peas, flour, fruit, starchy vegetables and nuts and seeds allowed in the introductory phase.

In the second phase, some vegetables are added (e.g. sweet potato, beet, carrot) furthermore nuts, berries, seeds and some beans.

Once you have lost enough weight and reached your target weight, your food choices will increase: fruits such as apples, bananas or mango, as well as grains such as oatmeal, barley or rice are allowed – in very small amounts, of course.

What does the Atkins diet look like in practice?

First of all, counting is on the agenda! Staying below 20 grams of carbohydrates a day is a challenge not only for pasta lovers.

Who thinks, salad and vegetable can be consumed, which errs: In a medium-size carrot alone already scarcely 7 grams, an onion comes nearly on 10 grams coal hydrates.

Carbohydrate-containing fitness aids such as bananas or dried fruit are therefore taboo for the time being. Your day must be carefully planned.

  • So what’s for breakfast? Fried bacon with eggs, for example. Or an omelet – definitely egg. And coffee with cream, please.
  • “In between” there are cocktail sausages, meatballs, deviled eggs, smoked salmon, chicken drumsticks, cheese cubes, tartar or scampi with mayonnaise dip.
  • For lunch or dinner, for example, Greek salad, steak, salmon rolls with cream cheese, shrimp, meatballs, cauliflower-leek puree or steamed black cabbage are served.

This is what the Atkins diet brings

The Atkins diet is radical – and so are the weight loss results if you follow the diet consistently: The fat burning process is started and your pounds will fall off faster than you can look. You are also satiated for a long time, because you eat a lot of foods with a high fat and protein content.

Above all, one thing is important in this diet: stamina. Your willpower must be strong so that you can successfully master the hard change to the ketogenic diet. This includes planning, weighing foods and doing without in the first period!

The Atkins diet principle is simple, but a bit monotonous in the long run. Sweets and grain products you must deny yourself willy-nilly also later most of the time. The drastic change to the high-fat diet can also overwhelm your body at first: So don’t be surprised if your digestion has to adjust first.

The lack of carbohydrates can also lead to low moods and depression. Often a real ravenous appetite for bread or potatoes sets in.

Many Atkins fans report increased performance, greater stamina, better moods and even a lower need for sleep.

Studies have shown that the low carbohydrate portion of the diet can help with conditions such as infantile epilepsy: Subjects who adhered to a strict low-carbohydrate diet saw decreases in seizure rate and severity.

Another disadvantage of ketosis: bad breath. Sounds strange, but it’s quite normal. During the formation of ketone bodies, acetone is also produced, which is then exhaled by us and smells bad.

Due to the renunciation of many foods, it may well come to the undersupply of various nutrients. In addition, the proportion of animal foods and fats in the Atkins diet is very high – this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease due to the cholesterol and saturated fatty acids it contains. Red meat is also classified as carcinogenic by the WHO (World Health Organization).

You are vegetarian or vegan? Then the Atkins diet is not for you! Of course you can eat low carb and protein-rich without animal products – but not according to the concept of the inventor of the diet, who clearly relies on eggs, meat and fish as protein suppliers.

Result and recommendation

The Atkins Dit originating from the USA, the Dit at all most criticized by local physicians and nourishing scientists, is based on a general demonization of the coal hydrates as Dickmacher and swims so against the river of a modern, carbohydrate-rich, fat-poor slimness food.

With longer use there is the danger of an undersupply of folic acid and vitamin B6. The proportion of dietary fiber is also far too low compared to a balanced diet.

As a result of high fat, cholesterol and purine intake (uric acid builders), the risk of developing lipometabolic disorders and gout increases. The risk of cardiovascular disease also increases.

Weight loss or not. The conclusion is: Sick instead of slim – the Atkins diet is not a healthy permanent diet.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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