I magine tucking into succulent tuna steaks sprinkled with fried green peppers and spring onion in a rich butter sauce, or a juicy steak, cauliflower mashed with stilton, fried courgettes and a side salad of lettuce and cucumber sprinkled with a delicious oil dressing. If that’s your kind of food then Atkins may just be your kind of diet.
The Atkins Diet is initially a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. It works on the principle that if you cut your carbohydrate intake low enough, your body will be forced to burn fat as its main source of fuel.
The diet is divided into four main phases:
1. Induction
2. Ongoing weight loss
3. Pre-maintenance
4. Maintenance.
During the induction phase your intake of carbohydrate is restricted to 20 grams or less per day. Most of your carbohydrate in this phase should come from salad vegetables and other high fibre vegetables low in carbohydrates so a carbohydrate counter will be very helpful if you intend to try out the Atkins diet.

During the next three phases of Atkins you gradually increase your intake of carbohydrate and reduce your fat consumption until you have reached, and are maintaining your ideal weight.

So how does the Atkins Diet work? The Atkins Diet works on the principle that a major cause of obesity and weight gain is excessive levels of insulin in the blood. By initially dropping the carbohydrate intake below 20g per day, this excess of insulin is brought under control. In addition, the body is forced to burn fat for fuel.
Like most diets, The Atkins Diet has its critics. However, there are a vast number of people who have lost weight and maintained that weight loss with the Atkins Diet. Atkins may not be for everyone and it is wise to check with your health care professional before embarking on any new diet or exercise program.
Yes, initially the diet may well go against everything you have been taught about good nutrition. Many medical practitioners and dieticians believe that the major percentage of our body’s fuel should come from carbohydrates. However, with the Atkins Diet, once you have completed the induction phase of the diet you will find that the balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats levels out somewhat.
Yes it’s true that if you stick to Atkins for life you will not be able to eat the same starchy foods you may have been used to but the main foods you will have to cut out for good are the unhealthy refined sugars and flours. The very foods that are regarded as bad for you even by the more traditional medical practitioners.

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