Fitness is the need of the hour today. It’s no more just a requirement for a sportsperson or a fitness enthusiast. And losing weight tops the charts of priorities for many.
Atkins Diet for weight loss is quite a popular nutritional approach many people follow. And today people also quite famously talk about the New Atkins Diet. But what is this New Atkins Diet?
Well, before we answer that, let’s first throw some light on what is Atkins Diet. This will help us understand the difference between the two and present a clearer picture.
What is Atkins Diet?
Atkins Diet is the brain child of Dr. Robert Atkins, an American Cardiologist. There are a lot of elements to understand in this concept, but to simply put it – Atkins Diet is a nutritional approach that focuses on significant reduction in Carbohydrate intake. This will lead the body to create energy using stored body fat instead of metabolizing glucose for the purpose. This process, known as ketosis, begins when our glucose levels are low. This entire process of burning fat for energy due to low carb intake, as per Dr Atkins, gives one a metabolic advantage. For more details, one can refer to his first book published in 1972 – “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.
The New Atkins Diet
The New Atkins Diet is introduced by Dr Stuart Trager and Colette Heimowitz.
The New Atkins Diet plan gives you the opportunity to lose weight while giving you the permission munch on food that contains carbohydrates. But that certainly does not mean that you don’t monitor your intake. Inclusion of carbs is allowed, but it has to be balanced. One has to understand the concept of Net Carbs for this.
What are Net Carbs?
Net Carbs is the total carbohydrate content minus the amount of fibre in the food. This information can be worked out by looking at the content information given at the back of the food packet you intend to consume. For example – the content on the back of a food packet indicates a total of 5g carbohydrates and 1g of fibre. This means, Net Carbs: 6g – 3.5g = 2.5g. This is important because the New Atkins Diet permits you to consume 20g of net carbs a day in its initial phase.
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It is a know fact that both the Old and New Akins diet are divided into four phases that have various rules regarding carbohydrate intakes, with the New Atkins Diet plan being a little more supportive of carbs intake.
Four phases of the New Atkins Diet.
In this phase the carbohydrate intake is limited to 20g a day. This means a restriction to consume high carb foods like breads, rice, potatoes etc. This is a two week phase where foods like salads, avocado and cooked veg etc. can work in your favor to limit the carbohydrate intake to 20g net carbs a day.
2. Ongoing Weight Loss
The second phase allows you to add 5g a day to your carbohydrate intake. But this is only for a week and should be done till the time you discover the intake of carbohydrate for you, while you are still losing weight. So basically, you stay in this phase till it’s 5 to 10 pounds before you reach your ideal weight. Few more fruits, veggies and nuts may be added in this phase for that extra 5g carb intake. Make sure to still keep breads, rice and potatoes off limits.
This is a phase where you need to understand the importance of long-term weight control rather than a quick weight loss. In this phase, the carbohydrate intake further increases by 10g a day for a week at a time. This should be done till the time you are still continuing to lose weight. The weight loss process slows down a bit than earlier phase, but that is the whole point to ensure achieving a long term weight loss goal. And that my friend, takes some patience, and no haste or hurry. Take care that your weight loss slows no more than approximately 1 pound a week.
4. Lifetime Maintenance
This is the time when all your patience and hard work starts to payoff. This fourth and final phase is not technically a so called phase like the previous ones. In this you should start monitoring your weight closely when you have reached your weight goal. Now you should continue a way of eating a balanced diet with a close watch on keeping a low carbohydrate intake.
The New Atkins Diet scores high on Fat and Protein intake. Due to inclusion of foods that lead to high fat intake, general recommendation from health experts and nutritionists continues to conflict. But we also have to remember that when we say fat intake, it does not means high intake of unhealthy fatty or junk foods. It means reasonably good intake of healthy fats that help your body attain good cholesterol.
Major differences between the Old and the New Atkins Diet are –
A. New Atkins Diet follows a time limit, say a 12 week plan, in comparison to the Old Atkins Diet that does not promote any such time limit.
B. New Atkins Diet is not as strict to the carb intake as the old one is. And it is also recommended to consult a doctor and take relevant tests (e.g. blood test) before starting the diet plan and also after 8 to 10 weeks. This helps you to keep a check on your blood sugar levels and cholesterol as well.
C. More emphasis is given to exercises where an activity program can be followed for each of the 12 weeks. Good exercise on a regular/recommended basis helps you maintain your weight control goals in a better manner.
So, in the end New Atkins Diet for weight loss can be tried keeping in mind your weight loss goals, strict following of nutrition plan in various phases and recommended exercise regime. And most importantly, always remember to see your doctor before you start and consult for any problems or doubts you may face at the beginning, during the phases or after it.