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Atkins diet: What is it all about?

Atkins diet overview:

When you follow the Atkins diet, you learn to control your intake of carbohydrates. In addition to the Atkins diet, you also learn that much depends upon your metabolism, gender, age and also activity level. As you do this weight loss plan over time, you'll learn your Atkinís Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE), which defines your threshold for carbohydrate consumption, or the amount of carbs that you can eat each day without a change in body weight. Your ACE is actually the goal that you will be aiming for. However, you may have to lose a little bit of excess baggage around your waist before you learn how to determine the number of carbohydrates you think it takes each day to achieve your weight goals using the Atkins diet plan.

Your objective will be at first to eliminate virtually all "bad" carbohydrates from your diet and eat as many "good" carbohydrates, as you work your way through the various phases of the Atkins diet. It usually means eliminating foods such as pasta, baked goods, conventional bread and most food items made with added sugar. Even nutritious carbohydrate foods such as sweet potatoes, lentils, brown rice and many other food items will not be allowed until you get closer to your weight-loss goal. At that point in time, many people will be able to reintroduce a significant amount of variety to their menu. This should not lead to going hungry. When losing weight, you should replace as many empty calories with a wide assortment of delicious, nutritious and fiber rich vegetables, and protein packed foods such as poultry, eggs, cheese, meat and fish.


Once you have began to maintain a healthy weight level on the Atkins diet, you will then be able to enjoy some of the foods that you were previously not allowed to have, as long as you eat them in moderation. The Atkins diet relies upon quality, eating highly nutritious fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, nuts and seeds, virtually all vegetables and even moderate portions of beans and whole grains, rather than eating empty carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour.

If you plan to do the Atkins diet for your entire life, things are not quite as black-and-white as in the early phases of the program. Instead of "good" and "bad" carbohydrates, you will learn more subtle distinctions between better food choices. You will find that some carbohydrates are much better for you than others. Obviously, the better and more nutritious foods, will be able to be eaten in larger quantities. Eating carbohydrates in a more controlled way will usually lead to weight loss if you're overweight. The Atkins diet is hardly a crash diet or fad. It is actually just the opposite in that it is a lifetime commitment to good nutrition and improved health, that works well in the real world of family meals, social and business activities, eating at restaurants and even traveling. Not only will you be able to slim down, but you'll also be able to keep off the extra weight for life. If you need to lose a lot of weight, you should probably begin the Atkins diet program with the first phase, which is referred to as the induction phase.

See the four phases of the Atkins Diet

Information from Atkins for Life by Robert C. Atkins M.D.

Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health Psychology) 

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