atkins diet planThe Atkins Diet Plan considers carbohydrates the “Root of All Evil” and the bane of weight loss, as well as the cause of diabetes, the bad economy, and the assassination of Lincoln. There are 4 phases to the Atkins Diet Plan – induction, ongoing weight loss (OWL), pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance.

Phase 1 (Induction) is the most restrictive phase of the Atkins diet, and takes about 2 weeks. It is designed to cause the body to rapidly enter a state of ketosis. Carbohydrates are limited to no more or less than 20 grams per day, 12 to 15 grams of which must come in the form of fruits, vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, cauliflower, turnips, tomatoes, asparagus, and salad greens to name a few of the 54 allowed by the plan (but no beans – they are too starchy).

You’re encouraged to eat liberal amount of eggs, all meats, poultry, fowl, fish, shellfish, and up to 4 ounces of soft or semi-soft cheese such as cheddar cheese, butter, olive oil and vegetable oils. Drinking 8 glasses of water per day is required during this phase 1. Booze is not allowed during this phase. You may drink caffeine in moderation so long as it does not cause low blood sugar, or cravings. A daily multivitamin (except iron) is recommended. A normal amount of food during phase 1 is about 20 grams of carbs, and at least 100 grams of fat.

Small chemically reactive strips used by diabetics let the dieters monitor when they enter ketosis, or the fat burning phase. Other indications of ketosis include a sweet smell on breath, and a metallic taste in the mouth.

Phase 2 (OWL) Ongoing Weight Loss of the plan increases carbohydrate intake, but remains at levels low enough for weight loss to occur. Daily carbohydrate intake increases each week by 5 grams per day. The goals in OWL are to discover the “Critical Carbohydrate Level”, learn how food groups increase glycemic levels, and how foods within that group affect cravings control. The 2nd phase lasts until weight is within 10 pounds of the target weight.

During “Pre-maintenance” (Phase 3) the daily carbohydrate intake is increased again by 10 grams each week with the goal of finding the “Critical Carb Level for Maintenance”. This is the number of carbs you can consume each day without gaining weight. This will probably be well above the level of carbohydrates that induce ketosis, so, it is not necessary to continue testing ketones.

Phase 4 (Lifetime maintenance) is intended to form habits acquired in the previous 3 phases, and avoid the return to previous habits and previous weight. Unprocessed foods are emphasized, with the recommendation and encouragement to drop back to one of the earlier phases if your weight begins to creep up.

If you can forget about beer, pasta, bread, potatoes, grains, fruit, beer, corn, beans, rice, and beer (the plan does allow for some alcohol) – then the Atkins diet plan is for you. With recipes chocked full of red meat and fat, the menus are guaranteed to make any red-blooded cave dweller wet his tiger skin.

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