The Atkins diet has been around for quite a while. It was first introduced in the late 1970s and has been popular ever since. If anything, its popularity has increased over the last few years because of the current interest in low-fat diets. That’s because many dieters are disappointed with the results of the low-fat diets and so they are looking for another solution. As a result, Dr. Atkins has found a new audience for his diet plan. Because so many people are now following the diet, it is important to outline the basic principles of this diet.
It is rooted in Dr. Atkins’ theory about what makes people fat. He says that consuming too many carbohydrates and simple sugars will cause weight gain. According to him, people gain weight because of the way their body processes carbohydrates rather than the amount of calories and fat that they consume. He believes that most people who are overweight suffer from ‘insulin resistance.’ In other words, their cells do not process glucose well.
When too many sugars and carbohydrates are consumed, the body realizes that blood sugar levels have risen. Insulin is then released from the pancreas to force the liver to store the excess sugar as glycogen in muscle cells and the liver. They will be held in reserve for use as extra energy later. The problem is that the body is limited as to how much glocogen it can store at one time. So, when the body reaches its storage limits, any carbohydrates that are left over are stored as fat. That’s why you get fat when you eat too many carbohydrates. This scenario is true for most people.
However, for people who are insulin resistant, the process is different. Their bodies do not use and store excess carbohydrates efficiently. Furthermore, the more insulin that is released into the body, the more resistant it becomes. That means the pancreas will be overworked and cells will become insulin resistant. This is a result of cells protecting themselves from the effects of high doses of insulin. In effect, they are creating more fat and less glycogen.
This process creates the problem for people who are insulin resistant. Their bodies simply cannot help converting carbohydrates into fat rather than energy. There are also other side effects such as brain fog, fatigue, low blood sugar, sleepiness, depression, intestinal bloating and increased blood glucose levels. This is why you face even more serious problems if you are insulin resistant.
The best diet for insulin resistant people is one that restricts carbohydrates. The Atkins diet is one that is designed around limiting all kinds of carbohydrates. It restricts simple sugars (sweets) and complex carbohydrates (breads). Even the carbohydrates that are usually considered healthy such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and oatmeal are restricted with the Atkins diet.
Carbohydrates are limited to less than 40 grams per day which will put the body into a state of ketosis. That means the body will burn fat as fuel. Dr. Atkins says that being in this state of ketosis will also affect the production of insulin and the formation of more fat. The body will then use the stored fat for fuel and weight will be lost.
Another of the major benefits of following the Atkins plan is that being in a state of ketosis will end carbohydrate cravings. So, if you have been craving carbohydrates, you will no longer do so.
When someone is just beginning the Atkins diet plan, the rules are strict. The idea is that you will learn how to restore balance to your diet. After the first days of the diet, you will be able to reintroduce small amounts of carbohydrate until you have reached a balance between your carbohydrate intake and your optimal health.
Over the years, there have been many other low carbohydrate diets that are based on the Atkins plan. But the original Atkins plan is still very popular and has been shown to be effective, particularly for people who are insulin resistant.