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The Atkins Diet

What it is: A carnivore’s best friend, the Atkins Diet is famous for shunning carbs off of menus nationwide in 2004. Dr. Robert Atkins details the program in his book The New Diet Revolution where he asserts that a diet low in carbohydrates will help you to lose weight and improve your heart health.

How it works: Atkins believes that overweight people consume an inordinate amount of carbohydrates. Because our bodies burn carbs before fat, the theory is that by reducing carbs and eating more protein and fat, we will burn fat more efficiently and therefore lose weight. Drastically cutting back on carbohydrates puts our bodies into a state of ketosis, which means it burns its own fat for energy. Ketosis causes you to feel less hungry, which will likely result in consuming less food.

What you do:  The major tenets of The Atkins Diet include:

  • Do not focus on how much you are eating, focus on what you are eating
  • No refined sugar, milk, white rice or white flour
  • Indulge in meat, eggs and cheese
  • You can consume fish and feel free to cook with butter, mayo and olive oil

During the first two weeks of the diet, carbs are restricted to approximately 20 g per day (no fruits, minimal green vegetables). As you progress, you are allowed to add fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.

Benefits: The Atkins Diet is proven to help you lose weight as well as improve your HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

The Down Side: Doctors worry that the diet promotes heart disease and may be unhealthy long-term as far as strokes and cancer. The American Dietetic Association worries that massively cutting carbohydrates and depriving the body of necessary glucose prevents the brain from functioning as efficiently as it does when breaking down fruits, veggies and grains.

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