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Atkins Diet: How Fat Makes You Lean

The Atkins diet is just right for meat and sausage fans. Animal fats are welcome on this diet, but bread, pasta, and sugar are strictly forbidden. Here you can find out how the diet works and the risks. Plus: diet plan and recipes.

 It is one of the best-known low-carb diets and promises quick success on the scales: the Atkins diet. When the cardiologist Robert C. Atkins presented his diet plan in the 1970s, he revolutionized all previous weight loss programs.

In his opinion,  carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour are the leading causes of many common diseases and obesity. His motto: Strictly low carb – then the pounds will tumble off all by themselves.

The Principle: This Is How The Atkins Diet Works

Atkins promises: With his diet, you will lose weight, become more powerful, and look great! The positive thing about it: You don’t have to count calories, and you don’t have to go hungry. So far, so good.

According to Robert C. Atkins, the diet principle according to Robert C. Atkins: Carbohydrates are almost eliminated from the diet. Instead, fat and proteins are used.

As a result, the body does not draw its energy from the carbohydrates it usually takes in but uses the fat reserves to generate energy:

Fatty acids are converted into so-called ketone bodies, which serve as a substitute for glucose in the body. If the body converts energy exclusively via this path, this is called the state of ketosis.

The Atkins diet consists of four phases that differ in the number of carbohydrates allowed.

The 14-Day Induction

Diet aims to reduce the carbohydrate content so that ketosis is initiated. No more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day are allowed.

The Reduction Diet

The aim is to lose as much weight as possible. The daily carbohydrate content is now increased by 5 grams per week – until you no longer lose weight. Then the number of carbohydrates should be reduced again by 5 grams.

The Pre-Abstinence

Diet In this phase, the carbohydrates are increased again until you no longer lose weight – up to 10 grams per week are allowed.

The Lifelong Abstinence Diet

The final step is less of a phase and more of a lifestyle to maintain weight. The body is no longer in ketosis, but very few carbohydrates are consumed compared to conventional diets. 

What Can I Eat On The Atkins Diet?

Low-carbohydrate foods such as lettuce (head lettuce, chicory, lamb’s lettuce, cucumber, rocket, celery) and vegetables (including artichoke, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, sauerkraut, courgettis, tomatoes, asparagus, spinach ) are on the menu.

Protein-rich components supplement them:

  • Meat (beef, pork, neck, veal, ham)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose)
  • Fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, trout, plaice, herring)
  • Eggs in any form ( scrambled eggs, omelets, boiled or fried)

Vegetable oils (rapeseed, walnut, soybean, grape seed, olive, sunflower, or safflower oil), butter, or mayonnaise should serve as fat suppliers.

Cheese  (cheese, mozzarella, double cream cheese, sheep or goat cheese, Swiss cheese) and cream are also allowed.

It is seasoned with pepper, basil, oregano, dill, ginger, garlic, or thyme.

There is water and unsweetened herbal teas to drink. Three large or four to five smaller meals a day are recommended. Under no circumstances should bread, pasta, grain products, beans, peas, flour, fruit, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds be allowed in the induction phase.

In the second phase, some vegetables are added (e.g., sweet potato,  beetroot, carrot) and nuts, berries, seeds, and some beans.

As soon as you have lost enough weight and reached your target weight, the selection of your food will increase: Fruits such as apples,  bananas, or mangoes as well as cereals such as oatmeal, barley, or rice are allowed – of course only to a minimal extent.

What Does The Atkins Diet Look Like In Practice?

First up is counting! Staying under 20 grams of carbohydrates a day is not only a challenge for pasta lovers.

Anyone who thinks that salad and vegetables can be consumed indefinitely is wrong. There are just under 7 grams in a medium-sized carrot alone, and onion has almost 10 grams of carbohydrates. 

Carbohydrate-based energizers such as bananas or dried fruits are taboo for the time being. Your day must be carefully planned.

  • So what’s for breakfast? Fried bacon with eggs, for example. Or an omelet – definitely egg. And the coffee with cream, please.
  • “In between” there are cocktail sausages, meatballs, filled eggs, smoked salmon, chicken drumsticks, cheese cubes, tartar, or scampi with mayonnaise dip.
  • At lunchtime or in the evening, Greek salad, steak, salmon rolls with cream cheese, shrimp, meatballs, cauliflower, and leek puree or steamed black cabbage are served.

That Brings The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is radical – and so are the consequences for losing weight if you follow the diet consistently: Fat burning will start, and your pounds will tumble faster than you can see. You are also complete for a long time because you eat many foods with a high fat and protein content.

Benefits And Risks Of The Atkins Diet

One thing is essential with this diet: perseverance. Your will must be strong so that you can successfully master the challenging transition to the ketogenic diet. In the beginning, this includes planning, weighing food, and doing without!

The Atkins diet principle is monotonous but straightforward in the long run. For better or for worse, you will have to avoid sweets and cereal products most of the time later on. The blatant switch to high-fat food can also overwhelm your body first, so don’t be surprised if your digestion has to adapt first.

Carbohydrate deficiency can also lead to low mood and depression. Often there is a natural craving for bread or potatoes.

Many Atkins fans report increased performance, incredible stamina, improved mood, and even reduced sleep requirements.

Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can help with diseases such as infantile epilepsy: subjects who adhered to a strict low-carbohydrate diet saw decreases in seizure rate and severity.

Another disadvantage of ketosis: bad breath. It’s completely normal. The formation of the ketone bodies also produces acetone, which we then exhale and smell foul. 

Not eating many foods can lead to an undersupply of various nutrients. In addition, the proportion of animal foods and fats in the Atkins diet is very high – this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease due to the cholesterol and saturated fatty acids it contains. The WHO also classified red meat as carcinogenic (World Health Organization).

Are you vegetarian or vegan? Then the Atkins diet is not for you! Of course, you can eat low carb and high protein without animal products – but not according to the concept of the inventor of the diet, who relies on eggs, meat, and fish as protein suppliers.

Conclusion And Recommendation

The Atkins diet, which originated in the USA and is the diet most criticized by local physicians and nutritionists, is based on a blanket demonization of carbohydrates as fattening and thus swims against the current of modern, high-carbohydrate, low-fat slimming diets.

There is a risk of an undersupply of folic acid and vitamin B6 with more prolonged use. The fiber content is also far too low compared to a balanced diet.

As a result of a large intake of fat, cholesterol, and purine (uric acid producers), the risk of developing lipid metabolism disorders and gout increases, the risk of cardiovascular disease also increases.

Lose weight or not. The conclusion is: Sick instead of slim – the Atkins diet is not a healthy permanent diet.

ALSO READ: PLANT POWER: 7 PLANT-BASED PROTEIN SOURCES FOR YOUR DIET

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