With so many different diets to follow, how do you know which one actually works? Which one is the easiest to stick to? What brings the best results? It’s such a crowded market and it seems like there is a new fad every week. Where do you begin?
One diet that became popular over the last couple decades, and has had staying power, is the Atkins Diet.
What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins nutritional approach, as this diet is sometimes referred to, was developed by Robert Atkins. The idea behind it was to create a low-carb diet, which is a critical part of weight loss. His inspiration was a low-carbohydrate meal plan created by Alfred W. Pennington at Dupont during World War 2.
This diet first gained popularity in the early 2000’s and has had continued success today. At its height, it was estimated that nearly 1 in 10 Americans followed this diet, or one similar to its principles.
How Does the Atkins Diet Work?
The principle behind this diet is that a low carbohydrate diet provides a boost to your metabolism. It takes calories to convert fat into energy or waste, so you are expending more calories while fat burning. Atkins references a study which estimated that up to 950 calories could be burned per day by following his diet.
While Atkins made many claims about his diet, science hasn’t exactly backed him up. A review study published by Lancet in the years following the release of the Atkins diet concluded that there were no metabolic gains from following this diet. Rather, any weight loss that was experienced was merely due to a reduction in calorie intake.
The debate over a low-carbohydrate diet has been going on for decades. Atkins claims have been quite controversial, and it wasn’t until only recently that there was research to support some of his assertions. While his metabolic claims couldn’t be backed up, there was support for this diet in weight loss, at least in the short-term.
There is very little factual evidence to support much of the boasts of the Atkins diet, but through lots of marketing and press, it took the diet world by storm a couple of decades ago.
Due to such little scientific support for this kind of diet, it is probably best to steer clear of any kind of low-carbohydrate diet. Carbs are the fuel that keeps your body going, so depriving your body of these nutrients is ill-advised. Whether it be to get through a tough workout, or just to manage your way through the day, your body needs this fuel.
When it comes to meal plans, there are much healthier diet options available such as the ketotarian diet, which I write about here.