Eating the Atkins Way Must Have Special Advantages

You bet it does. Here are six reasons why doing Atkins works:

1. As I've just said, it mobilizes more fat for use as energy than any diet you have ever encountered. In a clinical setting and countless testimonials, Atkins has repeatedly been proven to take off more fat than other programs when an equal number of calories is consumed. This incredible advantage has been researched and validated.

2. The controlled carbohydrate nutritional approach is not one of deprivation. Sheer hunger is the main reason for the failure of most weight loss efforts. A lifetime eating plan needs to be palatable, pleasant and filling. You will have to abandon sugar and other refined carbohydrates such as white flour. But most people find that once they shake off the sugar addiction, they feel no strong desire to go back to it. For them, a nutritional approach that allows them to eat a vast variety of meat and fish and salads and vegetables prepared in the most appetizing manner-i.e., with butter and cream and spices and herbs-is anything but austere. Eating Atkins-style is a food lover's dream come true-luxurious, healthy and varied.

3. Atkins is the easiest way to maintain weight loss. The trouble with losing weight on a low-calorie/low-fat diet or on a liquid-protein diet is that the maintenance program is so very different from the weight loss program. So when you go back to your former way of eating, the pounds return with astonishing speed because you are unprepared for maintenance.

There are sound physiological reasons for this. When you restrict the number of calories you eat, your metabolism shifts into a survival mode, meaning it slows down to conserve energy. When you go back to a higher-calorie diet-as you inevitably must-your body is still in its mode of burning calories slowly. So it becomes extremely hard to continue or maintain weight loss.

Success at maintaining weight loss is the great plus while doing Atkins. What most people know about it is that you can usually lose a lot of weight rapidly. And you probably can. But the key point is that the weight doesn't return. One of the reasons is that it doesn't create a big difference in the number of calories you eat during the weight loss and weight maintenance phases.

The Atkins Nutritional Approach is actually a continuum of four phases that transition seamlessly from one to the next. Phase 1, known as Induction, crashes you through most weight loss barriers and will generally introduce even the most metabolically resistant person to weight reduction. Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), will carry you smoothly toward your goal. Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance, eases you toward adopting permanently a new, healthier way of eating that, with a modest degree of diligence on your part, will allow you to stay slim forever. Phase 4, Lifetime Maintenance, is the game plan that will keep those banished pounds at bay for the rest of your days.

Let me state one crucial fact that you should always keep in mind: For people who comply with all four phases of Atkins, failure to maintain weight loss is very rare.

4. Not only does Atkins not deprive you of the pleasure of eating, it energizes you and makes you feel just plain good. And those two things are definitely factors in keeping the weight off, because few people are willing to go back to feeling lousy once they've experienced the joys of feeling good. As a matter of fact, for about half the patients I see, the most compelling reason they continue to do Atkins is that they feel noticeably worse if they stop the program.

Plus, when you are full of energy, you are more inclined to exercise, enhancing weight loss and replacing fat tissue with muscle, which will also help you cut inches from your measurements. People will see the change in you, enhancing your sense of accomplishment and self-respect.

5. The plan is healthy. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that controlling carbohydrate intake results in improved blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, moderation of blood-sugar levels and reduction of blood pressure. All these indicators result in reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. And, incidentally, in my forty years of practice, I've yet to see a single study that has shown that a high-protein diet causes kidney problems.

In addition, Atkins can effectively and quickly make a positive impact on many of the most common annoyances that patients reveal in the privacy of their doctor's office. In all my years of practice, I've heard and seen it all: fatigue, irritability, depression, trouble concentrating, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, joint and muscle aches, heartburn, colitis, premenstrual syndrome, water retention and bloating. For the lion's share of patients, Atkins is a specific prescription against such ills.

6. Atkins works because, as an increasing body of scientific evidence shows, it corrects the basic factor that controls obesity and influences risk factors for certain illnesses. That factor is excessive levels of insulin. An essential hormone, insulin governs the basic mechanism by which the body lays on fat. When found in excessively high levels-we medical folk call that state hyperinsulinism-insulin vigorously promotes the development of diabetes, atherosclerosis and hypertension. More recently, it has also been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

And so the Atkins approach finds itself at the center of health planning for a long and vigorous life.

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The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

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