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The Atkins Diet

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In this new weekly series I will breakdown different dieting strategies, the pros and cons behind these diets, who they are best suited for, and practical applications for use in your own diet.  I will also give out a few different (very easy and simple) recipes to try that relate to the dietary technique being discussed.

If you think a diet named after someone is a money ploy well….you are probably right to some degree.  However, low carbohydrate diets have proven to be an effective way to lose body fat.  There are many different types of low carb diets, and the Atkins diet happens to be one of these.  So, does the Atkins diet differentiate and stand above the rest? 

I believe the Atkins diet became bigger than anyone ever expected; and maybe even different than what its original intentions were.  Now go into the pharmacy section of a store and you will find branded “food” items for the diet.  Atkins diet food items range from protein and meal replacement bars to candy products.

Let’s give some background on the diet and what it is.  Robert C. Atkins, a cardiologist and internist, developed the diet in the early 1970s. It first came to public attention in 1972 with the publication of “Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution”.  It quickly became a bestseller, but unlike most other fad diets, has remained popular.  The diet became increasingly popular, and reached its peak in the late 90s and early 2000s.  It had sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, as well as being posted all over the internet. Since then, Atkins authored a number of other books on his diet theme before he died in 2003.

The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet, usually recommended for weight loss.  Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose weight eating as much protein and fat as you want, as long as you avoid foods high in carbs.  Essentially this is a low or no carb diet with no refeeds. 

You may be thinking “wow that sounds an awful lot like a version of the keto diet.”  And I would tell you that you are right, but it’s hard to sell a keto diet.  The Atkins diet was popularized at a time when it was easy to capitalize on a target market for weight loss.  Nothing else like this existed, and not only that, but it worked. 

With all the aforementioned out of the way, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • A major advantage to keto dieting is that you can consume roughly the same amount of total calories and see some weight loss benefits.  For those entering a caloric deficit this is amplified, and is a great way to lose significant amount of weight.  Once the body enters ketosis the feelings of lethargy and tiredness tend to subside.  This is a great way to diet for those wanting cognitive function to remain high.  Typically, when in a major caloric deficit thinking becomes blurred, irritability increases, and lethargy takes over. 
  • Another huge advantage to the keto diet is sustained insulin levels.  Without the fluctuation in sugar in the bloodstream, insulin should stay relatively consistent.  This is great for anyone with pre-diabetes or other blood sugar issues. 
  • The keto diet is also a great way to reduce systemic inflammation within the body.  Carbohydrates cause an inflammatory response in the body, specifically in the joints and occasionally around the organs.  A diet high in fats is also great for overall cholesterol profile. 

Disadvantages

  • For the average person, a diet this restrictive is difficult.  This diet is also hard for bodybuilders, even those in a caloric deficit wanting to cut.  As the body goes long periods of time without carbohydrates, it can become very flat.  Pumps in the gym will become almost nonexistent.
  • I would actually recommend a variation of the keto diet, called a cyclical keto diet.  This means that there will be periods of carb refeeds occasionally, ensuring that glycogen is replenished in muscles from time to time.  This is similar to a cheat meal, but the main goal is to replenish those glycogen stores.
  • The adaptation process can also be difficult and cumbersome to go through initially.  This is the period of time before your body actually enters into ketosis.  Another issue with this would be with refeeds, as with each refeed you are essentially starting over the entire process.  This phase could last as long as 2 weeks, so refeeds could actually be preventing your body to ever actually enter into ketosis.  For a bodybuilder, those refeeds could be very beneficial. 
  • Any diet is difficult to follow when eating out at restaurants, but a keto diet can be even more troublesome.  It’s sometimes difficult to know exactly what restaurants put into food when they are preparing it. 
  • Another disadvantage would be for those looking to put on considerable amounts of muscle mass.  This is a difficult diet to follow while attempting to be in a mass gaining phase.  Calories would be no issue to get in, as you can easily get enough calories with the added fat.  However, glycogen is very necessary to gaining considerable amounts of muscle mass.     

Verdict

The Atkins Diet is a fad a diet, plain and simple.  There are more effective ways to go about planning out a diet, even if that is following a standard keto diet.  This diet is very effective for weight loss overall, but probably not for the weight loss many bodybuilders desire.  The Atkins Diet does not get the Fat Dan stamp of approval. 

Lemon Garlic Shrimp


This is an extremely easy way to prepare shrimp quickly for your next meal prep.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package cooked small shrimp (roughly 50-60 per bag).
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • Roughly 1 cup olive oil dressing product for added fat.
  • 1 lemon.

Directions

  1. Place bag of shrimp in mixing bowl.
  2. Peel garlic and take out a single clove and crush.  Add to shrimp.
  3. Slice lemon in half and set one half aside.
  4. Squeeze one half lemon over shrimp.
  5. Pour the cup of olive oil dressing over shrimp and mix.
  6. Pour shrimp mixture into a pre-heated skillet or wok.
  7. Cook for about 5 minutes and drain the excess water and sauce.
  8. Continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  9. Serve over bed of vegetables or rice.
  10. Enjoy!
 
 
 
 
 
 

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