Research showed that there is a variety of foods which when consumed may speed up metabolism.
The Atkin’s Nutritional Approach
In 1972 Dr. Robert C. Atkins presented his “Diet Revolution”, a nutritional approach completely opposite to what the medical community considered as acceptable.
His theory consisted of the fact that our bodies use both fat and carbohydrates as fuel, with carbs being the primary source of energy.
By eliminating our carb intake and increasing the consumption of protein and fat, we force the body to switch from burning glucose derived from carbohydrates to burning primarily fat for energy.
The body achieves a state of ketosis, where it uses its stored fat to fuel energy, resulting in a rapid weight loss. Besides, as protein needs more time to get processed than carbs, the individual feels more stuffed in less time which leads one to consume smaller portions of food and avoid cravings.
The Atkins Approach consists of four phases:
Phase 1 Induction
It is the most strict phase of the whole plan. Its purpose is to induce weight loss by changing the body’s chemistry to switch it from a carbohydrate-burning metabolism to a primarily fat-burning metabolism.
It lasts a minimum of 14 days after which one should see significant results. During this phase, the carbs intake does not exceed a maximum of 20 grams daily, all resulting mainly from the consumption of green leafy vegetables.
One may consume eggs, meat, poultry, and fish (any kind) avoid dairy products (except heavy cream and some mature cheese) and eliminate fruit, seeds, starchy veggies as well as flour, rice, and potatoes. Vegetable oils, especially olive oil are the main source of fat although butter and heavy cream are not forbidden
Phase 2 Ongoing Weight Loss
During this phase, some carbs are added to the daily menu, such as most of the veggies, berries, nuts, and seeds, while the menu still revolves around protein and fats. Phase 2 may last until the person loses an extra 10 pounds.
Phase 3 Pre-Maintenance
More food, such as starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain cereal is added to the daily menus.
It is recommended to add around 10 grams of carbs every week, as long as the person still loses weight. The phase lasts for a minimum of 1 month after one achieves his target weight
Phase 4 Life Maintenance
It starts when one achieves his goals. It is the new approach to nutrition as taught throughout the previous phases and is followed for life.
The Atkins Approach claims to achieve a rapid loss of 12-16 pounds during the first two weeks of induction, while controlling the carbs intake during the next phases may lead to further weight loss.
The results are more spectacular when combined with moderate exercise (such as half an hour of brisk walking per day) and the consumption of water – at least 10-12 glasses per day.
The rapid weight loss results in an overall improvement of all health factors, such as metabolic disturbances, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.
For more in-depth information buy Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution
In this section, we will provide you with some information on the most popular diet plans.
But first let’s understand a few principles, starting with a couple of definitions:
A calorie is simply a unit of energy, i.e the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celcius at sea level.
Any kind of food we consume is transformed into energy through the complex mechanism of digestion. Simply put, the food we savor is our daily caloric intake.
Our body, on the other hand, spends this energy to function properly, enabling us to execute our daily actions like walking, working, thinking, exercising, and so on.
This “calorie in-calorie out” is our metabolic range which, when low, is responsible for excess weight and health problems.
There are different kinds of food:
Protein: It is the basic building block of life and essential to all reactions in the human body. It can be found in meat, fish, fowl, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds. Many vegetables are also well supplied but unlike animal protein, do not contain all the essential amino acids.
Fat: It provides glycerol and fatty acids that the body can’t make. It is found in meat, fish, fowl, dairy products, and oils from nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
Carbohydrate: It includes sugar and starches that are chains of sugar molecules and can be found in sugar, white flour, and its products, vegetables, nuts, seeds.
We are all familiar with the healthy food pyramid that explains the amount of each kind we should consume every week to maintain a normal weight and a healthy life. Very often, though, we exaggerate and end up overweight, unhappy, and with health problems.
This is the time when we consider following a diet plan. There have been many, throughout the past 50 years, some of them decreasing the caloric intake, others eliminating some groups of foods, all aiming at losing the excess pounds and mostly at managing to maintain a normal weight thereafter.
We will present some of the most popular diet plans that are currently in use. We are in no way implying that any of them is the right path to follow. After all our thesis is that we should seek balance in all our actions, as well as in our nutrition.
In any case, anyone thinking of following a specific diet plan for a significant amount of time, should first of all be fully aware of his health condition and any dangers one may confront, consult with one’s doctor regularly throughout the whole procedure and keep in mind that “Excess weight will normally need as much time to disappear as it took it to accumulate”.
Enjoy your reading with healthy eating and exercising!