Atkins Dieting Guide: Supplement Your Diet
Most everyone on the plant has at one time or another been on at least one diet. And all of us have seen hundreds of fad diets come and go. In early 1970 Dr. Atkins release a book that many thought would just be another flash in the pan fad diet, but here we are 46 years later and people like Melissa Milano are writing their own Atkins inspired recipes. The Atkins diet seems to ebb and flow in popularity, but one thing remains the same. People continue to claim that it works and more and more people are not only losing weight, but actually keeping it off.
Let’s take a look at the history of Atkins, their current website and products to see what the hype is all about. In the end, you can choose. Is Atkins right for you?
We will do our part to give you the skinny, but it’s up to you to make that final decision.
How Does The Atkins Diet Work?
This is where a lot of people get confused. Some people think that you don’t eat any carbs, living off of fats and meats alone. Others thinks that it means eating high protein, in all of the various forms. Unfortunately for Atkins, there is a lot of misconceptions around the diet.
That being said, following the diet specifically to the plan is really the only way that has shown to have lasting results. Interrupting the cycle of the diet and not following the strict rules can cause for the body to bounce back and forth, between states. This is generally ineffective. The most important way that the diet works is by following it.
So let’s learn where the diet came from and exactly what you need to do to follow it properly.
The Beginnings of the Atkins Diet
Dr. Atkins, prior to the release of his groundbreaking diet book, was originally a cardiologist. As a cardiologist had reason to prescribe dietary instructions to his patients, specifically that their intake of carbohydrates and sugars be drastically limited. A trend among his patients began to take shape, they were losing weight but not just losing it, they were keeping it off.
One of the many reasons that diets become fads and fade as quickly as they appear is because not every person’s body will respond to the same to the same approaches for losing weight. That was not the case with this low carbohydrate approach, everyone seemed to be benefiting in same manner. Even more impressive these same patients had no success in a low calorie approach.
This made him conclude that the problem wasn’t fat or calories, it was the carbohydrates that people were taking in. He not only noticed that excess carbohydrates were linked with weight gain and difficulties losing weight, but that they actually put the body into a stressed state. Rather than being able to work off the pounds, the body would hold on to them tightly because it was protecting itself from not having enough energy for later. He began recommending specific low carb and no carb diets, that were then refined into the Atkins diet that is so popular today.
What are the Benefits of a Low Carb Diet?
Metabolism is the key to weight loss the key to metabolism is understanding that it will burn two different types of fuel to make energy for your body. It will either burn sugar as well as carbohydrates that are quickly turned into sugar by your body or it will burn fat.
Because most diets are based on calorie reduction they are still high in carbohydrates giving the body something other than fat to burn. Creating little to no results for the person on the diet. Not to mention the constant sugar highs and lows that the body will experience as it is attempting to both store and burn the sugar you are taking in.
When the body is attempting to store the sugars as fats the body will experience a sugar high. When the body is actually burning what little sugar has not been stored, the body will experience a low and you will feel tired and hungry, specifically for more carbs and sugar. Giving these diets little to no success rate.
The Atkins Diet limits the amount of carbohydrates and sugars that the body is intaking so the body has little option but to burn the fat. In this instance, even when more calories are being consumed, the body will continue to burn the fat as it is literally a steady source of fuel. Having a steady source of fuel for your body also means more consistent energy levels that will last you the day not just the duration of a sugar high, as well as creating a perfect storm for less hunger and cravings.
Just in case the forty six years of proof was not enough, the Atkins diet has been tested and proven in more than 80 clinical trials. If you have experiences nothing but failure in the past with counting calories, perhaps The Atkins Diet is exactly what you have been looking for.
Choosing the Right Atkins Plan For Your Lifestyle
There are two specific diet plans through Atkins, the Atkins 20 and the Atkins 40. If you visit the web page at atkins.com you can click on the “Find the Right Diet Plan for You” tab. This will take you through some quick questions that will allow Atkins to personalize your diet plan and direct you to either the Atkins 20 or the Atkins 40.
What is the Atkins 20?
The Atkins 20 is the classic Diet that as been around for decades with nothing but success. This diet is ideal for women who have a waist size higher than 35 inches and men with a waist of at least 40 inches. It is the ideal diet plan for those looking to lose a minimum of 40 pounds and are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
What is the Atkins 40?
The Atkins 40 Diet plan has been customized for those who are looking to lose less than 40 pounds and would like to have more variety to your food options from the start of the diet. The Atkins 40 is also perfect for pregnant or breastfeeding moms.
Get the Help You Need With Atkins
Many of us need to have that tangible evidence. The facts and only facts please. This serves as a motivation for many.
In that regard, Atkins has provided everything you need to achieve maximum educational motivation with three easily navigated tabs on their web page. All available to you for free.
- FAQ: Get answers to all of the most frequently asked questions with regard to the Diet and the principals behind it.
- Atkins Blog: Immediate access to the Atkins Blog where you can learn more about weight loss as well as healthy eating.
- Science/Library: In the Science/Library section you can lean more about the science behind the diet, read articles on nutrition and see hundreds of studies and reviews authenticating the success and benefits of this amazing diet.
Weight Loss Assistance, Tools and Tips
Many people will choose a Diet Plan like Weight Watcher because they have meeting and things to hold you accountable. Well, Atkins does as well, and it is all Free!! No dues to pay to get your group support or tools that will assist in holding you accountable for your food intake and exercise… and all of it is available to you on your mobile or tablet.
When making the Atkins Diet your plan of action a quick registration on their web page will give you access to the following weight loss tools for free:
- Carb Counter: Atkins has created the Comprehensive Carbohydrate Counter and Acceptable Food List and it is available to view or download so that you can check the amount of carbs in the foods you are eating on the go. It is also most beneficial in meal planning to ensure you are staying within your limits of carbs and sugars.
- Meal Plans & Shopping Lists: For those of us on the go who simply do not have the time to plan out the perfect meals this fantastic tool does all of the work for you. Providing you with shopping lists and recipes that will fall within your diet plan that are all easy to prepare.
- Atkins Recipes: If you do have the time to plan then this section will be your favorite. Providing more than 1,600 low carb meals all acceptable and within your diet plan.
Atkins Products Available
Some of us have no time at all, not just those with kids, who do not want or need to be on the diet and need their own meal plans, but also those of us working 18 hour days. For those of us there is a complete line of Atkins products to cover all of your dietary needs.
From Breakfast to Dinner and from Drinks to Sweets it is all there ready to be ordered. What is better than a keyboard to door shopping while losing weight?
Atkins Lift Protein Bars & Drinks
For that on the go need for energy and boost to your busy day, Atkins offers their energy drinks and protein bars. These products have been specifically designed to give that extra push to get through that meeting or dance rehearsal after a nine hour day.
The Atkins Lift Protein Bars are specifically produced with 20-21 grams of high quality whey protein as well as 4-5 grams of carbohydrates to keep you going without the need for that sugar high. The Atkins Protein Bars are not only gluten free, but they are also free of maltitol and erythritol.
Atkins Lift Protein Bars
- Atkins Lift Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar
- Atkins Lift Salted Caramel Crunch Bar
- Atkins Lift Chocolate Brownie with Almonds Bar
- Atkins Lift Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar
Atkins Lift Protein Drinks are designed to be a refreshing burst of fuel for your body, they are colored and flavored with only natural ingredients and packed with 20 grams of whey protein with less than 2 grams of carbohydrates.
- Atkins Lift Protein Drink – Berry
- Atkins Lift Protein Drink – Lemon
- Arkins Lift Protein Drink – Orange
Atkins Frozen Meals
You have either just gotten home from a nine hour day topped with a trip to the gym and have no desire to cook. You worked a nine hour shift, came home and did homework with the kids and then fed them and now it’s time to make your special low carb meal.
Atkins has your back with their Frozen Meals which will not only assist in your weight loss and with the taming of your cravings but they are convenient and appetizing. You may need to add a salad on the side or some vegetables to ensure you are meeting your daily required carbs. But from morning to night Atkins has all you need to feel satisfied with just a quick zap of the microwave.
- Chicken with Cheese and BEan Burrito
- Egg with Sausage and Cheese Burrito
- Stone Fired Cheese Pizza
- Stone Fired Pepperoni Pizza
- Stone Fired Three Meat Pizza
- Stone Fired Vegetable Pizza
- Bacon Scramble
- Farmhouse Style Sausage Scramble
Lunch & Dinner
- Chicken Parmesan with Pasta
- Meat Lasagna
- Mac & Cheese
- Roasted Turkey with Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
- Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry
- Beef Merlot
- Beef Fiesta Taco Bowl
- Chicken Margherita
- Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo
- Chili Con Carne
- Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
- Italian Style Pasta Bake
- Meatloaf with Portobello Mushroom Gravy
- Mexican Style Chicken & Vegetables
- Orange Chicken
- Sesame Chicken Stir Fry
- Shrimp Scampi
- Swedish Meatballs
Even though we have been told since birth that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and with dieting it really is, not all of us like to eat in the mornings. For those that prefer to drink their breakfast instead of picking up that coffee go for a Atkins Shake. Each one has been packed with minerals, vitamins, calcium and protein and are sure to get your day on the right foot.
- Cookies & Creame Shake
- Cafe Caramel Shake
- Dark Chocolate Royale Shake
- French Vanilla Shake
- Milk Chocolate Delight Shake
- Mocha Latte Shake
- Strawberry Shake
- Strawberry Banana Shake
- Creamy Chocolate Shake
Atkins Snack, Meal and Protein Bars
When you take carbs out of your life you may find yourself a bit peckish between meals and rather than grab what you are used to, Atkins suggests that you pick up one of their Atkins Bars as your between meal snack. These bars are packed with fiber and protein which will assist with craving and hunger between meals.
- Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Bar
- Dark Chocolate Cherry & Nuts Bar
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
- Vanilla Fruit & Nut Bar
- Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar
- Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bar
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bar
- Cinnamon Bun Bar
- Cookies n’ Creme Bar
- Mudslide Bar
- Peanut Butter Granola Bar
- Peanut Fudge Granola Bar
- Strawberry Almond Bar
- Classic Trail Mix
- Sweet & Salty Trail Mix
- Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll
- Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat Bar
- Caramel Double Chocolate Crunch Bar
- Cashew Trail Mix Bar
- Coconut Almond Delight Bar
- Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch Bar
- Dark Chocolate Decadence Bar
- Triple Chocolate Bar
- Chocolate Chip Crisp Bar
- Chocolate Hazelnut Bar
- Cranberry Almond Bar
- Chocolate Oatmeal Fiber Bar
- Peanut Butter Fudge Crisp Bar
Just because it is working does not mean that your desire for a nice tasty piece of chocolate is going to disappear. Satisfy your sweet tooth and feel like you have really indulged without all of that sugar intake.
- Dark Chocolate Raspberry Squares
- Dark Chocolate Fudge Squares
- Caramel Nut Chew Bar
- Chocolate Candies
- Chocolate Caramel Mousse Bar
- Chocolate Coconut Bar
- Chocolate Covered Almonds
- Chocolate Peanut Candies
- Milk Chocolate Caramel Squares
- Nutty Fudge Brownies
- Pecan Caramel Clusters
- Peanut Butter Cups
- Peanut Caramel Cluster Bar
Weather you have decided that Atkins 20 or Atkins 40 is the diet plan for you, there are meal plans available to you online. Just like everything else with Atkins whether you need to eat on the go or enjoy making your meals from scratch, one of these meal plans will fit your needs.
- Quick-Start Meal Plan
- Standard Meal Plan
- Foodie Meal Plan
- Quick-Start Meal Plan
- Standard Meal Plan
- Foodie Meal Plan
You have made the decision to start the Atkins diet, take advantage of everything the program has to offer. It will assist in achieving your goals as well as maintaining them and it is all free.
Step One Register
When you register on the Atkins web site you are immediately eligible for all of the free weight loss tools at your disposal. You will be sent Diet Quick Start Kit for free which includes everything you need to get started as well as a Coupon good towards any Atkins product.
Step Two Build Your Meal Plan and Go Shopping
Now that you are registered, login and customize your own person meal plan and shopping list that you can then print out for easy use. You also have access to more than 1600 recipes as well as large assortment of Atkin’s products. On this diet you will never feel as though you are missing out.
Step Three Track & Lose Weight
Even if we don’t want to admit it we all like to see results, what better way to see your results than to track them. One of the free tools offered will do just that, not just your weight but your measurements as well. There is also a meal tracker to keep track of your daily carbohydrate intake. Find nutritional values of grocery items right on your phone while you are shopping or for the meal you are about to order. Activity Trackers are available to keep track of the steps you take each day and whether you are reaching your daily goals.
Get all the support you need
If all of these free tool were not enough, you have a nation wide support group at your fingertips as well as trained professionals to assist you along the way. You have the ability to take part in dieting discussion groups to discuss success stories, trade dieting tips and offer each other support along the way. You are also able to connect directly with Atkin’s Professionals who are there to assist with any questions you may have along your journey. You can even start your own discussion group.
Everyone’s a Critic: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Atkins
Although the Atkins Diet has been proven time and again to allows its followers to easily drop the weight without the hunger issues, critics continue to draw attention to the lack of overall nutritional balance in the diet. The critics aren’t wrong, especially when one is in the first phases of the diet plan when less vitamin heavy foods. Dr. Atkins knew this too which is why when the diet first started there were Atkin’s Supplements available. While, Atkins Nutritionals has stopped producing them, all of the supplements recommended by Dr. Atkin’s and his critics alike are available over the counter and one line.
Should I Take Supplements While on Atkins Diet?
In no uncertain terms, yes you should take supplements while on the Atkin’s Diet, in fact Dr. Atkins dedicated an entire chapter in his original book to that very issue. In fact, the chapter, called “Nutritional Supplements” actually had a subtitle, “Don’t even think of getting along without them!”
In addition to his diet book, Dr. Atkins wrote a book dedicated to the medical benefits achieved through the use of vitamins, “Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution”, as well as creating his own multivitamin formula which was called Atkins Basic #3 Formula, which is no longer manufactured by Atkins Nutritionals.
The bottom line is that the use of supplements while on this diet is absolutely recommended even by the diet’s creator. Taking supplement will not only guarantee that your body is getting all of the required nutrients it needs, but they will assisting in boosting metabolism, as well as thwart the typical diet problems.
Supplements for Atkins Phase 1 (Atkins Induction)
In the first phase of the Atkins Diet no natural sugars are allowed, which means, no fruits or grains. In this phase of the diet is highly recommended that a multivitamin be added to your daily routine. While this first phase only last for two weeks making any serious vitamin deficiencies unlikely, not having the proper nutrients may cause cravings or just have a general overall feeling of blah. A good multivitamin supplement make make the difference in keeping with the diet through the first phase or giving up.
Since many people report being tired once the ketosis (fat metabolism) begins extra doses of Vitamins C and B will assist in reducing the tired feeling. Because you are denying your body sugar you will find that your sweet tooth may be a bit unruly, a supplement of Chromium will assist in balancing your blood glucose levels thereby reducing the craving for sweets. If your metabolism just does not seem to be kicking in like it should, supplements of Coenzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine may be just what you need to to kick start your metabolism into fat burning mode and get you to the desired Ketosis stage.
Supplements for Atkins Phases 2 and 3 (“Ongoing Weight Loss” and “Pre-Maintenance”)
Once you hit Phases two and three of the Atkins plan and being to add foods back into your daily routine again your need for supplements will decrease. However, some people are known to continue with the sugar cravings as well as being tired, in this instance continuing with the supplements listed above would be recommended.
While in Phases 2 & 3 of the diet some people have experienced the side effect of constipation. This is common as much less fiber is being ingested while on the Atkins Diet. For people experience this undesirable side effect it is recommended that fibe be supplemented into your diet. High on the list of fiber supplements is flaxseeds as well as psyllium husk, both of which can either be added to your food or taken in a capsule or pill form.
While you are removing the carbohydrates and dropping the weight there is still a concern for heart health, for this reason, Dr. Atkins recommended that essential fatty acids be supplemented while on his Diet. Specifically Omega 3, 6 and 9. Utilizing this supplement will assist with blood circulation as well as preventing the plaque from forming in the arteries.
Supplements for Atkins Phase 4 (“Maintenance”)
By this point in the diet most foods are back on your acceptable foods list, all that will be missing from that list at this point is refined sugars and other processed carbohydrates. For this reason, the need for further supplements is likely unnecessary. If you are still finding that you are experiencing any of the above mentioned side effects then continuing with the recommended supplements is a good idea.
What about Atkins Basic #3 Formula?
While Dr. Atkins created Atkins Basic #3 Formula to be the perfect supplement compliment to his diet Atkins Nutritionals has stopped its manufacture. However, many of those using the Atkins Diet use the Atkins Basic #3 Formal as a guideline for the supplements and minerals they should be adding to their daily routines.
The formula was packed full of more than 30 various minerals and vitamins, heavy on the Vitamins B, C and E, as well as containing green tea extract, selenium and chromium. The most commonly purchased multivitamin for low carb dieters is Nutri-Align Multivit it also has the most comparable architecture to Atkins Basic 3.
Summary of Dr. Atkins Recommendations For Supplements
While going through the different phases of the Atkins Diet, Dr. Atkins recommended the following supplements be taken:
- Atkins Basic #3 (now that this is no longer available, a similar multivitamin high in vitamins B and C) – This is guarantee the proper levels of nutrients your body needs as well as heighten energy levels and lower the cravings for sugar.
- Essential fatty acids – omega 3, 6 and 9 – fish oil, flaxseed oil and borage oil – These will assist with improving the body’s blood circulation as well as preventing plaque from forming in the arteries.
- Chromium – up to 1000 mcg a day (don’t forget to include any dosage of Chromium contained in your multivitamin) – The Chromium will assist with balancing out the glucose levels in your blood as well as assisting in lowering cholesterol.
- L-Carnitine and Coenzyme Q-10 – These supplements are specially recommended when a person’s body’s metabolism is not wanting to get moving. These two specific nutrients can assist in boosting the metabolism and getting your body into the desired ketosis (fat burning) stage of the diet.
- Fiber in the form of Flaxseeds or psyllium husk – These supplements are specifical recommended for people who while on the diet suffer the undesirable side effect of constipation.
While Atkins Nutritionals no longer manufactures the supplements recommended by Dr. Atkins, all can be found online. The Atkins web page even provides link for easy supplement shopping. Be sure you are reading the labels before purchasing any of these supplement as several of them will contain sugars, iron and will only contain 100% of RDA. Make sure you are getting the recommended dosages and no extra sugars.
What about the revised version of the book?
In the most recent version of the Atkins Diet Book, the mention of supplements is brief. The supplements recommended are a multivitamin that is iron free but contains calcium and magnesium be taken along with an Omega 3 supplement. (Eric C Westman; Stephen D Phinney; Jeff S Volek (30 September 2011). New Atkins For a New You, Ebury Publishing, p.82, ISBN 978-1-4464-5842-6.)
Are there any studies to back up Dr Atkins’ recommendations?
Since the 1970’s release of Dr Atkins’ book hundreds of studies have been performed to affirm the legitimacy of Dr. Atkins’ recommendations for supplementation during weight loss. Here are just a few of them:
- B-vitamins to improve energy and boost metabolism
(Institute of Medicine (1998) Folate In Dietary 1,160 Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington D.C, chapter 8, pp 196-305)
- Chromium to normalise glucose levels and improve insulin resistance
(Anderson RA. Nutritional factors influencing the glucose/insulin system: chromium. J Am Coll Nutr. 1997 Oct; 16(5):404-10)
- Green tea to control glucose levels and reduce sugar cravings
(Julija Josic, et al. Does Green Tea Affect Postprandial Glucose, Insulin and Satiety in Healthy Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Trial; J Nutr. 2010 Nov)
- L-Carnitine to improve insulin resistance and fat metabolism
(Amino Acids. 2011 Jul;41(2):507-15. doi: 10.1007/s00726-010-0770-5. Epub 2010 Oct 21. Effects of oral L-carnitine supplementation on insulin sensitivity indices in response to glucose feeding in lean and overweight/obese males. Galloway SD, Craig TP, Cleland SJ)
- Multivitamin supplements to improve energy levels and sense of well-being
(Nutr J. 2012; 11: 110. Published online 2012 December 14. doi: 1186/1475-2891-11-110, PMCID: PMC 3545984 Participant experiences from chronic administration of a multivitamin versus placebo on subjective health and wellbeing: a double-blind qualitative analysis of a randomised controlled trial, Jerome Sarris et al)
Further Reading and Making a Decision
Ultimately, it is your call, if you want to try Atkins or not. If you have any health conditions, of course, you will want to discuss your thoughts with your primary care provider or nutritionist. However, most people can do this diet without any concerns or problems. There have been many people that have had much success with the diet. Additionally, Atkins’ website gives a lot of suggestions, tips and tools to help you be successful on the endeavor. Whatever you choose, remember to stay educated and consider all restrictions of your lifestyle. If you want to know more, there are additional reading links at the bottom of this publication. This should help you make an informed and healthy decision as to whether Atkins is right for you.
- Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution
Updated edition (2003) of the original book, written by the man himself
Buy this book on Amazon UK | Buy this book on Amazon US
- New Atkins for New You
Revised version of the diet (2010), written by Eric C Westman; Stephen D Phinney; Jeff S Volek
Buy this book on Amazon UK | But this book on Amazon US