By Jeff Clemetson
When Dr. Robert Atkins first published his low-carb diet book, he took a bold approach and titled it “The Diet Revolution.” In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins was one of just a handful of doctors who pushed for a diet low in carbohydrates instead of a diet low in fat and calories. In his follow-up to that book, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution,” his story is that of a David beating Goliath. With ten more years of research to back his once outrageous claims of high fat diets being good for weight loss, Atkins writes with a confidant flourish that pushes his findings and strengthens his, and those who follow his diets, resolve for healthy eating.
Today, there are many diet books that push for an end to high carbohydrate consumption and push for more proteins and fat, but few are as well-researched, thoroughly-informative and as long to read. If you are looking for a simple low-carb diet book with few guidelines, then this might not be the best book to start with. However, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” is probably the best book of its kind because it covers such a broad range of health issues related to diet. Chapters on supplements, exercise, possible health issues as well as the vast scientific information may get in the way of offering simple guidelines and recipes to follow, but it is hard to fault an author who had to prove his diet assumptions to a medical community that refused to believe that the low-fat approach was wrong for people. Ultimately, the overwhelming information is valuable enough to keep in the book for later reference, even if most readers would be best suited to skip over it and go straight to the diets guidelines and recipes.
The important chapters in “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution,” of course, deal with the diet’s plan – a four phase approach to weening yourself off eating carbohydrates and sugars and replacing them with more proteins and fats. Each phase’s guidelines are explained in both how they are to be done and also why they work. The obligatory stories of people who have had success with the diet pepper the informative sections about the phases and are meant to give the reader more encouragement to stick to the diet plan. These examples are taken from Dr. Atkins’ years of treating patients for obesity, diabetes and heart conditions and give credence to the diet’s approach. The scientific information about what happens in the body during each phase is even more convincing. Dr. Atkins backs his diet’s claims with his own solid research as well as studies by other doctors which are cited in the book. If you are looking to be convinced about whether this diet works or if it is just a fad, the research in the book is very compelling and probably the main reason why “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” is a New York Times bestseller.
After the sections on the phases of the diet, the book gets into the other aspects of Dr. Atkins’ weight loss approach. There are whole sections dealing with vitamin supplements, nutrients and herbal remedies for diseases commonly treated with pharmaceutical medications. There is also a whole section devoted to the benefits of exercise. Again, these sections are saturated with research and cited studies that back D. Atkins’ nutritional plan. In these sections, he stresses the idea of living healthy, not just eating healthy.
Finally, no diet book would be complete without a handy recipe section and “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” has quite an extensive one. The recipes are divided into categories of food types – meats, fish, eggs vegetables, salad dressings and even deserts. They are extremely varied and appealing. Burgundy beef stew, lamb chops with mustard stew, creamy red cabbage slaw, molten chocolate cakes and zucchini nut bread are just a few examples of the recipes found in the book.
The Atkins diet may not be the perfect diet as only time and even more extensive research will conclude what is the best approach to healthy eating, but for those who are thinking about trying a low-carb diet, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” is a must read, even if you ultimately decide that following another low-carb diet approach is easier.
The Atkins diet at a glance
The Atkins diet is a four phase plan meant to lower a person’s addiction to sugars and carbohydrates. It is not a crash diet and is supposed to be followed for life. The following are some of the basic principles of the diet.
The four phases of Atkins:
The first phase of the Atkins diet is the induction phase. During this phase carbohydrates and sugars are almost entirely eliminated from the diet. This is designed to force the body to burn its excess fat for energy instead of using the quickly available energy found in carbohydrates and sugars. Before and during induction, blood tests for cholesterol triglycerides and blood sugar levels are taken so they may be compared to later results to track the success of the diet.
The second phase of Atkins is called the ongoing weight loss phase, or OWL. During this phase, carbs are slowly added to the diet as long as weight loss is still occurring. The OWL phase lasts as long as it takes for a person to reach his/her target weight as predetermined by what would be a healthy weight for an individual’s height and age.
The pre-maintenance phase is the third phase of the diet. During this phase the dieter is to add carbs until weight loss stops or even weight gains are noticeable. Once weight loss has stopped, the dieter should know how many grams of carbohydrates he/she can safely consume and maintain his/her desired weight. This phase also lets the dieter experiment with different kinds of carbs to see what makes him/her feel the best.
The final phase is lifetime maintenance. When a dieter has achieved this phase he/she knows what carbs and how many he/she can safely consume and is able to effortlessly stick to a meal plan that keeps the weight at a desired level.
Other aspects of Atkins
The Atkins diet is part of a broader system called the Atkins Nutritional Approach. Cutting out junk food and excess carbs is only part of the solution to healthy weight. Atkins also stresses exercise – at least 20 to 40 minutes a day of anything that will get the heart pumping more. Also, a vast array of vitamin and mineral supplements are suggested in addition to using more natural cures for basic ailments rather than pharmaceutical drugs.