Dr. Robert C. Atkins is the modern popularizer of low-carb dieting. He was neither the first nor only low-carb advocate of the 20th century, but certainly the most influential in modern history in terms of followers. His Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution was published in 1972 and sold millions of copies.
Sir Isaac Newton wrote in 1676: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Twentieth century giants for Dr. Atkins include Frank Evans, Blake Donaldson (the original paleo diet guru?), Per Hansen, Alfred Pennington, and John Yudkin. Most of these were physicians, by the way. William Banting preceeded them, in the 19th century.
Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, published in 2002, was a huge seller then and maintains a respectable sales volume even now. My impression is that Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., has replaced it with The New Atkins for a New You, which I reviewed last spring. Enough people still follow DANDR that I need to stay familiar with it. Here’s my brief summary of the phases.
Induction or Phase 1
- Limit carbs to 20 g of “net carbs” daily for a minimum of two weeks.
- “Net carbs” is the total carb count in grams, minus the fiber grams.
- 3 cups of salad greens daily with olive oil/vingar or lemon juice OR 2 cups of salad greens and one cup of non-starchy cooked vegetables (e.g., broccoli or zucchini).
- May also eat 3–4 ounces of aged cheese, a handful of olives, and half an avocado daily.
Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) or Phase 2
- Deliberate slowing of weight loss.
- Gradually add back nutrient-rich carbs.
- Increase net carbs weekly by just 5 g, by eating more veggies, nuts, seeds, even berries (this is where the “carb ladder” comes into play, adding carb groups in a specific order).
- Some dieters can even add small amounts of beans and fruits other than berries, until weight loss stalls. At that point, you drop back 5 g net carbs, to your Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL).
Pre-maintenance or Phase 3
- Begins 5 or 10 pounds before reaching your weight goal.
- Weight loss slows even more, taking at least 2 months to lose that last 10 pounds.
- Can now add some starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, peas, whole grains.
- If weight loss stops before goal, drop back down by 5-10 g net carbs, to your revised CCLL.
Lifetime Maintenance or Phase 4
- Starts when you’ve been at goal weight for one month.
- No more junk food, ever.
- Stay vigilant for excessive carbs. You may never be able to go back to whole grains or higher-carb fruits and vegetables.
PS: Gary Taubes reviews the history of low-carb diets in his masterpiece, Good Calories, Bad Calories.
|Sir Isaac Newton|