Atkins & Food

It is crucial when following the Atkins Diet that you are very aware of what you may and may not eat. For your weightloss to be successful you must keep an eye on the types of food you are eating, rather than the quantities.

Introduction to Food and the Atkins Diet

Obviously you are allowed the minimum carbohydrate intake on the Atkins Diet. However, foods that you are permitted to have unlimited amounts of are poultry, fish, any meats and eggs. Most cheeses are also fine and vegetable oils. The condiments that are high in fat that are still fine to have include mayonnaise, guacamole, sour cream and butter. While most fruit is out, some are still permitted such as berries and cantaloupe. Similarly you may consume some vegetables as long as they are non-starchy. These latter two categories (the fruit and vegetables) are only recommended in small quantities however, while the rest of the food described here is unlimited.

Foods to avoid

The carbohydrates to identify and minimise as much as possible include the following: cereals, pasta, bread, starchy vegetables, most fruits and dairy products. Some dairy products are allowed (as described above) but foods which contain refined sugars are also to be avoided on the Atkins Diet.

Nutrient Excesses

While often low in calories, the Atkins Diet does tend to give the dieter an excess of cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat. Under the Atkins Diet the average figures for these 3 categories are 924 mg, 47 grams and 104 grams a day respectively. Comparatively, the US Department of Agriculture advises the following quantities respectively – 300mg, 20 grams and 65 grams. The Atkins Diet therefore tolerates, and sometimes even advocates, levels of fats and cholesterol which are twice and sometimes even three times the amounts recommended as healthy by the majority of organisations.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Given the food groups that you must avoid or minimise on the Atkins Diet, you will find yourself lacking in many vital nutrients. By avoiding fruits, vegetables and grains, you will not be getting enough folic acid, Vitamin C or a selection of minerals. It is therefore important that you consider this before going on this diet and also plan the supplements that you will need to take to compensate for this in advance.

Research has also shown that you are likely to only get 4 grams of dietary fibre a day, a much lower figure than recommended.

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