What is the Atkins Diet?
Arguably the original low-carb eating plan, it emphasizes protein and fat while limiting carbohydrates, especially those from refined, processed, or starchy sources like bread, pasta, and pastries. Many fresh vegetables provide fiber, and instead of counting calories, followers track their net carbs (the number you get when you subtract the dietary fiber content from the total carb count on the nutrition label). Proponents say the tactic reduces weight and keeps it off by balancing blood sugar, reducing hunger and decreasing fat stores. Developed in the 1960s by cardiologist Robert Atkins, MD, its popularity has remained stable ever since, especially with the recent rise in the ketogenic diet, which forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Dana Cohen, MD, a New York City physician of integrative medicine and the author of: extinguish, worked with Dr. Atkins and shares her favorite Atkins diet foods here. Find out what it’s like to follow a low-carb diet.
Unlike some diet programs that emphasize low-fat protein as a high-protein breakfast choice, the Atkins diet includes the whole egg. That’s because the yolk supplies the necessary fats your body needs for the plan to work correctly. “I’ll dice half an avocado, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt, and then add a fried egg — it’s delicious, nutritious, and easy,” says Dr. Cohen. The combination of healthy fats and proteins makes it a filling meal.