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What are the main features of the Dr. Atkins diet?

The Atkins diet has received much attention in the diet world. There are those who swear by it, and those who hate it. As with most diets, it had its advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing for each dieter is to know what the features of the diet are so they can decide if this is the diet for them or not.

What are the main features of the diet?

The most important feature of the diet is to reduce carbohydrate intake and keeping protein and lipid intake high. This forces the body to change from a carbohydrate burning machine to a 'body fat eating machine'. The new atkins diet places more emphasis on learning to eat in a balanced, nutritious way, whilst still using the original features of the diet to get the required results. The diet is broken down into four phases: Phase 1: This is a two-week jump start to weight loss. Carbohydrate intake is dramatically reduced, lean proteins are encouraged as well as good fats, such as olive oil and lots of greens and vegetables. You can also snack on atkins bars. However, you have to cut out fruit from your diet. Phase 2: This is a phase of ongoing weight loss. Here, you start to re-introduce foods you had to cut out initially as you are given more control. Phase 3: You take yet more control in this phase as you are very close to your target weight. You will keep adding good carbohydrates to your diet so that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and reach your target weight. Phase 4: This is where you embark on life-long maintenance of your target weight. You maintain physical activity and stick to the carbohydrates restrictions which helped you lose the weight.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

The main advantage of the diet is the fast weight loss. Another advantage is that with minimal restrictions, you can still eat a wide variety of foods. People find they are fuller quicker, as proteins are very filling. Moreover, sticking to the Atkins diet should allow you to keep the weight off, as it is a life-style change rather than a quick fix diet. There are, however, a few side effects. One of these is bad breath, which is a result of the fat burning occurring inside the body. People on Atkins can also experience constipation. There have also been some reports that in the long term, the diet can cause heart disease, relapse of kidney infections and high cholesterol. The main thing to remember is that to maintain your target weight will always take work and commitment. You should check if the Atkins diet is right for you before starting it.

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