Atkins for Life

Atkins for Life

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by Robert C. Atkins

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Taking It To The Next Level

Whether you've lost weight doing Atkins and want to make your success permanent or you're new to Atkins and are concerned about your health and weight control, Atkins for Life is for you. Filled with advice and tips on navigating the everyday challenges that come with eating low carb in a high carb world, the book provides a simple and

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Taking It To The Next Level

Whether you've lost weight doing Atkins and want to make your success permanent or you're new to Atkins and are concerned about your health and weight control, Atkins for Life is for you. Filled with advice and tips on navigating the everyday challenges that come with eating low carb in a high carb world, the book provides a simple and straightforward lifetime program that anyone can follow. With Atkins for Life, finding your ideal weight and staying there has never been so easy or so good!

Dig in and discover:

-200 menu plans-that adds up to over six months of menus! With controlled carbohydrate counts of 45, 60, 80, and 100 grams, anyone can succeed on the plan.

-125 recipes, including tasty breakfasts, fabulous lunches, delicious dinners, and smart snacks.

- How to create special holiday meals and fantastic ethnic cuisines ... the low carb way!

- Before and after photos and success stories -with time-tested tips from those who've been there and won their battle with weight.

- Self-tests and quizzes to help you meet and stay with your goals.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Atkins, cardiologist and founder of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City, has advocated his high protein/low carb diet regimen for some 30 years (Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution was published in 1972, and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution in 1992). While fans of the butter-eggs-steak diet have long supported the Atkins program as a way of life, until this past year, the medical community has not warmly endorsed the plan. However, recent students show that the Atkins plan has enabled dieters to both lose and maintain their weight loss as well as reduce their cholesterol levels. This book, which can be used by people familiar with the Atkins plan as well as those who have not followed it, offers detailed questionnaires designed to help readers understand the preferred food choices. Particularly helpful are the charts of "eat regularly," "eat in moderation" and "eat sparingly." Some of the inclusions may surprise readers but Atkins offers explanations of which foods fall into the "higher carb" categories (potatoes, bananas, rice cakes) and therefore must be limited. First-person success stories are sprinkled throughout the book. The second half of the book includes a month's worth of meal plans, holiday menus, and 125 recipes for a variety of foods, including jerk shrimp, potato salad, brown rice pilaf, zucchini latkes, rhubarb applesauce and chocolate souffle. While this diet won't work for everyone, especially vegetarians, this guide is a comprehensive overview for dieters who are ready to embrace the Atkins philosophy. (Mar.) Forecast: With national print and broadcast advertising along with a TV/radio satellite tour, this book is sure to hit bestseller lists and re-ignite discussion over the continued increase in the number of overweight Americans and the safety and effectiveness of different diets. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Obesity experts are now finding it difficult to ignore . . . that [Atkins’] diet does just what he has claimed." —The New York Times Magazine

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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7.76(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.20(d)

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Atkins for Life

The Complete Controlled Carb Program for Permanent Weight Loss and Good Health

By Robert C. Atkins

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2004 Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-312-31522-1


The Atkins Advantage

It really comes down to this: How would you prefer to spend the rest of your life:

A. Munching celery sticks, weighing your portions, and never feeling really satisfied with your food?

B. Eating a wide variety of delicious foods in satisfying amounts — and enjoying every bite?

Why would any sane person not choose answer B? Here's another question: Of the choices above, which one will allow you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, enhance your health and sense of well-being, and provide you with the satisfaction of being in control of your life? Did you choose answer A? If you did, we have a big surprise for you — the correct answer is B.

This is not a trick question. When you do Atkins, you really do get to eat all kinds of delicious, healthful foods and you never need to go hungry. If your goal is to slim down, your weight will go down — steadily, easily, and for good. If your goal is good health and disease prevention, your energy level will go up — dramatically — and your risk parameters for a myriad of health problems will decline. So say farewell to the daily struggle of a restrictive diet and get ready to embark on doing Atkins for life!

Controlling Carbs for Life

When you follow the Atkins Nutritional Approach™, you simply control the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Much depends upon your metabolism, gender, age, and activity level. As you do Atkins over time, you'll learn your own threshold for carbohydrate consumption, which is the amount of carbs you can eat each day while neither gaining nor losing weight. We call that your Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium™, or ACE" for short. ACE is the place you are aiming for. But first, if you still have a roll around your waist — or other excess baggage to shed — you'll learn to determine how many carbs you can consume each day to achieve your goal weight.

In the weight-loss phases of Atkins (see The Four Phases of Atkins on page 5), your objective will be to eat as many "good" carbs as you can handle and to cut out virtually all "bad" carbs. This means no conventional bread, baked goods, and pasta and nothing made with added sugar. Even nutritious carb foods, such as brown rice, lentils, and sweet potatoes will be off the menu until you are close to your goal weight, when most people can reintroduce a surprising variety to their diet. Does this mean going hungry? Absolutely not, because during weight loss you replace those empty calories with a wide assortment of delicious, nutrient-dense, and fiber-rich vegetables and protein-packed foods such as poultry, eggs, fish, meat, and cheese.

Once you have achieved and are maintaining a healthy weight, you will be able to enjoy many of those formerly forbidden foods, so long as you proceed with moderation. The Atkins difference is quality. Instead of empty carbohydrates in the form of worthless white flour and sugar, you'll be eating highly nutritious fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and kiwifruit; nuts and seeds; virtually all veggies; and even moderate portions of beans and whole grains.

In fact, when you are doing Atkins for life, things aren't as black-and-white as they were in the initial phases of the program. Instead of "good" and "bad" carbs, you'll learn more subtle distinctions that will guide you in your food choices. You'll find that some carbohydrate foods are more favorable than others. Not surprisingly, the more favorable a carb food, the more frequently you'll be able to eat it. Eating the controlled carbohydrate way will almost certainly lead to weight loss if you're overweight, but Atkins is hardly a fad or crash diet. In fact, it's just the opposite. Doing Atkins is a lifetime commitment to good nutrition and improved health, one that works easily in the "real" world of family meals, social and business activities, eating in restaurants, and traveling. Not only do you slim down if you need to, but you'll be able to keep off those unwanted pounds for life. (If you have a lot of weight to lose, we advise you to begin the Atkins program with its first phase, called Induction.

Why It Works

When you do Atkins for life, you don't count calories, nor do you deprive yourself of a variety of wholesome foods. Instead, you enjoy great, low carb food in satisfying portions. Why does this lead so easily to weight loss, and then to weight maintenance and better health? According to the conventional wisdom about dieting, just the opposite should happen. To answer that essential question, let's take a closer look at exactly what's in your food.

Basically, everything you eat is made up of some combination of three components: protein, fat, and carbohydrates, along with some water and ash (mineral content), as well as vitamins, and other nutrients.

• Protein. Proteins are made of long, complex chains of amino acids, which in turn are the basic building blocks of your body. You need protein to build and maintain your muscles, bones, organs, and other tissues and to keep your body functioning. In fact, aside from your bones and water, your body is made up almost entirely of protein. Complete dietary protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids, is found in meat, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, and dairy products and other animal foods. Plant foods such as seeds, nuts, beans, and whole grains also contain some protein, but these proteins aren't complete — they're missing some of the essential amino acids necessary for good health. Soybeans are the most complete vegetable source, missing only the essential amino acid methionine. (The high heat required to process some soy foods destroys some of these essential amino acids.)

• Fat. Also known as lipids, dietary fats are complex molecules that don't dissolve in water. There are different kinds of fat — some that are really good for you, especially essential fatty acids, and others, such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils that you should avoid at all costs. Oils are dietary fats that are liquid at room temperature. You'd never know it from the fat phobia that surrounds us, but your body absolutely must have fat for many vital purposes, including making hormones, building cell walls, and storing energy. Dietary fat comes from animal foods and dairy products, including fish and butter. It also comes from such plant sources as olive oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and so on. Nuts, seeds, and a few fruits such as olives and avocados are naturally high in oil.

• Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are made from long chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. In general, simple carbohydrates are sugars such as sucrose (table sugar) and fructose (the sugar in fruit). Complex carbohydrates are found in all vegetables, grains, and legumes. When your body digests complex carbohydrates, including starches such as grains, however, it breaks them down into simple carbs — so in the end, many complex carbs become simple sugars. Fiber is one class of complex carbohydrates that your body cannot digest, making it a valuable ally in your weight control efforts. (More on this in chapter 3.)

Okay, chemistry class is dismissed, but now it's time for one more lesson. You need to understand what happens when you eat foods made from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

The Insulin-Glucose Connection

Whenever you consume carbohydrates (or, to a much smaller degree, protein), your body turns it into glucose, also known as blood sugar, the primary fuel for energy. (Fat is your backup fuel supply.) Your body also produces insulin, a substance that's sometimes called the master hormone. Basically, insulin's job is to transport the glucose from your bloodstream into your cells. It also prevents body fat from being released and burned as fuel.

Your body needs glucose, but it's necessary to keep the level of glucose in your bloodstream within a fairly narrow range. If you eat a lot of carbs, however, you raise your blood sugar to a higher level than your body needs. To clear all that extra glucose out of your bloodstream, your pancreas has to produce an extra spurt of insulin to transport the blood sugar to your cells, where it can be stored for later use. The form in which the excess blood sugar is stored is body fat. That's why insulin is also known as the "fat hormone."

When you eat a food that's mainly rapidly absorbed carbohydrates — a candy bar, for instance, or a slice of white bread — glucose enters your bloodstream very quickly. Your body must make insulin and clear that glucose away just as quickly: This process is known as an insulin response. That spike in your blood glucose level gives you a quick energy boost. But the resultant spike in insulin can overshoot, dropping your blood sugar level too low, which then leads to an energy slump. This, in turn, stimulates cravings to eat more carbohydrates.

The insulin response happens mostly when you eat high carb, rapidly absorbed foods. Consuming foods that are mostly protein or fat requires your body to produce far less insulin because it doesn't have to deal with sudden overloads of glucose. Protein also stimulates glucagon, a hormone that counteracts some of the effects of insulin. (It is important to note that if you eat more protein than your body requires — especially with high carb foods — it too can convert to glucose.) When you produce less insulin, your blood sugar level remains constant and along with it, your energy level. The same applies to your weight, if it's already within a normal range. If you're overweight, cutting down on carbs helps you trim down because eating this way flips the metabolic switch. You go from burning carbs for energy to burning your stored fat instead, which is a perfectly normal and safe process. But because you're cutting carbs, while still eating satiating foods, you aren't hungry — even as you continue to lose weight steadily.

Atkins for You

The flexibility of Atkins means that you can easily personalize the approach to suit your particular needs, both during weight loss and for permanent weight maintenance. If you have just a bit of weight to lose (perhaps up to 10 pounds if you're a postmenopausal woman or up to 20 extra pounds if you're an active young man), you can probably achieve your goal weight by starting at 60 grams of Net Carbs a day. If you start losing, gradually increase your carb intake until you stop losing, then back off. If you don't lose (or if you gain) at 60 grams of Net Carbs, scale back in 5-gram increments until you do start to drop pounds. However, if you have a significant amount to lose or experience difficulty losing, you should probably start with the first phase of Atkins, known as Induction.

Pregnant and nursing women should not follow any of the weight loss phases of Atkins but can safely follow the Lifetime Maintenance phase, which is the subject of this book, under the guidance of their doctor. Anyone who is losing weight should do so under the supervision of a doctor. This is especially true for anyone aged eighteen or younger as well as the elderly. Exercise is an important element of the Atkins approach, and here too the plan can easily be modified to accommodate your level of physical fitness, even if it's very low or limited by a health problem. Likewise, you should discuss any significant increase in activity level with your physician.

A Permanent Lifestyle

The true test of a successful dietary approach isn't just how quickly and easily you lose weight, it's whether you can keep it off once you've reached your goal weight. Here's where the controlled carbohydrate approach really pays off. Once you know exactly how many grams of carbs you can eat each day, you have the tool that allows your weight to remain constant. Based upon your age, gender, metabolism, and level of physical activity, you will have established your personal ACE.

Moreover, when doing Atkins, you concentrate on whole foods that still have all their nutritional content. On the standard American diet (SAD), you get junk food that's been stripped of its nutritional value. On Atkins you get foods that satisfy your hunger and nourish your body. The SAD foods feed your sugar addiction, raise your insulin level, and make you gain weight even as they leave you hungry and malnourished. With the deck stacked so clearly in favor of Atkins, is there any reason not to give it a try? In the next chapter, you'll learn how cutting down on carbohydrates can improve some common but serious health problems.

The Trip of a Lifetime

A terrible family vacation motivated Roseanne clampet to say "bon voyage" to her extra pounds.

A few months ago, I went to Orlando, Florida, on vacation. It wasn't until I was in one of the theme parks that it hit me: The last time I was there, in 1990, I'd been miserable! Twelve years ago I weighed 210 pounds and was so tired, After uncomfortably hot, and physically weak from carrying all that weight on my 5 -foot 3-inch frame that I couldn't keep up with my kids. I just wanted to get back on a plane and go home to New York.

During that vacation, I never told anyone how miserable I was. I didn't want to ruin the family's trip, so I just carried on for their sakes. But when I finally got home, I broke down in tears. I couldn't take being that heavy any longer.

It seems strange to say, but I had never had a weight problem before. I never worried about what I ate because I was just naturally thin. But after the birth of my first child, I had surgery to correct an intestinal obstruction. I'm convinced that something about that surgery changed my metabolism, because even though my eating habits didn't change, I started to gradually gain weight until I had a serious problem. Fortunately, I didn't have any other health issues and my cholesterol and blood pressure were normal.

I started doing Atkins in June of 1990. By November, I was down 50 pounds! I stayed on Induction the whole time because I was comfortable with it and I wanted to continue to lose weight rapidly, which was what kept me motivated.

I did cheat a few times. Even though I didn't keep potato chips and cola in the house, I craved them so much that I actually went out and bought them! I managed to get back on track each time by remembering Dr. Atkins' advice not to beat myself up over the mistakes. I'd feel bad but not guilty. And the weight kept coming off. If you cheat, you're only cheating yourself. I know lots of people who say, "I had to eat the cake because it was a birthday party." That's ridiculous! No one ties you down and forces you to eat.

Two years ago, I took up power walking. I had always hated exercise and just didn't have the energy. When I got home from work, I'd collapse. Now, I go for an hour-long walk about four times a week. I think it's really helped me stay healthy and maintain my weight loss.

I've also made some lasting changes in my eating habits. I no longer eat sugar of any kind, but I do sometimes have pasta or bread. The many new controlled carb and sugar-free products out there make it really easy to eat well and keep off the weight. I can't believe I can have (low carb) chocolate bars now!

About five years ago, when my mother died, I started age 50 to eat for comfort and to soothe my stress. Of course, I height: 5 feet 3 inches regained some of the weight I had lost. When I finally weight before: 210 pounds was able to focus on my own health, I went back on Induction and lost the extra weight. I've been doing fine ever since.

In fact, I'm more than fine. I have lots of energy and started doing. Atkins: June 1990 feel great. On my recent trip to Florida, I visited three theme parks in one day. I would never have been able to do that before Atkins. I even wore a bathing suit without a T-shirt!

My daily routines are more effortless, too. I bound up the steps to work without huffing and puffing. When I see the train at the subway platform, I run for it. I used to just let it pull away.


Excerpted from Atkins for Life by Robert C. Atkins. Copyright © 2004 Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Robert C. Atkins, M.D., was the founder and medical chair of The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City. A 1951 graduate of the University of Michigan, Dr. Atkins received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical School in 1955, and went on to specialize ze in n cardiology. He was the bestselIing author of Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and Dr. Atkins' Age-Defying Diet and was the chairman of the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation.

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