Many of us remember our mothers or grandmothers going on the Atkins diet, eating their fill of bacon omelettes while we opted for Oreos. Now, for the first time since its creation, the Atkins diet is getting a makeover. On Dec. 30, Colette Heimowitz, VP of Nutrition & Education at Atkins Nutritionals, explained in an exclusive interview how the new version of this low carb, high fat diet works to speed up weight loss while boosting dieters' health.
Colette explained to me that she revised the Atkins diet to achieve five key goals: Simplify the guidelines, speed up weight loss, put more emphasis on healthy fats, specify how much protein to eat and increase the fiber by using the latest science. It's detailed in her new book: "The New Atkins Made Easy: A Faster, Simpler Way to Shed Weight and Feel Great -- Starting Today!" (click for details).
"One thing we learned is that fiber has a minimal impact on blood sugar and is not biologically available. There was no longer a need to limit vegetables to only three cups," Colette revealed.
As a result, the revised Atkins plan requires dieters to consume 12 to 15 net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) that need to come in the form of vegetables. By requiring that fiber be eaten by boosting the intake of vegetables, dieters do not need to take fiber supplements.
In addition, the famous "eat all the protein you want" approach to the Atkins diet has been changed. The new plan provides optimal levels of protein intake at different phases and emphasizes incorporating healthy fats such as "olive oil, avocado, seeds/nuts and their oils and butters," Colette told me.
Part of the benefits of the Atkins diet is the way in which it facilitates fat-burning through ketone production. Colette explained that this results from the low carbohydrate, high fat ketogenic diet aspect of the plan.
"Ketone production is simply the by-product of a fat burning metabolism. Production of ketone bodies is part of a normal physiological process that is a result of a low carbohydrate diet, which switches the body from a sugar burning metabolism to a fat burning metabolism. The benefit is loss of fat and preservation of lean tissue," she said.
And if you think of Atkins as the diet that lets you eat all the bacon you want, "it is no longer the center piece," she cautions. However, certain aspects remain the same.
You'll still follow the four different phases:
- "Cut back significantly on carbohydrates to lose weight."
- Gradually add more carbohydrates, choosing ones that are nutrient-dense.
- Balance your diet by adding more variety.
Included in the new book are simplified meal plans, shopping lists and recipes. Colette also has authored a workbook, "The New Atkins for a New You Workbook: A Weekly Food Journal to Help You Shed Weight and Feel Great" and cookbook: "The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook: 200 Simple and Delicious Low-Carb Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less (click for details).