What I've always found that is so great about Atkins is that it truly adaptable to people with all levels of carb intolerance. Now, with the introduction of Atkins 40, you can start the Atkins program with 40 grams of Net Carbs, which adds even more flexibility. And so far, the feedback from all of you has been quite positive.
I wanted to explore this new, flexible aspect of Atkins a little further with you, as I'm sure you have questions.
Some people have wondered if you can eat other foods on Atkins 40 that you don't on the traditional Atkins 20. No. On Atkins 40, you can eat from all food groups on the acceptable foods list from all four phases from day one on the program, and still enjoy weight loss on a fat-burning metabolism.
On Atkins 40 you will eat:
o More vegetables than the USDA recommends
o Proteins including meats, fish, poultry and plant-based proteins
o Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts
o Dairy including whole Greek yogurt, as well as hard and soft cheeses
o Variety of fruits and whole grains in controlled portions if your carbohydrate tolerance allows.
• With Atkins 40 you will learn:
o The difference between high density carbs and lower carb choices
o How to eliminate added sugars
o How to incorporate healthy fats
o How easy it is to adapt to a low carb lifestyle
o How to lose weight, feel great, while enjoying healthy delicious foods with a wide range of food choices.
You are still asked to avoid added sugar and refined carbs such as white flour. In addition, you should avoid foods that act as "triggers" for you—any food that causes unhealthy cravings and temptations.
Why Atkins 40 Works
As you may know, carbs and fat are your body's two sources of fuel. A low-fat diet is high in carbs, so when you eat more carbs than your body needs, it stores them as fat. Atkins is an effective diet that transforms your metabolism from one that stores fat into one that burns fat. High-carbohydrate diets raise blood sugar, which in turn signals the body to secrete more insulin—you wind up with more fat on your body and a "sugar burning" metabolism. The Atkins diet restricts foods that are known to raise blood sugar and insulin. Limiting carbohydrates forces your body to use fat for energy rather than sugar. And on Atkins 40, you will still lose weight at a healthy pace. It's been scientifically validated that 40 grams of Net Carbs is an acceptable level for your body to begin burning fat as fuel.
Who Should Do Atkins 40?
There are some things to consider before you jump to Atkins 40.
Reasons to continue following Atkins 20:
• You have more than 40 pounds to lose
• You are pre-diabetic or diabetic
• Your waist circumference is higher than 40 inches for men, 35 inches for women
• You are content with food choices being re-introduced gradually, in pre-defined order
• You are seeing positive results with Atkins 20 ("If it isn't broke, don't fix it!")
Reasons to consider moving to Atkins 40:
• You have less than 40 pounds to lose
• You are not pre-diabetic or diabetic
• Your waist circumference is less than 40 inches for men, 35 inches for women
• You are pregnant or nursing
• You are currently on Atkins 20, and looking for more variety in food choices
If you decide to do Atkins 40, and you're not losing weight, what should you do? First, before you assume there is a problem, ask yourself some questions: Are you feeling better? Are your clothes fitting better? (You may be losing inches, not pounds, because muscle is more dense than fat.) Are you still losing, but at a slower rate?
You may just need to continue a bit longer, making slight modifications. These include:
• Decreasing the number of grams of carbohydrate you are consuming by 5 or 10 grams.
• Increasing the amount of fat and decrease protein if you are consuming more than 4 to 6 ounces per serving.
• Finding and eliminating "hidden" carbs in the form of processed foods that may contain sugar.
• Increasing your activity level.
• Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
• Look at which higher-carb foods you've consumed recently, and eliminate for a week. Perhaps you have a food sensitivity.
Even with the added flexibility that Atkins 40 gives you, it's still possible you may have a slip-up here or there, which is perfectly natural. Don't beat yourself up, but don't use it as an excuse to forgo your diet entirely. Make sure your next meal is a low-carb one, and put a little extra effort into planning out some other meals and snacks, enjoying all the options you have from being able to choose from a delicious and satisfying variety of acceptable foods.