The Atkins Diet was created by Dr. Robert Atkins for his wildly popular book on diet, released in 1972. Since then, the Atkins diet has become one of the most popular weight loss diets around the world.
The diet advocates a low-carbohydrate, high protein and high-saturated fat approach to nutrition. Supporters of the diet believe that, if you stay away from carb-rich foods, you can consume as much protein and saturated fats as you desire and still lose weight.
Since the Atkins diet was first introduced, more than twenty studies have been conducted to validate or disprove these claims. In the beginning, health professionals believed that the Atkins diet was unhealthy, mainly due to its support of saturated fats.
However, research has since shown that a diet that is low in carbohydrates is not only the most effective for losing weight but can also result in improved health, such as improved blood sugar levels, HDL, and triglycerides.
You may be asking why low-carb diets are so successful at ensuring sustained weight loss. One of the major reasons for this is that by reducing how much carbohydrate you ingest as well as eating more protein, your appetite and cravings decrease and you end up unconsciously eating less. Further, eating fewer carbs helps to speed up your metabolism, allowing your body to burn calories faster leading to greater/ faster weight loss.
As the popularity of the diet continued increasing, Atkins began marketing nutritional, low-carb, meal replacement bars for the public. These Atkins meal bars are a convenient and cheaper option to assist you to keep up a healthy lean diet. The bars can also be eaten between meals as a snack; sparingly, especially as you begin the Atkins diet so that you do not surpass your carb ‘budget'.
The Atkins meal bars are available in a number of varieties and flavors, each bar containing from two to seven grams of net carbohydrates. This refers to carbohydrates that can be digested and thus influence your blood sugar levels and overall weight.
The bars have a fiber content ranging from three to six grams per bar, this varies with the type of bar you select. This is important as fiber positively impacts your digestion.
The bars also contain sugar alcohols such as isomalt, sorbitol, and mannitol, which have fewer calories. They are digested slowly and do not increase your insulin levels as much as normal sugar.
Depending on the bar type, the bars contain between one to five net carbs and up to 230 calories. They all contain soy and milk proteins. There are currently three types of Atkins bars: Atkins Snack Bars, which come in fifteen flavors; Atkins Meal Bars, available in eleven flavors; and Atkins Harvest Trail bars, available in four new flavors.
The Atkins diet is divided into four stages, throughout which the number of carbohydrates you can consume increases progressively.
In the first phase, known as the Induction Phase you are allowed to consume just twenty grams of net carbohydrates per day. You can get these from eggs, vegetables, lemon juice, cheese, and condiments.
Given that the least of the Atkins protein bars have about 2 grams of net carbs, they could significantly affect your daily allotted carb budget. Therefore, it is best to focus on protein-rich, high-fat whole foods at this stage so as to jumpstart the weight loss process. This stage should take up to two weeks.
The second phase is called the Balancing Phase and it allows you only 5 grams net carbs weekly. At this stage, every flavor of Atkins protein bars can be consumed, but each counts towards your net carb budget.
You can also begin adding back low-carb nuts, fruits, and vegetables at this point. You are advised to stick to this step until you are about ten pounds to your desired weight - unless you do not mind slowing down the pace of your weight loss.
As soon as you move to the third phase, you can increase your carb intake to ten net grams each week. This will give you a little room to incorporate the bars into your diet, although you can only realistically consume one or two bars weekly. This stage lasts until you achieve your weight goal.
During the last phase, called the Maintenance Phase, you can add as much to your intake of healthy carbohydrates as your body can handle without gaining weight. Here, you have more freedom in how you choose to incorporate the Atkins bars into your diet.
Despite these demarcations, the Atkins diet is quite flexible. In general, you should avoid processed sugar such as those found in soft drinks, grains like wheat, vegetable oils like soybean and canola oils among others, trans fats, high-carb vegetables and fruits, starches like potatoes, and legumes.
Instead, you should fill your diet with healthy items such as meats, fatty fish, eggs, low-carb vegetables, full-fat dairy, nuts, and healthy fats. As far as drinks are concerned, drink as much water as you can. You can also drink coffee, which is rich in antioxidants.
Green tea is also a healthy drink that can be adopted as a staple in your daily routine.
Atkins bars can be found in Snack, Meal, and Harvest Trail bars, each is available in a variety of different flavors. Atkins bar reviews reveal that many users appreciate and love the various flavors available; especially Chocolate Chip and Granola among others.
Unlike several other manufacturers, the company tests its Atkins products thoroughly including carrying out some tests on different kinds of people so as to measure the rise in blood sugar. The good news is that Atkins products have been found to be low glycemic for most people. This is also helped by the company’s approach of using sweeteners with little to no sugar alcohol such as glycerin, potassium, insulin, sucralose, acesulfame, and polydextrose. However, the results vary among the diabetic population, where blood sugar control is more varied.
The Atkin bars contain soy nuggets as their main source of protein. Soy protein has been proven to have beneficial impacts on weight loss as it boosts your metabolism while allowing your body to retain muscle mass.
Other pros of the bars are as follows:
Atkins bar reviews reveal some cons, such as:
Atkins advises that these bars do not have seriously detrimental side effects. However, you should speak to your doctor or physician before beginning any new diet regimen. From user reviews, some of the side effects that one may experience in using some of the Atkins bars are as follows:
Atkins bars are a great snack option for you as you diet. They are convenient to consume as one goes about their regular life while also trying to maintain weight.
Before you start on any diet, it is important to clear the pantry of all unhealthy snack and food options.
There are numerous options for vegans and vegetarians in the Atkins diet. You can use soy-based substitutes, nuts, and vegetable oils, depending on your dietary needs.
However, it is important to remember that the Atkins bars are just an occasional snack, and not meant as food replacement. This is especially true in the beginning stages of your plan. Remember, these bars contain carbohydrates and are not as nutritious as whole foods. In fact, eating too many of these bars per day could keep you from attaining your weight loss goals.
You should not try to substitute your regular meals with the bars. Some people advise that it is better to spend your allotted carb budget on whole foods, nuts, and fruits, instead of consuming the bars! However, the bars are a convenient snack option especially when you are on the move.
If you are consistent while following the Atkins diet, you will see marked changes in your body as well as in your general health. There are numerous resources and low-carb recipes available online to help you achieve your fitness goals.