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The Early Days of The Atkins Diet

by Ruth Venner
(Jersey City, NJ, USA)

I started this diet as part of an overall health improvement and weight loss program with my doctor in New York City. At the time, low carbohydrate diets were virtually unknown.

I asked the adults in my family to either join me, or at least prepare foods that I could eat or go to restaurants that served foods I could eat.

The Atkins Diet, as most people now know, requires the complete elimination of carbohydrates for about a two week introductory period, and a moderate restriction for most of the balance of the diet.

I purchased the urinary test strip Ketostix needed to indicate my body was in a state of "ketosis," and, after the first three days, had the correct reading to start the process.

I purchased the books Dr. Atkins wrote and followed the program pretty faithfully. I lost approximately three to four pounds a week while I was on this diet, which, for me, consisted mainly of salad with olive oil and a bit of salt, vegetables, and plenty of meat, chicken and fish.

No carbohydrates or sugars were allowed.

As weeks wore on, I added mostly vegetables, and, eventually a bit of rice, potatoes, and other "healthy" carbohydrates.

Initially, the sugar and carbohydrate cravings were intense. However, as you are allowed fats on the diet, the hunger is somewhat abated. And, you are allowed to eat as much of the permitted foods as you wish, so you do not feel hungry.

I ate quite a bit in the beginning, until the carbohydrate cravings abated. At that point, I grew used to eating my hamburgers with mayonnaise and tomato, and a small salad as staple fare.

The diet was also meant to help people with heart conditions. I lost a total of 30 pounds on the diet before abandoning it, as I felt it would not be healthy for me to continue the heavy protein and fat laden meals.

It turns out that I was right to do so, as I understand Dr. Atkins died of a heart attack.

Dr. Atkins modified the diet several times. I believe recent research has shown that, while restriction of carbohydrates may help lose weight, your diet should contain complex carbohydrates rather than none and essential fatty acids or monosaturated fats rather than saturated fats.

My current diet is more balanced, and I am working my way to a more vegetarian lifestyle.

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