When it comes to low carb diets, Atkins is probably one of the most famous. After all, it was one of the first eating styles to actually popularize the low carb diet as a long-term eating solution. It is also one of the easiest eating styles to follow, and it comes with tremendous benefits.
However, that does not mean that there are no rules so long as the food is low-carb. If you’re planning to follow Atkins, make sure that you don’t slip into these common mistakes:
Common Atkins Mistakes:
Not Enough Vegetables
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in the Atkins lifestyle make is not eating enough vegetables. Low Carbs on About.com actually lists this as being one of the worst mistakes that these people make. If you don’t eat enough green leafy vegetables or cruciferous vegetables, you won’t feel the benefits of eating a low carbohydrate diet. It will also worsen the carb crash that inevitably comes as your body adjusts to lower levels of sugar and carbohydrates.
The majority of your meals should actually come from these vegetables. You can enjoy them in a variety of ways. Fresh and raw provides the greatest concentration of nutrients. Boiled and steamed are also good options. Try to pair two or three servings with each meal.
Not Enough of the Right Fat
Some Atkins dieters actually make the mistake of assuming that they should go low fat and low carb. While you should not use Atkins as an excuse to chomp down on sticks of margarine and stuff your face with cheese, you do need to make sure that you’re eating plenty of the right fats. The most important ones are the omega 3 fatty acids. Not only will these fats help you to process the food, they will also help you to lose the stubborn fat. A few great fats include raw walnuts, walnut oil, coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, avocados, and olive oil to name a few.
Too Much Dairy
One of the biggest misconceptions about people that follow the Akins-style of eating is that you don’t have to cut out all the cheese. These often have to go when you start following a low calorie or otherwise restrictive diet.
In Atkins, some dairy products are allowed. However, many people make the wrong assumption that they can have as much cheese as they want. The fact is that you still need to watch your cheese consumption.
While it’s delicious, it isn’t carb free, it’s not necessarily healthy in large doses, and it can cause problems with your digestion and bowel processes.
Sugar-Free and Carb-Free Indulgences
One of the hardest things about a low carb lifestyle is that you have to give up certain things like chocolate cake unless you learn how to make delicious alternatives.
However, that takes time and effort. Instead of giving them up, some people are tempted to get sugar free and supposed health foods so that they can get those flavors that they want.
What they don’t realize is that the foods they are opting to consume are generally full of aspartame and other similar preservatives that can actually hinder your weight loss efforts.
Even supposed diet sodas that are technically allowed in certain stages of Atkins are not a good choice. Artificial sweeteners can actually increase your cravings for real sugar and slow or inhibit your weight loss abilities completely.
Transitioning into a low carb lifestyle is one that has numerous benefits. The important thing to remember is that it is not a license to eat as much of certain foods as you want.
You have to make sure that you are still getting the vitamins and nutrients you need. You also have to make sure that you aren’t sabotaging your own efforts by indulging in sugar free and low carb indulgences that don’t help your efforts.
In the long run, remembering these rules will help you get the most out of this lifestyle change, and it will speed along your weight loss goals and the benefits of a low-carb lifestyle.
Laura Dolson, “Top Ten Low-Carb Diet Mistakes,” About.com http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarb101/a/lowcarbmistakes.htm (2013).