The brainchild of Dr. Robert Atkins, the low-carb craze was born more than three decades ago. Although the low-carb approach has taken a lashing in the media over the last couple of years, there are many advocates who swear by the eating approach founded by Dr. Atkins.
Released in 1972, Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution unveiled a diet that would change the way people looked at dieting forever. Followers of Atkins engage in a four-phase approach -- Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, Maintenance -- that calls for a drastic reduction of carbohydrates with an increase in high-protein foods.
Dr. Atkins breaks carbohydrates down into two categories: favorable and non-favorable. When starting the diet, carbohydrate intake is cut drastically. Favorable carbs are gradually added back into your diet as you progress through each stage.
Once excess carbs are eliminated, the body is sent into ketosis, a fat-burning metabolic state. Unlike other weight-loss plans that draw largely on deprivation and calorie-cutting, the Atkins approach allows dieters to enjoy steak, bacon, eggs, butter, cream and other flavor-rich foods. Foods such as white bread, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies and chips are major no-noís when following Atkins.
A list of "acceptable" foods can be found in most of Dr. Atkins books, as well as on their website. Some of the foods that are acceptable during induction include tuna, salmon, trout, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, oysters, shrimp, crabmeat, beef, pork, lamb, bacon, ham and eggs, which can be prepared scrambled, fried, poached, deviled or in omelets. Other acceptable foods include cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella, Swiss cheese, alfalfa sprouts, mushrooms, endive, celery, lettuce, cucumber, chives, asparagus, scallions, broccoli, spinach and a wealth of other foods that arenít high in carbs.