The seven principles of exercise and nutrition
The Atkins nutritional approach is made up of seven nutrition principles that are designed to help you make the right food and life choices, so you can reach your goals.
Protein provides a powerhouse of energy for the body, building and repairing your muscles and bones while boosting your metabolism.
Protein also plays a role in weight loss or weight management. Compared to carbohydrates, protein:
• Has less of an effect on insulin (which drives fat storage)
• Has a greater effect on glucagon (which drives fat release)
• Creates a greater increase in metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories)
• And, creates a greater increase in satiety (feeling full)
Most people need a protein intake of between 25 and 30 percent of your daily calories. You can get this from various sources: poultry, fish, meats, whey, eggs, and milk protein score close to the top of the list of best choices.
Our Atkins products use a blend of proteins: whey, soy and caseinate (milk protein).
Fibre offers huge benefits to your health, from controlling your appetite and regulating your blood sugar to helping your digestion. It’s considered to be one of the ‘good carbs’ and comes in two forms:
Insoluble fibre: Provides bulk that helps with digestion -- accelerating the process of detoxification, working to rid the body of potentially dangerous and cancer causing carcinogens.
Soluble fibre: By binding with cholesterol in the small intestine, soluble fibre works to eliminate this potentially dangerous substance from the body. Hence, soluble fibre has a well-deserved reputation for lowering cholesterol.
Both kinds of fibre help control blood sugar and slow down the emptying of the stomach so you feel full longer.
Virtually all major health organizations recommend that we eat between 25-35 grams a day, found in oats, especially oat bran, barley, dried beans, soybeans, apples, nuts, flax seeds and other fruits and vegetables. The best sources of insoluble fibre are wheat bran and whole grain products.
3. Low Sugar
Eating foods low in sugar will provide a steady energy level throughout the day and will help you avoid extreme swings in blood-sugar and insulin levels. In addition, high blood sugar/insulin levels are linked to obesity, hypertension, undesirable cholesterol and triglyceride levels and other risk factors for heart disease.
Added sugar is the enemy of any healthy diet. Void of nutrition and packed with empty calories, added sugar is often disguised as high fructose corn syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose. Some of the worst offenders when it comes to raising blood sugar are mashed potatoes, most processed bread, pancakes, virtually all desserts, and even cornflakes. These foods convert quickly to sugar in the body.
If you stick primarily to eating good carbs, nutrient-dense foods that are naturally low in sugar, versus highly processed foods, you can avoid the dreaded spikes and crashes you get from high sugar diets. Instead, you’ll discover steady and even energy throughout the day, meet your nutritional needs and avoid the risks associated with high sugar diets.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are needed for the health of the immune system, the circulatory system, the heart, brain and lungs. They are essential for detoxification, fat burning, protection from disease and for the general health of all organs and tissues. They also help the liver get rid of harmful substances that we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Antioxidants in particular help protect your cells from the constant assault by rogue molecules called free radicals, an assault which can lead to disease and damage DNA.
Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need each day. Whole or unprocessed foods — like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, and poultry — are the best choices for providing the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and grow properly. However, it is a good insurance policy to take a quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement on a daily basis.
5. Good Carbs
Good carbohydrates provide the body with valuable components such as fibre, vitamins minerals and antioxidants while not leading to a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. The New Atkins nutritional approach recommends eating a diet filled with a variety of good carbs -- nutrient-dense foods with few Net Carbs. Foods like fibrous vegetables and whole grains. Good carbs support weight loss, weight management and optimal health.
Good carbs are carbs that don’t raise blood sugar too high or too quickly. The best carbohydrates (like vegetables) are found in unprocessed whole foods that are a rich sources of phytochemicals - including vegetables, low glycaemic fruits such as berries and apples, as well as legumes and unprocessed high fibre whole grains.
Bad carbs are highly processed carbohydrates (refined breads, processed foods, cereals and pastries) that raise blood sugar too high and too quickly. These refined carbohydrates are not only higher in sugar and significantly lower in nutrients and fibre than whole foods, but they also break down more rapidly into glucose and enter your bloodstream far faster than vegetables and other good carbs. So if you eat refined carbohydrate foods, you stay on the blood sugar roller coaster ride of highs and lows.
Most of us consume far more carbs than we need. A good general guideline for a healthy active individual is between 30 and 40% of your daily calories coming from carbohydrates for weight maintenance, though many people can do quite well with substantially less, especially for weight loss purposes.
Remember to introduce these foods in the recommended order (we call this the carb ladder:
1. Foundation vegetables: leafy greens and other low carb vegetables
2. Dairy foods high in fat and low in carbs: cream, sour cream and most hard cheeses
3. Nuts and seeds (but not chestnuts)
4. Berries, cherries and melon (but not watermelon)
5. Whole-milk yoghurt and fresh cheeses, such as ricotta and cottage cheese
6. Legumes, including chick peas and lentils
7. Tomato and vegetable juice ‘cocktail’ (plus more lemon and lime juice)
8. Other fruits (but not fruit juices or dried fruits)
9. Higher carb vegetables, such as winter squash, carrots and green beans
10. Small amounts of whole grains
6. Good Fats
Good fats are all fats which are naturally found in foods; they are not heat processed, and are therefore not damaged. Especially important are the essential omega-3’s, but any fat that’s normally found in food- like avocados, eggs, flaxseed, olives, coconut and nuts can be a good fat when consumed in a healthy diet.
Bad fats are damaged fats. They include oils that have been used and reused in frying. Bad fats are hydrogenated oils, also known as “trans-fats.” Because the body can't break them down, trans fats attach to the arteries and may result in plaque formation, which can be linked to heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer and asthma, as well as other illnesses.
Good fats are absolutely essential for human health. They provide the building blocks for many important hormones and structures in the human body. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are the building blocks of anti-inflammatory hormones.
Most experts suggest approximately 30% of calories should come from good fats. The Atkins Nutritional Approach recommends higher levels of good fats during the first three weight-loss phases when carb consumption is lower. This higher recommended level of good fats is an integral component of the Atkins plan as it aids in weight loss and energy levels. The Lifetime Maintenance Phase recommends 30%-40% of calories coming from fat – however, the percentage will ultimately depend on your individual level of carb consumption.
Being active is, by far, one of the best things you can do for your health. It helps control weight, helps fight diabetes and decreases the risk for cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. It also decreases stress, strengthens the heart, improves your mood and builds confidence and self-esteem. Recent research shows that moderate activity even increases the size of the brain. It’s the perfect “anti-aging” prescription.
Anything that gets you moving, elevates your heart rate and keeps it up for a period of time counts as activity. You can be active by walking, riding a bike, or even gardening for as little as 20 minutes. More vigorous activities include running, spinning and stair climbing. Lifting weights, even light weights, constitutes activity as well – and is very good for anyone of almost any age.
Start by walking in your neighbourhood 15 minutes a day. Finding a buddy is a great way to keep to a schedule and a commitment. Ride your bike or walk to work. Walk at lunchtime. Rent an exercise video, then follow it right there in front of the television. Join a gym if you can. Once you get started on a routine, it’s surprisingly easy to stick with it.
Add protein, good fat and good carbs into your diet with delicious Atkins products.