Tag Archives: Dr. Robert Atkins

Learning how to get started on lowcarb/keto.

OK, you’ve decided to try lowcarb/keto to deal with some health problems or some weight you want to lose. If you are like most people, your biggest stumbling block will not be a lack of ‘willpower’ but a lack of information.


Diet product marketers love that lack of information. Big marketers use ignorance to sell vast numbers of products to deluded people— like those ‘keto’ pills that contain a tiny amount of MCT oil, and the claim is that if you take those pills, you can still eat loads of carbs and stay in ketosis. 


There are also the pathetic mini-marketers, many of whom seem to live in India, who spam social media groups on MeWe, Gab, and the anti-free-speech social medium with F and B in the name. They will sell you ‘keto’ meal plans and fast weight loss gimmicks and self-published ‘keto’ recipe books with non-functional recipes full of typos. OK, folks, real businessmen with a product to sell don’t spam online groups to get free advertising. 


How do you get real information? From actual books, most of which will be published by actual publishers. The best authors are doctors who have become known in the keto community. Some non-doctors like Jimmy Moore and Dana Carpender are useful as well.


The problem with getting your initial infomation on lowcarb/keto from podcasts, web sites, spammers, or self-published spam books is that anyone out there can make podcasts, web sites, spam posts in groups, and so on. They can put up wrong information if they want to, too. I remember encountering some one that had a book out about carnivore, who demanded that his followers in a social media group accept his theory that a carnivore having a hard time losing weight should cut the fat from his diet. I pointed out the Kekwick and Pawan study of 1957, but that person didn’t seem to think it applied as much as his own personal authority did.


I am not a medical doctor or a ‘diet’ guru or an experimental scientist. I’m just someone who has found out about lowcarb/keto and used it for blood sugar control and weight loss. Since I’m decently well-educated and have read loads of books about lowcarb and about diet and health in general, I’d really like to help others get correct information, too.
So— I’m starting a series on this blog. We are going to study the book ‘Doctor Atkins’ Diet Revolution’ and apply some of the things we learn to our lives. 


To participate, you will have to buy a copy of ‘Doctor Atkins’ Diet Revolution,’ which was published in 1972. You can get it as a mass-market paperback from Amazon or other online retailers, or you may be able to get a copy from a used book store if you have one where you live. I got my copy of the book from a thrift shop years ago. 


Dr. Atkins later wrote ‘Doctor Atkins New Diet Revolution’ in 1992. This book is a useful book, it advocates for the same eating plan, and I own a couple of copies of that book as well. But it’s not the exact text we are going to be talking about. Do consider the book an officially encouraged secondary textbook, however.


When you get your Atkins book, start out by reading it. If you are a big reader like me, you will dash through it the first time, and may need to read some of it over again to catch some important points. If you are not big on reading, if you don’t consider yourself good at reading, start at the beginning and read a chapter a day or a section a day until you get through. Read at your own pace. If you have the book on Kindle you can easily highlight anything that seems important or that you might want to read again later.


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Are you on board with joining us in this look at Atkins? Say so in a comment on this blog, then order the book, and read it when it arrives to get yourself basically oriented as to what Atkins and the lowcarb/ketogenic way are really all about. The next post in this blog series will come along in about a week.

Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet vs Atkins Induction #keto #lowcarb

How does the Ketogenic Mediterranean ‘Diet’ by Steve Parker MD compare with Atkins Induction?
Atkins Induction allows 20 grams of net carbs per day. (Net carbs = total carbs – fiber.) The KMD allows 20-40 grams of carbs per day. If you do closer to th 40 than the 20, you may have problems getting into ketosis (check your Ketonix, test strips or blood ketone meter.)


KMD allows 14 oz. of vegetables a day (400 g.) Atkins Induction allows 2 cups of salad and 3/4 cup of cooked low-carb vegetables (probably 1 cup fresh.) I think this comes pretty much to the same amount. Two cups of salad is 4 net carbs if it’s lettuce, about 1 net carb if it’s alfalfa sprouts. 1 cup of green beans is about 5 net carbs. So, let’s say on both plans we may get around 9 net carbs from our veggies.


KMD allows 3 oz. of cheese, Original Atkins allowed 4 oz. and New Atkins made cheese a ‘free food.’ 1 oz, which is one slice of cheese, is a ‘trace’ of carbs for most cheeses and 2 g of Swiss cheese. So let’s say 3 net carbs for KMD and 4 or more for Atkins Induction.


KMD allows 1 oz of nuts-and-seeds daily. Atkins doesn’t allow nuts on Induction. 1 oz of pecans is 1 net carb, walnuts or macadamias are 2 net carbs, and peanuts are 3 net carbs. 


KMD allows 6-12 oz. of table wines, red or white, such as Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio. These are all 1 gram of carb per oz, so this is an addition of 6-12 grams of carbs. (I only drink 2 oz to a glass and have the wine at my two meals.)


So— following the KMD may add as much as 15 grams of carbs from items not allowed in Atkins Induction. Now, among the carb-containing foods allowed on both, you may not be getting 20 full grams of carbs from just those items. I would advise keeping a food diary and checking up at least on the carb-containing foods you eat. If you are close to 20 grams even with the addition of a little nuts-and-seeds and a little wine, that is great.


If your net carb grams are creeping along toward the 40, check to see what you are doing too much of. I would cut back on the wine amount if you are doing the full 12 oz, rather than, say, cutting out one of the daily salads. 


I like the KMD as it is a nice change from doing Atkins at Induction or near-induction levels for years. I find I like having a bit of wine with my meals— when I finish my wine, I feel more like I’ve had a real meal and am finished. 


The KMD also insists that you have a daily serving of fish. Mine is mostly canned tuna, which I have for lunch prepared into one of two different recipes, one a low-carb ‘tuna casserole’ and the other a ‘tuna loaf.’ (I add my nut ration, in pecan or walnut pieces, into the tuna recipe.)


Sources: 

Parker, Steve, MD – Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, 2011.Atkins, Robert C., MD — Dr Atkins Diet Revolution, 1972.Atkins, Robert C., MD and Gare, Fran – Dr Atkins New Diet Cookbook, 1994.
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Why Original Atkins is Best

I’ve been doing the low-carb thing for over 20 years now. It started when I bought the original Dr Atkins Diet Revolution in a thrift shop. I had heard bad things about Atkins, but I was desperate to lose some weight, and figured I could just quit when I became thinner.

I never did quit. My goals changed when I saw low-carb/keto helped with health problems. I managed to accumulate many other Atkins books, as well as others about our way-of-eating.

I liked the original Atkins the best. In the time when that book was written, few folks had access to specialty grocery stores and specialty foods. Atkins knew most followers would be limited to the foods they could get in a regular grocery. Big city people don’t realize it, but many people have similar limitations even today.

Original Atkins was also free of the Atkins corporation which had not been started yet. Later Atkins books feature recipes calling for Atkins brand ingredients, some of which are no longer made, others which are not available in all areas.

I am troubled how the current Atkins products brag about their low ‘sugar carbs’ on their labels. We don’t count ‘sugar carbs’ on Original Atkins but carbs. They also talk about their protein content and never mention fat. Well, a corporation is a life form that lives to sell product. We can’t expect it to do anything that would hurt sales.

Another difference is that Later Atkins has you counting ‘net carbs.’ This tends to reward people for eating high fiber foods. In Original Atkins you just counted carbs, and so you couldn’t exactly chomp down two heads of lettuce at a meal, or use a high fiber ‘low-carb baking mix’ that can cause painful constipation.

Original Atkins is not perfect. Aimed at weight loss only, it has multiple levels that by the time you hit Maintainance, have you out of ketosis altogether. Not good if you need ketosis to help you deal with your arthritis, diabetes, autism spectrum disorder or depression on an ongoing basis.

The solution to that is to be smart. Don’t get caught up in a cycle of going up levels to add back more carbs, and lose the benefits of being in ketosis.

As you learn more about low-carb/keto, you may tweak your practice to incorporate your new knowledge. I no longer use canola oil, for example. And I’ve learned to enjoy some zero-carb foods, like pork chops, that I never used to like. I’m also crazy for chicken thighs, because they are cheaper than wings, taste great, and I can make bone broth from the bones.

How to Do Keto Fasting

When I thought of fasting I used to think of ‘white knuckle’ fasting, where you abstained from food from sheer will power alone, and you are curled up in a ball on the floor suffering hunger pangs. Or you eat something well before your fasting period was over and if people knew you’d intended to fast they would make fun of you.

Keto fasting is different, and easy. Some people on keto skip meals, even for a whole day, without even intending to fast! I can fast regularly now that I’m on lowcarb/keto for life, it makes me feel more energetic, and it lowers my blood sugars better than meds!

This is how you do it. First, go on (Induction level) keto. Get either the book ‘Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution’ or else ‘Dr Atkins’ NEW Diet Revolution Cookbook,’ both of which have good brief explanations on how to do a lowcarb ketogenic diet. Listening to Jimmy Moore podcasts is also helpful to give you more up-to-date slants on keto, but concentrate on the basics at first.

The Induction level is meant to get you used to being in ketosis. TEST for ketosis— you can use those cheap urine test strips at first, but since this is a LIFELONG eating plan you will probably want to move to a breath ketone meter like Ketonix, or a blood meter like Keto Mojo.

When your body gets adapted to being in ketosis, you experience less hunger. No matter how big a chow hound you are, in ketosis you may have to remind yourself to eat meals or you will skip some. 

When you are ‘keto-adapted,’ that’s the time to begin with actual fasting. Dr. Jason Fung is a big fasting advocate and has a number of books out. The most important one for fasting is ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting.’ Buy this book and read it before you try fasting! You don’t want to fail because you didn’t have accurate information.

I do two kinds of fasting myself. Today I am doing real fasting, where I consume water and zero-cal beverages like plain tea. Yesterday I did ‘bulletproof’ fasting, in which I am allowed ‘bulletproof coffee’ — coffee with heavy whipping cream, MCT oil, butter, or coconut oil in it instead of ‘creamer’ and sugar. I drink about 2-3 servings of ‘BPC’ on a bulletproof fasting day. 

On ‘real fasting’ days, Dr. Fung would allow you to have home-made bone broth, and perhaps a ‘lite’ version of BPC once a day with no more than a teaspoon of oil or cream in it. So his ‘real fasting’ does allow you more than zero calories, but it deepens your ketosis anyway. 

The bad part of fasting is the psychology. You are thinking ‘I’m fasting! I’m being so good!’ and you may decide you have ‘earned’ a high carb ‘snack.’ This is why it is important to PLAN a good lowcarb meal for after fasting. You don’t want to go on a carb binge that will just make you hungry for more and more carbs! But if you do fasting in your life you may find that you can eat a portion of a favorite carb food without totally undoing your good work. Remember, the lowcarb/keto way is for life— it’s not a temporary starvation diet. Fasting can bring you back into ketosis when you have exceeded your carb limit.

Some people do alternate-day fasting, but I don’t care for that myself. I cram my three fasting days a week into Wednesday through Friday. I do the first two with ‘bulletproof’ fasting, and the third day with real fasting. Of course, if I get hungry I eat something— fasting is not a form of self-torture. Fasting most of a day and then eating a little something lowcarb helps your health, too.

If you are on meds you have to check with your doctor about fasting. Which may be hard because your doctor may know nothing about fasting. However, he may OK partial-day fasting or skipping breakfast or something like that. If your current doctor is REALLY against both fasting and low carb (for everyone) you may need to get a better doctor if you can.

Learning to Do Keto/Lowcarb the Right Way

I read once about a hapless couple who decided to try the low-carb Atkins eating plan but weren’t the kind to read a book about it first. They had heard that the Atkins diet forbids bread. And so they ate pita bread and pasta instead.

Sadly there are people out there who just don’t want to READ. They know how, but reading isn’t something they do. Or perhaps they read only one kind of thing— romance novels, hunting magazines, graphic novels— and they don’t think they can plow through a whole book about how to go on a low-carb eating plan.

For those people: think of it this way. A person in Alcoholics Anonymous may not be a big reader, but he often makes a point of reading from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book every single morning. It can be inspiring as well as informative.

When I first started doing lowcarb, I read in my Diet Revolution book every morning to keep me on track. Before long, I knew by heart the kinds of foods that were allowed and not allowed on a lowcarb eating plan. This made it easier to plan meals, shop, and make food-related decisions.

If you are not the type to read a whole book about a low-carb eating plan in an evening, try this: get a good basic book about low carb, such as:

Atkins Diet Revolution, Robert Atkins, 1972

New Atkins for a New You, Westman, Phinney & Volek, 2010

Keto Clarity, Jimmy Moore, Eric Westman, 2014

Real Food Keto, Jimmy Moore, Christine Moore, 2019

Now, every morning read a chapter or part of a chapter from the book. Or do it in the evening if your mornings are hectic. If the book has a ‘diet sheet’ as the Atkins Diet Revolution does— a short list of allowed foods and forbidden foods— look that part over daily as well. You might purchase the book in audiobook form, if available, and listen while you are doing something else.

After you have finished the book, start over at the beginning until you have read the book or listened to it a few times. Every time you read or listen, you will be internalizing the information a bit more, and inspiring yourself to stick to the plan.

It’s not just that the books tell you precisely how to do the diet. They explain why it works, give some of the scientific research that backs up this way of eating, and also in many books you will find recipes. The more facts you learn, the more you will be able to follow a healthy low-carb diet accurately. It will keep you motivated.

You might also listen to some of the low-carb podcasts by health podcaster Jimmy Moore. He tends to have many prominent guests who can give out good science-based low-carb information, and he has a talent for explaining the complicated stuff.

The problem with being on a healthy low-carb eating plan is that we are surrounded by misinformation about diet. We have to almost un-brainwash ourselves to keep us from going astray with the daily temptations— such as those sugar-filled, carb-filled breakfast cereals with the words ‘heart-healthy’ on the packages.

Do you know about a good book, audiobook or podcast on a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic eating plan?  Let us all know about it in a comment!