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The superior and modified version of the Atkins Diet that actually has no ties with the Atkins Diet, although the principles of the timed ketogenic diet are almost the same, with a few very important differences.

The goal of the Atkins Diet is for dieters to reach the borderline state of ketosisor actual ketosis (not sure which one, so don't take me up on this word for word) within the body, which is a state where fat is the sole source of fuel burned by the body. Thus, fat is burned 24/7 in the absence of carbs.

However, the consequences of the Atkins Diet far outweigh the short-term benefits.

Problem 1: Some (not all) Atkins dieters restrict their calories far too much. This triggers "starvation mode" in the body, forcing the body to actually slow down its metabolism in order to save calories.

THE SOLUTION: Rather than drop your calories by 1000 or 1500 below your normal caloric intake, you should only drop by 500 below normal for each day. So if my normal caloric intake is 2800 calories in order to stay the same weight I am now, I would drop the calories only subtly. A 500-calorie drop is not severe enough to trigger the "starvation" signal in the body, so you're safe. So, in my case, I would take in only 2300 calories per day to consistently lose weight.

Now, keep in mind, this approach means slower weight loss, but it is a healthier AND permanent weight loss. Because you won't feel like you're starving every waking moment, you won't crave so much either.

The golden rule is to lose 1-2 pounds a week. If you're losing 3 or more pounds weekly, like Atkins dieters do, you're probably losing weight in muscle too, which is bad, because with less muscle comes a slower metabolism.

Problem 2: Some (not all) Atkins dieters think the diet by itself is the way to go. Actually, by doing this, you will gradually lose muscle tissue because you are not active. You must combine a diet with cardio and weight training in order to convince your body to HOLD ONTO what muscle you have left.

THE SOLUTION: Weight train 3-4 days a week. I personally train 7 days a week. You can work several body parts 3-4 days a week, or work one body part for each of the 7 days. Both are safe approaches. I personally like the one-bodypart-per-day approach because I can really focus on that muscle by giving it its own separate day.

Also, in order to convince your body to preserve your muscle while dieting, choose the heaviest weight you can handle for 6-8 reps. If you can do more than 8 reps, the weight is not heavy enough to stimulate muscle preservation.

And NO, the principle of "light weight, lots of reps" is a big myth. By doing light weight, you are convincing your body to let go of your muscle because the weight stimulus is not heavy enough to signal your body to hold onto your muscle. This is a big no-no.

Problem 3: Some (not all) Atkins dieters don't incorporate "refeed days," or "rest days," into their diet.

As a result, they end up craving and will eventually start to binge-eat (overeat and eat any food in sight) because the feeling of restriction sucks.

The result? Atkins dieters, by overeating like this, will lose all the fat gain that they achieved the week before, which cancels out their efforts of fat loss.

THE SOLUTION: It will help dieters to stay more sane by knowing that they can have 1 cheat day once every 7 days (for some, a cheat day once every 2 weeks could work too).

Plus, after prolonged dieting, the body will adapt to the caloric restriction and slow down the metabolism accordingly. By periodically having a refeed day where you eat about 500 calories ABOVE normal, this will "reset" your metabolism and speed it up again because your body will be convinced that it is not being starved..

..But just remember, try to only eat 500 extra calories than your normal caloric intake. Some people exploit the concept of the "refeed day" and eat everything in sight, eating up to 1000-1500 or even 2000 extra calories, which cancels all the fat loss they achieved. For example, if my normal caloric intake is 2800, I would only have 500 extra calories, which would be only 3300 calories on this refeed day. Some people will eat 4000 or 4500 calories and think they're fine. Nope. EAT JUST ENOUGH to let your body know that it is not being starved.

On this "refeed day," you can eat carbs again, but drop your fat intake at this time. The relation between fat and carbs when dieting is like a seesaw effect. When one goes up, the other must drop, or else you will begin to store fat.

So, your carbs can make up 45-70% of your diet at this time. Protein can be 20-30%, and fat should be kept at 15-20%.

But after this refeed day, it's back to the high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet.

So, I bet you're just DYING TO KNOW about how the timed ketogenic diet works. Well here it is.

The Timed Ketogenic Diet: What It Is

In the normal Atkins Diet, which strives to achieve ketosis, carbs are kept to as close to rock-bottom as possible.

In the normal diet striving to attain ketosis, the macronutrient makeup is generally 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbs. This is very little carbs.

The most significant setback to this diet? Yes, it does burn lots of fat, but it burns lots of muscle too. With virtually 0 carbs in the diet, dieters have no energy to sustain high- intensity in their gym workouts (assuming they even work out while dieting).

You see, any strenuous activity runs off of carbs as the main source of fuel. On a very low carb diet, one will find that he/she has very low energy levels throughout the day, and is basically a walking zombie. Carbs are our main energy source, and restricting them will hurt our gym performance. We will end up using lesser weight than what we could normally handle.

But this no longer has to be the case with the timed ketogenic diet, which may also be similar to the timed carb diet.

The premise of timed keto is this:

Carbs are restricted throughout the day except for the most crucial time in the day when CARBS ARE MOST NEEDED: immediately after a workout.

After this time, you return to high-fat, moderate-protein meals.

Some individuals will do well to also ingest a little carbs before the workout to have some extra energy.

By eating carbs after a workout (along with some protein), you will be able to sustain heavy and intense training and preserve maximum muscle, thus preventing a metabolic slowdown which normally occurs in Atkins dieters who gradually lose muscle mass because they are physically inactive.

This is why it is called a "timed keto" or "timed carb" diet- you time the intake of your carbs. Carbs are not severely needed in any other time of the day. It is important that one weight trains while dieting in order to sustain muscle.

In general, the macronutrient makeup of timed keto/timed carb is this:

45-50% fat, 40-45% protein, 15-20% carbs.

Compare that to the macronutrient makeup of a diet that is strictly for ketosis or borderline ketosis:

60-65%+ fat, 30%+ protein, 5% give or take carbs.

As you can see, there is more allowance and freedom on the timed carb/keto diet. The higher percentage of carbs in the timed keto/carb diet is due to the carbs ingested post-workout. You can have 75-100g of carbs after a workout to replenish your muscles.

So the difference between timed keto/carb and diets that attain ketosis and the Atkins Diet?

The timed ketogenic diet allows for more physical activity to preserve muscle (and thus preserve a fast metabolism) and calls for a smaller, more gradual, reduction in calories rather than a sharp one.

Don't make the mistake that the Atkins Diet immediately means a sharp reduction in calories (such as 1000-1500). This is just what I've seen some of my friends and family members do. Actually, people trying out any diet besides the Atkins diet also mistakingly drop calories too low. Always try to drop calories by only 500.

So really, the one problem with the Atkins diet is that it doesn't allow for much physical activity, so you will end up losing strength and muscle.

Remember: for each pound of muscle you have on your body frame, you burn 30-50 extra calories even at rest. So, while I'm sitting here typing this on my computer, I'm burning up to 1000 calories if I have 20 pounds of muscle on me. Wow!
This article is in no way meant to be the final word and final say on dieting/exercise.

Please look up "Atkins Diet," "timed ketogenic diet," "timed carb diet," "timed keto," etc., on google or other search engines on your own before listening to/condemning what I say.
by martinelli March 31, 2006
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