A few people have asked if the Biggly diet and exercise software is suitable for following the Atkins Diet (see Dr Atkins Diet Revolution).
Yes, the easily adjustable food group ratios makes Biggly perfect for such a plan.
However Biggly is primarily built around bodybuilding techniques rather than the classical idea of a weight-loss diet.
So how does Atkins stack up for bodybuilders?
Well you may be surprised to know bodybuilding food group ratios and the Atkins diet are very similar!
Both work with high protein, low fat and low carbohydrates, though bodybuilders, with suitable timing will cheerfully stock up on carbs.
The Atkins diet goes in 2 stages, a low carb period to cleanse the body of toxic sugars (yes, sugar is very toxic to the body if there’s too much of it) followed by a sustained ratio once the ideal body weight is achieved.
Similar high protein diets are Suzanne Somer’s, Sears, Heller, Mayo and Eades.
However one should be wary of weight alone as a guide, and much of the weight loss of Atkins is actually water. Why is this?
Glucose (sugar in water)
A hefty percentage of the sugar stored in the human body is stored within water, meaning that as you reduce your sugar stocks your weight can drop considerably – and instantly return once you re-supply the sugar (just add water!)
As such it is important on a high protein diet to ensure you drink plenty of water. This helps in many different ways, including helping the kidneys and liver but also ensuring weight loss is not simply dehydration. You will also find it can leave you feeling tired if you skip the water, which has nothing to do with calories per se, just dehydration.
With Atkins there is no real restriction on calories at first, allowing you to eat as much as you like of fat and protein, just cutting right down on the carbs. The first ratio, covering this period of around 2 weeks, is:
1st stage (2 weeks)
However the diet then switches to low calories. Ketosis is the scientific name for inadequate calories, which ultimately is what ALL diets are aiming at but ironically the Atkins diet is often sneered at for actually producing this state!
How it does it is simply by allowing users to enjoy tasty food, just not so much of the sugary stuff. The 2nd stage goes much higher in carbs but on a steep calorie deficit:
Once you reach your preferred weight creep the calories back up until you find a level that keeps you there.
Dangers of Atkins
If Atkins definitely does help people lose weight is it ideal for bodybuilders looking to get ripped?
In a word, “almost”!
Yes, use Atkins to shed those last few stubborn lbs of flab and develop a cut physique, or to kickstart your efforts to boost your motivation, but as a long term solution it’s not good, risking kidney stones, gout and other such things.
One common criticism is lack of calcium or that the body will harvest your own bones for calcium to offset the high acid protein intake. I think we can safely ignore that because:
- Much of of bodybuilder’s protein intake comes from high calcium foods in the first place and
- Too much calcium can be a problem in itself, in fact more and more it is looking like calcium is more of a heart disease threat than saturated fat.
The 2nd point B is a whole new topic in itself and I won’t try to cover it here.
Atkins is a great diet, and yes suitable for bodybuilding, but it should be used the way bodybuilders have used it, which is to dip in and out of it as needed rather than a long term diet.
If using Atkins for bodybuilding ensure you get plenty of water, ensure what carbs you do eat are of good quality, organic, raw or at least unprocessed where possible. I’d also strongly recommend a good multivitamin, regardless of what diet you’re on.
Atkins and bodybuilding diets are really very similar, in fact the sustained ratios are the same but bodybuilders generally aim for lower fat levels, while Atkins swings between extremely high protein and low carb to a more balanced ratio. Bodybuilders tend to remain steady with slightly lower protein and lower fat, slightly higher carbs.
Dipping in and out of low carbs or “carb cycling” is one of the techniques in the Biggly Body Plan and yes it’s effective. Just don’t do it all the time, your body needs a reasonable level of carbs!
Atkins for bodybuilding? Thumbs up, for a week, then down, then up…