Coping with Carbohydrate Cravings on the New Atkins Diet

Coping with Carbohydrate Cravings on the New Atkins Diet

Craving carbs on Atkins? Learn how to work through those cravings with tips from the new Atkins Diet plan.

The Atkins diet – recently updated and reintroduced in a book by Drs. Eric Westman, Stephen Phinney, and Jeff Volek called The New Atkins for a New You – is a popular weight loss program that has helped millions of people shed excess pounds. Atkins promotes limiting carbohydrates, the main culprit behind weight gain, and using protein and fats for energy instead. For many Atkins dieters, the plan works smoothly and successfully.

But not everyone sails through Atkins. Many people struggle with a low-carbohydrate diet; specifically, with cravings for carbohydrates. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with carb cravings on Atkins, many of which are spelled out in the New Atkins book. By following a few important tips, Atkins dieters can curb those cravings and get back to achieving their weight loss goals.

Curbing Carbohydrate Cravings on Atkins

It’s no surprise that many Atkins dieters succumb to carb cravings. After all, carbohydrates are found in many comfort foods that people have grown accustomed to eating – which makes them a hard habit to kick. But the problem with carbohydrates, according to the Atkins doctrine, is that they raise insulin levels and interfere with the body’s ability to burn fat and shed pounds. The good news is, carb cravings don’t have to lead to diet failure.

Remember, the Atkins diet plan doesn’t prohibit carbohydrates; it limits them. Plus, the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar and insulin takes into account the quality, not just the quantity, of the carbohydrates consumed. In fact, many carbs contain important nutrients and fiber (which doesn’t impact blood sugar) that make them a healthy part of any diet.

According to Dr. Westman and his coauthors, by eating more of these healthy carbs – vegetables and other fiber-rich whole food carbohydrates – and eliminating the refined grains, sugary treats, and packaged products, dieters will avoid troublesome blood sugar fluctuations and discover how good they feel without carbs.

But is the idea to stick with healthy carbohydrates in limited quantities easier said than done? Not necessarily. The New Atkins book suggests a few helpful tricks: Stock the refrigerator and cupboards with only healthy low-carb foods and snacks. Satiate cravings for bad carbs with healthy choices, like eating a low-carb snack bar instead of chocolate. Don’t wait to become ravenous to eat, which can lead to consuming too many carbs. And make the effort to actually count, not estimate, carbohydrates – even the healthy ones.

Addressing the Reason for Carb Cravings

If craving bad carbs still looms, it may be time to sit down and assess the reason. Sometimes, cravings are caused by not getting enough food in the body. Consuming the right foods and fluids in adequate amounts to satisfy hunger is key while on the Atkins diet and helps alleviate cravings. Lifelong habits and routines, such as eating comfort foods to alleviate loneliness, can also cause Atkins dieters to give in to their cravings. Recognizing these habits is necessary to overcome them.

Addressing carb cravings, however, doesn’t mean that Atkins followers won’t ever get to “enjoy another piece of Grandma’s pumpkin pie or a bowl of pasta,” says Dr. Westman et al. Once weight has stabilized and old eating patterns have been permanently tossed, an occasional sweet or refined-carb food is okay – as long as the indulgence doesn’t become routine.

Realistic Expectations on a Low-carb Diet

Even if dieters curb their cravings for bad carbohydrates on Atkins, some may still hit a plateau. As frustrating as this may be, there is one comfort – a cease in weight loss isn’t unusual. For most people, losing weight doesn’t occur at a steady pace. And factors like exercise and metabolism may come into play.

Furthermore, slowly adding carbohydrates back into the diet will naturally slow weight loss. The quick drop in weight during induction won’t last into phase 2 and beyond. That’s normal. What’s more important in the long run is learning how to eat properly and knowing which carbohydrates to make a regular part of a lifetime diet and which to avoid.

Craving carbohydrates, though common on Atkins, doesn’t have to destroy a diet. By moving from craving bad carbs to eating healthy ones in limited quantities and keeping weight loss expectations realistic, Atkins dieters can achieve success.

Categories: Diet, Nutrition, Weight Loss