If you’re looking for a complete, simplified guide to lower-carb dieting, this is it. As authors Stuart L. Trager, M.D., and Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc., say in the introduction, “On Atkins, people don’t just become trimmer, they take charge of their lives—sometimes for the first time.” To use a buzzword, it’s empowering.
Part 1 runs down the hows and whys of Atkins. You learn how the diet works and the basic rules, like counting net carbs instead of total carbs. You calculate the net by subtracting fiber grams from total carb grams. You’ll also see why protein is so important—bodybuilders already have that one figured out—and get a fat primer, which describes and explains each type.
The four steps of the diet are also explained, the first being induction. You eat 20 grams of net carbs per day for 14 days, which shifts your body from being a sugar burner to a fat burner so you can tap into your stored bodyfat more easily. Phase 2 is ongoing weight loss. Here you add five grams of carbs a day to your diet until weight loss stalls, at which point you cut back a small amount to continue losing.
Phase 3 is premaintenance, where you slightly increase carbs and retrain your body for a liftetime of weight loss—which is phase 4, lifetime maintenance. Both phases rely on your Atkins carbohydrate equilibrium, your personal threshold for carb intake.
From there the authors prep you for beginning the program, discussing supplements, how to take measurements, what to jettison from your cabinets, family issues and more. Then you start.
Part 2 presents the entire 12-week plan. All the specifics of each phase are here, including acceptable foods, guidelines for success, net-carb counts of many foods, motivation tips, journal recommendations and even stretching and weight-training exercises. Each week gets its own chapter, so you learn every last detail on how to proceed.
Part 3 consists of menus—meal-by-meal plans of what to eat every day to attain specific net-carb counts. For the person who needs every last morsel of information, the last section is a godsend.
A lot of what’s in the book bodybuilders already know, but it may help you tweak your low-carb approach to getting ripped. For the neophyte, this is low-carb dieting for dummies with an M.D. as your coach.