When you think about low-carb diets, the first one to come to mind is the Atkins diet. This high protein, low carbohydrate diet is the one on which all low carb diets are based. However, due to the Atkins diet’s emphasis on meat and dairy for protein, it’s impossible for vegetarians or vegans to follow it. Enter the Eco-Atkins diet: a plant based low-carb diet meant to be similar to the Atkins diet. So what is the difference between the Eco-Atkins diet and the original Atkins diet, and how advantageous is it to you?
Differences between Atkins Diet and Eco-Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is the original low-carb diet, emphasizing a high protein, low carbohydrate diet as a weight loss tool. The original Atkins diet recommended lots of meat and dairy – both high in saturated fats. The Eco-Atkins diet replaces the animal-based sources of protein with plant-based sources. The following high protein plant-based foods are recommended on the Eco-Atkins diet:
The Eco-Atkins diet also provides healthy unsaturated fats from sources such as:
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oils
The Eco-Atkins diet is a strictly vegan diet, so all sources of food from animal products are forbidden. Meats and dairy are allowed on the Atkins diet, but not on the Eco-Atkins diet.
How Do the Two Compare?
Studies conducted with the Eco-Atkins diet showed that dieters on it lost nine pounds over four weeks – the same amount of weight that dieters on the Atkins diet lost over the same period of time. However, researchers did discover that 20 percent of dieters on the Eco-Atkins diet had lower levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. Only 10 percent of the dieters on the Atkins diet had lower levels of their LDL cholesterol.
Which Should You Do?
Since the Eco-Atkins diet is lower in saturated fats and lowers LDL cholesterol levels, many nutritionists agree that it is a healthier diet than the traditional Atkins diet. In addition, the Eco-Atkins diet is vegan friendly, allowing even those who have chosen to live a life free of animal-based products to reap the benefits of a low-carb Atkins diet. Unfortunately, not enough studies have been conducted to know the results of a long term lifestyle on the Eco-Atkins diet. Many nutritionists feel that dieters lost weight on these diets due to their 40 percent reduction in calorie content. Therefore, many nutritionists believe that most dieters will be better benefited with a more balanced diet that contains all of the nutrients that the body needs to remain healthy.
While the Eco-Atkins diet may be a healthier, more vegan-friendly version of the original Atkins diet, many dieters would benefit from meal plans that are healthier and more balanced than either of these. Discuss your nutritional options with your health care professional before beginning any new diet.