Replacing the animal protein in the high-protein low-carb Dr. Atkins diet with plants based protein is the twist that helped researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto develop the Eco-Atkins diet. Unlike other popular diets, Eco-Atkins doesn’t have a book or plenty of online resources, so it might not be the best choice if you prefer a very structured weight loss plan.
The Eco-Atkins diet plan includes split daily calories in around 31 percent of protein from plant-based foods, 26 percent from carbs and 43 percent from healthier plant fats.
Pros of the Eco-Atkins Diet
While the original Atkins diet includes plenty of saturated and even trans fats, the Eco-Atkins diet meal plan replaces those with plant fats, offering a much healthier solution for weight loss and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Helps You Lose Weight Fast
Even though the Eco-Atkins diet lacks a very structured plan, sticking to plant protein from beans, nuts and soy, means eating healthier fats, which can translate into significant weight loss. Limited research into the potential of this diet has shown that some dieters manage to lose up to 8 pounds per month while giving up animal protein and unhealthy fats.
Offers More Options than the Atkins Diet
While the original diet felt restrictive because of its focus on meat, the Eco-Atkins diet offers a lot more options and you don’t even have to stick to all plant-based protein. Lean meat like poultry and fish can be added to the diet, which makes it easier to adapt to different dietary preferences.
Beneficial to Your Health
While the Eco-Atkins diet may not be able to control or prevent diabetes, according to studies published so far, it definitely has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. When most of the protein you’re eating is from plant-based foods, you’re getting less unhealthy fats, which means a lower level of bad cholesterol and triglycerides and even a positive effect on blood pressure.
See also: The Benefits of Eating Fish Regularly
Dieters who love to improvise their own recipes or are generally picky eaters will find plenty of options to experiment with while on the Eco-Atkins diet. Some dieters turn it into a vegetarian weight loss plan, while others continue to eat low-fat dairy. Since the guidelines are fairly loose, the Eco-Atkins diet plan can easily be adapted for vegans or for people who want or need to stay gluten-free.
Offers Good Nutritional Value
With the right percentages of fat, protein and carbs, the Eco-Atkins diet is also a great option for dieters looking for a low-sodium plan. Sample menus vary, but it won’t be difficult to keep your sodium intake under 2,300 or even 1,500 mg per day.
Won’t Leave You Hungry
Since the protein from plant-based foods comes with plenty of fiber, the Eco-Atkins diet scores high points when it comes to satiety.
Cons of the Eco-Atkins Diet
Without a book or a centralized online community, it’s easy to get lost when you’re following the Eco-Atkins diet plan, but at least you can find plenty of recipes suited to it or even modify your favorite dishes.
Not Very Structured
The Eco-Atkins diet leaves all the guesswork to you when it comes to portion control, as long as you follow its dietary guidelines, and you might struggle to find a proper Eco-Atkins diet meal plan. Without proper guidance, many dieters may feel lost and give up on it prematurely.
Read more: Are You Sabotaging Your Weight Loss with These Foods?
Could Restrict Important Minerals and Vitamins
Like other vegetarian wight loss plans, the Eco-Atkins diet could lead to deficiencies, especially calcium and vitamin D, mostly for people who try a dairy-free version of the diet, so consult your doctor before starting it.
Might Not Work in the Long-Term
Without proper research into long-term effects, there’s no way to tell if the weight you lose will stay off, especially if you find yourself confused because of the lack of precise resources on the Eco-Atkins diet.
Works Better with Exercise
Like most diets, Eco-Atkins can have a more beneficial weight loss effect if you also exercise. The intensity is up to you, but aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day of the week.