The Kimkins diet is a low-carb and very low-calorie diet. It is a highly restrictive eating program for weight loss designed by low carbohydrate advocates. This diet is extremely low in carbohydrates, fat and calories. The Kimkins diet is partially based on the Atkins diet (original 1972 version), thus the “kins” in the diet’s name.
In 2007, the Kimkins diet success story was published on the cover of “Woman’s World magazine” that piqued public interest.[i] However, a controversy about the diet’s safety ensued along with a class-action lawsuit that followed after that. In 2008, the Woman’s World magazine apologized for running this story and said they couldn’t support the story any longer.
The creator of the diet went by the pseudonym Kimmer. However, “Kimmer” refused to reveal her actual name until a class action lawsuit was filed by users following the diet. It was not until then that she revealed her real name as Heidi Kimberly Diaz. There wasn’t any independent verification of her weight loss, and the diet claims couldn’t be confirmed. It’s also important to note that the diet designer was neither a nutrition expert nor a healthcare professional.[ii]
What To Eat
Although the Kimkins diet website isn’t live anymore, it had five different eating plans. One of the plans was nearly all protein – no dairy, no vegetables, and no fats. Also, another program that was listed as the most famous choice only included 500 – 600 calories every day.
The vegetarian plan is limited to only 1000 calories every day. Keep in mind there were shake options that had 800 calories daily intake. The diet plans were written in a simple manner. Each of them suggested taking a complete multivitamin per day plus other supplements.
According to Kimkins diet guidelines, a day’s eating should not include over 20 grams of carbohydrates. This means a general carbohydrate and fiber mustn’t be over 20 grams every day. Nevertheless, the Kimkins diet sample menu on the official website contained less than 20 grams – at most, approximately 5 grams effective carbs plus 7g fiber.
This is very low compared to the Atkins diet induction phase, where users should consume 20 grams of carbs per day. With very-low-calorie counts, there isn’t enough room in this Kimkins diet for three full meals per day. Following are some of the foods you should eat while following this diet:
Users are encouraged to eat lean protein like skinless chicken breast, which makes up a large part of the Kimkins diet suggested meals. Some foods containing lean proteins that you can eat while on this diet include:
- Pork tenderloins or lean ham
- Canned tuna
- Non-breaded seafood and fish
- Egg substitutes
- Skinless turkey
- Skinless chicken
The protein should be cooked with a tiny amount of fat. Pan-fried, steamed, poached, baked, grilled, and broiled with nonfat cooking spray are all feasible cooking methods.
With the Kimkins diet, you’ll take daily multivitamin supplements because the meals lack many valuable nutrients.
Some veggies are allowed in the Kimkins diet plan, but the vegetables should be limited since some contain carbohydrates. With the Kimkins diet, you’re allowed to consume up to 3 cups of veggies each day, though the precise amount varies based on the type of vegetable.
Unfortunately, you are required to subscribe to know the exact amount. Some of the vegetables you should eat while following this diet include mushrooms, onions, peppers, squash, okra, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichoke, spinach, radishes, fresh herbs, cucumber, celery, bok Choy, and lettuce.
What You Cannot Eat
Following are some of the foods you cannot eat while following the Kimkins diet.
Sugar And Sweeteners
Sweeteners and sugars added empty carbs and calories; hence they aren’t allowed.
Because fruits are also high in carbohydrates, fruits should be avoided while on the Kimkins diet.
Starches And Grains
The Kimkins diet allows fewer fiber and calories than starches, and grains are also removed.
Alcohol isn’t permitted while following the Kimkins diet. If you must drink, you should only drink a glass of red or white wine after dinner.
High Carb Foods
The Kimkins diet doesn’t just limit calories but also carbohydrates. Pasta, bread, muffins, and grains are not allowed.
Does Kimkins Diet Aid Weight Loss?
The Kimkins diet main highlight is that it helps lose weight fast through the low calorie, low carb, and low fiber diet comprising mostly of vegetables, lean proteins, and multivitamin supplements. Since the diet allows less than 1000 calories each day – way below the recommended daily allowance for calories in adults – it’s highly likely you’ll lose weight.
This is mainly because weight loss depends on cutting out calories, meaning your body will be burning more calories than what you consume. Nevertheless, adult women and men need between 1600-2400 and 2000-3000 calories each day. As a result, the less than 1000-calorie intake recommended by the Kimkins diet puts many people in a calorie deficient of between 1000 and 2000 calories each day.
To compensate for this abrupt reduction in calories, the body will start to use glycogen, muscle, and fat stored as energy. Furthermore, the Kimkins diet recommends that most of your daily calories should come from lean proteins. High lean protein diets have been found to aid weight loss by promoting feelings of fullness and satiety, but they aren’t practical since there are very few calories that are involved in this meal plan.[iii]
As a result, it’s highly likely you’ll lose weight while following this diet. Nevertheless, low-calorie diets coupled with severe food restrictions might not be sustainable in the long term and might result in weight gain after you stop following the diet.
What Are The Rules Of The Kimkins Diet?
The Kimkins diet is mainly promoted as low fat, low calorie, and low carbohydrate weight loss program. Creators of this plan claim it’s lower in carbohydrates than the south beach and lower in fat than the Atkins diet. In reality, the diet plan isn’t just low in fat and carbs but very low in calories. The rules you should follow to stick to the Kimkins diet include:
- Only get your protein from lean protein sources, including buffalo, pork tenderloins, lean ham, canned tuna in water, shellfish, seafood, eggs, skinless turkey, skinless chicken.
- Besides water, followers of the Kimkins diet can drink energy drinks (no calories), crystal light, tea (no cream), coffee (no cream), and diet soda.
- Starchy fruits, legumes, and vegetables aren’t allowed in the weight-loss stage of the Kimkins diet. So, you should not eat winter squash, rhubarb, pumpkin, potatoes, peas, lima beans, hominy, garbanzo beans, fruits, corn, carrots, and beets.
Potential Health Benefits
There are very few benefits if any that are associated with the Kimkins diet. Trying this highly restrictive diet program could be detrimental to your well-being and might result in the development of eating disorders. Moreover, any weight loss experienced on the Kimkins diet program isn’t sustainable. Essentially, this is a starvation diet.
Keep in mind that the drastic weight loss emanates from restricting your calorie, carbohydrate, and fat intake; in such a case, limiting yourself to less than 1000 calories for an extended period might be impossible. However, a few health benefits that might be associated with this eating plan include:
May Aid Weight Loss
The Kimkins diet has been associated with losing weight. Although there is no supporting evidence of weight loss on this diet, some studies have shown that consuming low-fat diets could result in short-term weight loss.
It Might Prevent Certain Types Of Cancer
Some studies indicate that minimizing fat intake might prevent cancer, including prostate, rectum, colon, and breast.[iv] However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that reducing your fat intake much below the recommended levels is healthy. And research isn’t clear about the relationship between cancer and dietary fat.
Sample Shopping List
The food you’ll have to eat while following the Kimkins diet depends on which version you choose to follow. You will find numerous low fat, low carb, and low calorie (both naturally low fat and processed) in many grocery stores. To make sure you stick to the Kimkins diet, try spending more of your time in the external aisles of the grocery store, especially in the produce section.
Since the Kimkins diet is flexible when it comes to food alternatives, this shopping list isn’t definitive, and if you’re using this diet, you might find other foods, which work better for you and suits your tastes and preferences. Following are some of the foods you should consider including in your shopping cart.”
- Lean proteins – ostrich, buffalo, lean ham, canned tuna in water, shellfish, seafood, non-breaded fish, eggs, skinless turkey, and skinless chicken breasts.
- Vegetables – mushrooms, onions, peppers, squash, okra, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichoke, spinach, radishes, fresh herbs, cucumber, celery, bok Choy, and lettuce.
- Drinks – energy drinks, crystal light, tea, coffee, and diet soda
- Vegetarians Kimkins – cheese, yogurt, Boca products, garden burger products, tempeh, egg, protein powder, and tofu.
- Low-fat fish (sole, cod, tilapia)
- Avocado, nuts, light mayonnaise, low carb catchup, salsa, mustard, protein shakes, light sour cream
Sample Meal Plan
You do not have to follow any meal schedule or specific timing on the Kimkins diet. However, if you like eating three meals per day, you should continue doing this. However, the most important thing is to make sure you stick to low-calorie, low-fat, and low carbohydrate foods.
Snacks are permitted as long as you stick to low-calorie, low-fat options which fall within your fat intake goals. Keep in mind that this isn’t an exclusive meal plan, and if you choose to follow this diet, you might also find some other types of food that you like.
- Breakfast – one cup of coffee, sliced tomato, Denver omelet
- Lunch – diet soda, Caesar salad, chicken soup
- Dinner – lemon-flavored no-calorie water, sautéed mushrooms, grilled salmon
- Breakfast – coffee (no cream), one slice of wheat toast, one omelet with one egg, and two egg substitutes
- Lunch – sugar-free beverage, low-fat yogurt, a small apple. 2 cups of greens with 4 ounces of lean chicken breasts, and one tablespoon oil dressing salad
- Dinner – a cup of raspberries, 8-12 ounces of sugar-free beverage or water, one cup of steamed broccoli with 1 tsp. of olive oil, one low cab whole grain wrap, four ounces of turkey breasts, turkey broccoli wrap.
- Breakfast – one cup of coffee, one tablespoon of chopped unsalted almonds, ¾ cup of blueberries, and one container of low-fat Greek yogurt.
- Lunch – 10 baby carrots with one tablespoon hummus, a dollop of mustard, ¼ avocado chopped, tomato, lettuce, one slice whole-grain bread, four slices of turkey breasts, turkey sandwich
- Dinner – one tablespoon salsa, ¼ cup of shredded low-fat cheese, ½ cup of chopped peppers, ½ cup of chopped tomatoes, ½ cup of low sodium chicken broth or quinoa in water, four ounces grilled shrimp, shrimp quinoa bowl
Pros And Cons Of The Kimkins Diet
The Kimkins Diet was a highly popular diet scam in the early 2000s, which facilitated fast weight loss. Nevertheless, the restrictive nature of this eating plan could be dangerous and isn’t recommended. There are very few benefits of trying this diet plan and many dangerous downsides. However, there are a few advantages of following this diet.
Could Improve Heart Health
When you minimize your intake of saturated fats on the low calorie and low-fat diet, it might be easier for you to reduce the risks of heart disease. The AHA (American Heart Association) suggests eating less than 15 grams of saturated fat every day, equivalent to approximately 5% or 6% of the recommended daily allowance for calories, as this kind of fat is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease.
By carefully watching your fat intake, you might become more mindful about healthy fat choices and eat poly- and monounsaturated fats instead.
You can choose to follow the low fat, low calorie, and low carbohydrate diet without having to pay for the subscription service. Moreover, low fat, low-calorie fats are available in many grocery stores.
Fast Weight Loss
Following the Kimkins Diet will most likely lead to fast weight loss, at least for the time you’ll be following this diet. However, as research shows, the Kimkins supplements don’t impact the amount of weight people lose.
Easy And Straightforward To Follow
The Kimkins Diet isn’t hard to follow, especially with regards to its structure. Its calorie, fat, and carbs are very specific, and the number of units or calories used varies from one person to another.
The Kimkins Diet is dangerously low in calories, essential fatty acids, fiber, and many other valuable nutrients. Essentially, this is a starvation diet that doesn’t contain many of the nutritional basics needed for life sustenance. The mineral and multivitamin tablet is highly recommended, although this ignores fatty acids, phytonutrients, and other valuable nutrients.
When it comes to fiber supplements or dietary fiber, laxatives are highly recommended, which can be a very dangerous practice if taken regularly.[v] Laxative abuse might result in mineral disturbances and electrolyte imbalance. Dehydration that results from laxative abuse might also result in blurry vision, fainting, kidney damage, weakness, and tremors, and in severe cases, can lead to death.
Also, this diet is severely low in calories, and such diets aren’t long-lasting. Technically, diets low in calories may result in fast weight loss and could cause many health problems, including increased risks of gallstones, electrolyte imbalances, and fatigue and hair loss.
Promotes Disordered Eating
A discussion forum was the primary attraction of the Kimkins Diet website. While there was undoubtedly a stronger community, extreme eating behaviors, particularly low calorie, low carb consumption, were allegedly encouraged by the creator and her employees.
Besides the mystery surrounding the creator’s real identity, Diaz came under lots of scrutinies for banning premium members from her site if they disagreed with her and firing the spokesman who questions the Kimkins Diet methods. Today, it’s alleged that Diaz didn’t lose any weight while on a diet.
Is The Kimkins Diet A Healthy Option For You?
The United States Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines recommend eating a mixture of dairy products, protein, grains, vegetables, and a variety of fruits per day.[vi] The Kimkins high protein and low carb program restricts many food groups and foods and does not provide enough nutrition.
Also, the Kimkins diet does restrict calories to about 500-600 every day, which is very dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted without the supervision by a doctor or dietician. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the lowest number of calories that an adult can eat without increasing risks of deficiency is 1600.[vii] The low calorie, low carb diet is only safe if you have a well-designed meal plan and only with supervision from the registered dietician.
The Kimkins diet is often compared to the original Atkins diet plan. But since it was developed, it has gone through numerous changes. However, the Atkins diet has, over the years, gone through numerous changes. Even though the Atkins diet first phase is similar to Kimkins’s diet in its high protein, low carb, low calorie, Atkins moderately introduces high fiber carbohydrates, low glycemic foods, including whole grains.
Whether or not the Kimkins diet is effective for you depends on your prime goals. If you’re adopting this eating plan to lose weight, you should also be considerate of your total carbohydrate and the nutrient quality of the food choices. It’s possible to eat a low carbohydrate, low-fat foods, and still take enough calories to meet your weight-loss objective.
The Kimkins diet has many similarities with the Atkins eating plan, but the latter is more restrictive and does meet the USDA dietary guidelines for balanced and healthy eating.
How Much Does The Kimkins Diet Cost?
Compared to other weight loss plans and commercial diet plans that require consumers to buy processed and prepackaged food, this program is less expensive since it doesn’t advocate for processed foods.
Most of the foods are consumed in tiny amounts; so, you shouldn’t spend much money buying the foods. However, it’s also important to note that although reducing your calories and carbs on the Kimkins Diet might save you money spent on groceries, the required supplements aren’t cheap.
What is the Main Benefit of the Kimkins Diet?
What Food Should You Eat on the Kimkins Diet?
Does the Kimkins Diet Help Lose Weight?
What is the Kimkins Diet?
Is the Kimkins Diet Good for You?
What is the Most Popular Fad Diet?
- [i] Wood D. Kimkins Diet Rolls On Despite Founder’s Excess Poundage. Consumer Affairs. February 25, 2008.
- [ii] ABC News. Online Diet Comes Under Scrutiny. Updated February 9, 2009.
- [iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Losing Weight. Updated February 2020.
- [iv] Koliaki C, Spinos T, Spinou Μ, Brinia ΜE, Mitsopoulou D, Katsilambros N. Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. Healthcare. 2018;6(3)73. doi:10.3390/healthcare6030073
- [v] Stein D, Keller S, Ifergan IS, et al. Extreme risk-taking behaviors in patients with eating disorders. Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:89. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00089
- [vi] U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health andHuman Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025. Published December 2020.
- [vii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition. December 2020.