Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet plan, mostly recommended for weight loss.

Developed by cardiologist Robert C. Atkins, this diet restricts carbohydrates while emphasizing fats and proteins. He wrote a book on this diet in 1972, which was a best seller.

Initially, the Atkins diet was considered unhealthy due to its high saturated fat content. However, some new study proves that saturated fat is harmless.

Research published in 2014 shows consumption of saturated fat may not be associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Read on to learn more about the Atkins diet, foods you can eat, and the benefits you may get by following this diet plan.

How Does The Atkins Diet Work?

Atkins diet works in four different phases:

Phase 1(Induction)

In this strict phase, you will have to eat less than 20 grams of carbs per day for two weeks. Consume high-protein, high-fat, with low-carb leafy green vegetables. This will trigger weight loss.

Phase 2 (Balancing)

In this phase, you can slowly include more nuts, berries, and 12-15 grams of low-carb vegetables. Also, continue avoiding foods with added sugars.

Phase 3 (Pre-Maintenance)

This is a fine tuning phase where you can gradually increase carbs, fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains to your diet until your weight loss slows down.

Phase 4 (Lifetime Maintenance)

You are in phase 4 when you reach your goal weight. Now, your job is to follow this way of eating for life.

You can skip the induction phase and start consuming plenty of vegetables and fruits from the beginning. This approach will help in losing weight as well.

On the other hand, some people choose to stick in the induction phase, which is also known as very low carb ketogenic diet.

Atkins Diet: What to Eat

Here are some of the healthy foods that you should add to your diet:

Low-carb vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, etc.

Eggs: Eggs with omega-3 fatty acids.

Meats: Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and others.

Fish: Fatty fishes like salmon, sardines, trout, etc.

Dairy: Cheese, butter, low-fat yogurt.

Healthy Fats: Coconut oil, Extra virgin olive oil, avocados, etc.

Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, etc.

Beverages: Water, coffee, green tea.

You can also treat yourself with some dark chocolates sometimes.

atkins diet

Atkins Diet: What to Avoid

While on the Atkins diet, you need to avoid the following foods:

Grains: Rye, spelt, wheat, rice, barley.

Sugar: Fruit juices, soft drinks, ice cream, cakes, candy, diet drinks, etc.

Trans Fats: Processed foods with the word “hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

Vegetable Oils: Corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc.

High-Carb Vegetables: Turnips, carrots etc. (only in induction phase)

High-Carb Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes (only in induction phase)

Starches: Sweet potatoes, potatoes (only in induction phase)

Legumes: Chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc. (only in induction phase)

Atkins Diet for The Vegetarians

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can still follow the Atkins diet. But it’s going to be a bit difficult for you.

Replace the meat and fish with soy-based protein, nuts, and seeds. Coconut oil and olive oil can be a good plant-based fat source.

You can also eat cheese, butter, egg, and other high-fat dairy foods if you are a lacto-ovo-vegetarian.

Benefits of Atkins Diet

As a low-carb diet, Atkins has a number of benefits such as losing weight and staying healthy.

According to the proponents of this diet, you can easily lose weight in a healthy way when you eat more proteins and fats and avoid high-carb foods.

A study published in the Nutrition & Metabolism shows, 28 overweight individuals participated in a randomized, crossover trial.

They were divided into two groups. One group followed a low-carb diet, while the other group was in a low-fat diet.


The result shows the low-carb group lost more weight than the other group.

Besides, the Atkins diet helps to improve blood sugar, triglycerides, and good “HDL” cholesterol than the low-fat diet.

A study published in 2008 shows that a low-carb diet can better manage the obesity and other complication associated with compared to the low-fat diet.

Another study published in 2012 shows a low-carb diet could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

According to a 2007 research, reduced carb and increased amount of protein intake can reduce your appetite, making you consume fewer calories.

The best part of the Atkins diet is, after the induction phase you can slowly add healthier carbs into your diet in a moderate amount.

Side Effects of Atkins Diet

At the first phase of the Atkins diet, you will drastically lose weight, which may cause some side effects, including:

A Sample Menu on Atkins Diet

Following is a sample menu that you may try on phase 1 of your Atkins diet:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sautéed onions, cheddar cheese. You can also drink water, coffee, or green tea.

Lunch: Salad with chicken, avocado, and bacon. Drink water or any healthy beverage.

Snacks: Cheddar cheese, celery, granola bar, or chocolate shake.

Dinner: Salmon and salad made with asparagus, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Drink water or any healthy beverage.

End Note

Atkins diet is an effective and healthy way to lose weight. It allows you to stay healthy while losing weight.

As you eat more protein and fewer carbs, including processed foods with high-sugar, you will eventually create a healthy eating habit.

However, Atkins diet is not for everyone. If you’re under medications like diuretics or insulin, you must consult with your doctor before starting this diet.

Besides, if you are pregnant or have severe kidney disease, this diet is not for you.

Despite some minor side effects, the Atkins diet is all about healthy eating that includes fewer carbs and more protein. It could be a perfect choice if you want to lose weight in a healthy way.

Read Next: The Military Diet: 3-Day Meal Plan, Advantages, and Disadvantages

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