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The Atkins Diet Meal Plan

Ditch The Nervous Carb Counting

Meal Plan for Atkins Diet

Choose from 150+ easy recipes and food combos , plus a special Holiday Recipe section!

  • Break your toughest diet stall.
  • Lose fat quickly for a special event.
  • Recover from an accidental cheat.
  • Avoid plateau completely: Use once a month.
  • Reach a deeper state of ketosis over the weekend.
  • Finally access and burn stubborn, stored fat.
  • Restart or reset your low carb or keto diet.
  • Add healthy fats effortlessly.
  • Sharpen your sense of portion control.

Consult With Your Doctor First

Much of the research on low-carb diets like Atkins points to positive results, such as weight loss and better blood sugar control, according to the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

For example, a June 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics surveyed adults and children with Type 1 diabetes who followed a very low carbohydrate diet . After eating the VLCD for a period of approximately 2.2 to 3.9 years, respondents were found to have exceptional glycemic control of Type 1 diabetes.

At the same time, it’s possible to experience negative health outcomes from Atkins and other low-carb diets. The Mayo Clinic notes that drastically reducing carbs in Phase 1 may result in headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and constipation. Your body may also enter a state of ketosis, whereby your body breaks down fat for fuel, potentially causing nausea, headaches, mental fatigue and bad breath.

Check with your doctor before starting on Atkins, especially if you take diuretics, insulin or oral diabetes medications. Avoid Atkins if you have kidney disease or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you get the go-ahead to try the Atkins diet, start with some of the Atkins meal plan suggestions below. Atkins diet recipes can be not only healthy, but tasty, too â and after Phase 1, you might find you no longer crave carbs .

Read more:The Signs of Ketosis on Atkins Diets

Does It Really Work And Is It Safe

Studies have shown that people who stick to a low-carbohydrate diet like Atkins can lose weight.

A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association comparing diets found that women on the Atkins diet lost more weight and experienced more health benefits. After one year on the Atkins diet, people in the study lost an average of 10 pounds. They also had improved triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure. But experts say any diet that helps you lose weight will probably improve your cholesterol.

Since most studies on the Atkins diet last a year or less, researchers don’t know if the health benefits from the diet are maintained and if the diet is safe for long-term use. Some points to remember include:

Always check with your doctor before starting a weight loss program, especially if you have certain health problems or if you take medications.

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What Is The Atkins Diet

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

Atkins Diet: The Ultimate Guide

Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid


The ketogenic diet may be the it low-carbdiet for weight loss right now, but its predecessor the Atkins diet is the original version of this restrictive eating approach. Atkins and keto are both low-carb diets that may benefit weight loss, diabetes management, and heart health, says Vanessa Rissetto, RD, a nutritionist based in Hoboken, New Jersey.

In addition to keto being much higher in fat than Atkins, a main difference between Atkins and keto, Rissetto says, is that you gradually increase your carb intake on Atkins,” Meanwhile, she adds, carbs remain very low on the keto diet, allowing your body to stay in ketosis and burn ketones for energy.

Today, the diet, also called the Atkins Nutritional Approach, comes in three versions.

Atkins 20 is for people who:

  • Want to lose more than 40 pounds
  • Have a waist circumference of over 35 inches or 40 inches , or
  • Have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

Atkins 40 is for people who:

  • Want to lose fewer than 40 lb
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding, and want to lose weight
  • Require a diet with a wider variety of foods

Atkins 100 is for people who:

  • Want to maintain their current weight
  • Are breastfeeding and trying to maintain their weight

Before trying any version of the Atkins diet and especially if you are pregnant and considering Atkins 100 check with your healthcare team.

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Recipes For Atkins Induction Meals

Theres an excellent low carb forum from A Pinch of Health where Atkins Induction approved recipes are posted daily.

This forum is a must for new Induction meal ideas. There are over 120 Induction friendly low carb recipes listed. More are added every day.

Categories include beef, veal, poultry, pork, lamb, soups, veggies, eggs, baked foods, desserts and sweets.

How To Follow A Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet In A Healthy Way

A small study published in February 2014 in BMJ Open found that participants lost about 15 lb after six months on the vegan version of the Eco Atkins diet.

Vegans and vegetarians on the Atkins diet should also take a multivitamin and a fish oil supplement to ensure theyre getting proper amounts of nutrients. Its also recommended that those on the Eco Atkins version of the diet jump right into Atkins 20 phase 2 or Atkins 40 since the induction phase can be very difficult.

Also Check: How Does Keto Diet Work

Cons Of The Atkins Diet

For many people, an Atkins diet is a major departure from their typical eating pattern. That can mean some discomfort, as well as difficulty sticking with the program.

  • Expensive: Even if you dont buy pre-packaged Atkins foods, the diet requires plenty of protein sources and limits cheaper, processed foods. For this reason, it might be more expensive than your usual diet.
  • May be challenging: If you currently consume a standard American diet, adjusting to an Atkins plan may be challenging, especially if you choose to go on the Atkins 20 plan. Additionally, even though you dont have to count calories on the Atkins diet, you need to count carbs, calculate net carbs, and balance carbs between meals and snacks. Youll also need to use food lists to make sure youre consuming compliant foods.
  • Side effects: Typically, people consume most of their calories from carbohydrates. Cutting back on carbs can lead to symptoms including headaches, fatigue, mood swings, and constipation.
  • Short-term weight loss: The fast weight-loss effects you might experience on the Atkins diet could be short-lived. Much of the initial weight loss will likely be due to water loss from limited carbohydrates. Regaining weight can be frustrating and demotivating for many people.

The Atkins 20 Diet: How It Works

Atkins Diet Plans

The Atkins diet has evolved since its creation in 1972. There are now two Atkins diets: Atkins 20 and the new Atkins 40, which is less strict .

The main features of the diet haven’t changed: Lose weight and improve health by eating a low-carbohydrate diet that consists of:

The diet has an Atkins Food Guide Pyramid that helps explain the Atkins method. At the top of the pyramid are foods that you can eat a little of — but only after you have lost weight. These include whole grains such as:

Missing from the Atkins Food Pyramid are “white” foods — forbidden foods that you should avoid. These include:

You can eat between 25 and 50 Net Carbs daily. Phase 2 lasts until you are about 10 pounds from your desired weight.

Phase 3 — Pre-maintenance. During phase 3, you continue to add a variety of carbohydrates to your diet, including more:

  • Starchy vegetables

You can eat 50 to 80 Net Carbs daily. Phase 3 lasts for at least a month after reaching your desired weight.

Phase 4 — Lifetime maintenance. Once you reach your ideal weight, you continue to eat a predominantly low-carbohydrate diet for life. By this time, you should have a good idea of how many carbohydrates you can eat to maintain your weight.

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Pros Of The Atkins Diet

Since weight loss can improve many health outcomes,2 the Atkins diet may confer benefits by successfully helping people lose weight. It may also offer other helpful side effects.

  • Provides options: Choosing the less restrictive Atkins plans may offer a less complicated and effective way to lose weight. A review of diets for weight loss and blood pressure reduction showed that at 6 months, the Atkins diet produced an average of 12 pounds of weight loss, the highest in the study. However, at 12 months, weight loss diminished in all diets, including Atkins. Researchers concluded that at 12 months the effects on weight reduction and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors largely disappear.3
  • Prepackaged meals available: For many busy people, this work may seem overwhelming. As an alternative, consumers can choose to purchase an Atkins meal plan and get pre-packaged meals, smoothies, and snacks.
  • Increases nutritious food intake: Followers of the Atkins diet are likely to replace those less healthy foods with more nutrient-dense ones, such as those on the Atkins Acceptable Foods lists. That means a likely increase in intake of important micronutrients and macronutrients .
  • Satiety: Protein and fat are digested slowly and have a high satiety rate. The Atkins diet may keep you more satisfied with your meals than other weight-loss diets, which in turn could lead to better compliance.

Phase 1 Atkins Meal Plan

It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with Atkins‘ list of Phase 1 acceptable foods as you get started with the diet. Don’t starve yourself, and aim to eat every three to four hours throughout the day. Drink plenty of water, too â the Mayo Clinic recommends at least eight glasses a day.

After induction, you’ll gradually start adding carbs back into your diet. For now, focus on learning the carb content of foods, reading nutrition labels for net carb content and experimenting with different Atkins diet recipes of your own.

Below are a few ideas for Atkins diet recipes and foods to try in Phase 1. For your meats, avoid processed meat, bacon and ham that has been cured with sugar, as well as cold cuts and other meats with nitrates and other preservatives. Choose one item from each section for your meals throughout the week.

Meal 1: Breakfast

  • Spinach and cheese omelet topped with salsa and sliced avocado
  • Lean strips of steak sautéed with allowed vegetables, such as sliced onion and bell peppers
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese and cucumber
  • Two eggs with bacon and ½ cup of allowed vegetables
  • Loaded veggie omelet cooked with allowed vegetables

Meal 2: Lunch

  • Salad with mixed greens topped with diced raw vegetables and grilled chicken
  • Tuna salad spooned into fresh avocado halves
  • Atkins-brand frozen entree like Italian sausage primavera
  • Chicken or turkey meatballs served over spaghetti squash
  • Lean beef stir-fry with broccoli, bok choy and onion

Meal 3: Dinner

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Phases Of Atkins Diet

Atkins diet runs in phases, these phases are structured to ensure your smooth transition into dieting.

The phases run such that you are consciously aware that you have a goal and easily fit in without feeling you are been hard on yourself. Lets take a rundown on the phases

Phase 1: This is a mild introduction to your dieting plan, you are obligated to take below 20grams of carbs per day for 2 weeks while eating within the confines of what the Atkins diet finds suitable.

Phase 2: This phase does some justice to striking a balance while sustaining the low-carb diet allows you to add a little quantity of fruit to your diet.

Phase 3: It is not considered a crime to add more carbs to your diet in this phase, it achieves fine-tuning because of observed weight loss, so you keep fit and be in good shape.

Phase 4: This phase allows you to take in as many healthy carbs as your body can take without adding weight. The phase is that point where you have set standards to keep fit for a lifetime.

These phases are a little subjective to individuals, if you start taking as much carb as your body can take and at the slightest add weight kindly stick to a phase that works for you and sustains/maintains your progress on weight loss/keeping fit.

General Guidelines For The Atkins Phase 1 Meal Plan

Losing Weight with Atkins Diet Plan: A Beginnerâs Guide
  • Include all the food options that are high in proteins and healthy fats
  • You are only permitted to consume carbs in the form of vegetables during phase 1
  • Dont go for more than 6 hours without eating during the day
  • Consume 4-5 small meals during the day to provide enough time to your body for the digestion process
  • Ensure taking the required multivitamin tablets to fulfill the daily nutritional requirements after consulting with your doctor or physician.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water to keep your body hydrated and avoid any kidney-related issues

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Infographic: Celebrities Who Followed The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet has caught the attention of many, even the popular residents of Tinseltown. They have gushed about this low-carb diet for its effectiveness in shedding pounds. Despite switching to other diets or fitness plans, their weight loss journey is etched in our minds, and the results of this diet couldnt have been clearer.

Check out the infographic below to find out which celebs were ardent supporters of the Atkins diet once upon a time.

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Atkins diet comprises protein- and fat-rich foods and eliminates carbohydrates to a large extent. It has proven weight loss benefits and is ideal for sustained results. Moreover, this four-phase diet is easy to follow and helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, enhance metabolism, and build lean muscle mass. Vegetarians and vegans can go for alternative protein sources like tofu, soy milk, mushroom, lentils, and beans. Following this diet, along with the workout plan mentioned above, can help bring out the best results. However, you may experience mild side effects like nausea, fatigue, headache, etc. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor/dietitian before starting this diet.

The Three Versions Of The Atkins Diet

Depending on your weight loss goals, the Atkins website recommends following one of their three eating plans:

  • Atkins 20® where you start out by eating 20 grams of net carbs per day.
  • Atkins 40® where you start out eating 40 grams of net carbs per day.
  • Atkins 100 where you start out eating 100 grams of net carbs per day diet plan.

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Is The Atkins Diet Healthy

Before deciding to dive head first into a new diet, its important to check out its pros and cons to make sure its the best option for you. Like most things, the Atkins diet plan has a variety of pros and cons. Well go through each here so you can make an informed decision on whether or not the Atkins diet plan is right for you.

Though some might find the Atkins diet plan restrictive, its actually full of hearty options such as steak and seafood, in addition to healthy carbohydrates like leafy greens. Because dieters on the Atkins diet are allowed to indulge on meat and veggies, theyre less likely to feel those afternoon hunger pangs. In addition, knowing whats allowed and whats not allowed teaches dieters the difference between healthy carbs and not-so-healthy carbs, giving them the knowledge they need to figure out what works for weight loss and what doesnt. Of course, this brings us to the biggest pro the Atkins diet plan has to offer: significant weight loss!

However, some individuals may experience Atkins diet side effects, including decreased energy levels, dehydration, halitosis , and binge eating all of which are associated with cutting carbs.

With all of these side effects, many potential dieters have probably wondered: How safe is the Atkins diet?

Adding Carbs Back: When And How Many

Atkins Diet Plan, Meal, Menu And Foods

After two weeks, you can either stay in phase 1 for as long as you like or slowly start adding carbs back in phase 2 ).

If you have a lot of weight to lose, you may want to stay in phase 1 indefinitely. Youre likely to lose weight more rapidly if you continue eating very low carb.11 Once you feel ready, move on to phase 2.

However, if you want to lose weight more gradually and have more foods to choose from, move on to phase 2 now.

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How To Tell If You Should You Try The Atkins Diet

Castillo recommends proceeding with caution before trying to adopt a new diet like Atkins.

“Prior to starting any diet it is important to always consult with both a registered dietitian and your physician, as there may be certain instances where a low-carbohydrate diet may not be the right fit for you,” he says.

For example, the diet would not work for, highly “active individuals since carbs are the main source of energy for the body,” he says.

He adds that there are often unwelcome side effects. “Typically, low carbohydrate diets can cause you to feel weak, fatigued, constipated, dizzy or even cause headaches, which is why it is important to consult an expert prior.”

According to Castillo, the most important factor to consider is that going on the Atkins diet may lead to a deficit in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, so a comprehensive plan would ensure these nutritional needs are met.

Atkins 14 Day Diet Plan

The Atkins website says that it is a common misconception that the two-week induction phase of the diet represents the whole Atkins diet. Induction, or phase 1, is only one of four steps designed to first accelerate weight loss, then to maintain weight loss and finally to maintain your ideal weight. The initial 14-day phase 1 diet gets you started.

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