Atkins Diet

Proven Step-By-Step Guide (2020)

This is a complete guide to the Atkins Diet Plan 2020.

If you’ve been wondering about the meaning of Atkins Diet and how to execute the diet plan succesfully, you are in the right hands.

In this article you will learn everything you need to know before starting this diet plan. You will also learn about some of the most famous people who follow the Atkins Diet.

Let’s dive straight into the article!

everything included

Don’t have time to read the whole guide right now?

no worries

No worries. Let me send you a copy so you can read it when it’s convenient for you. Just let me know where to send it (takes 5 seconds):



Chapter 1

What is Atkins Diet?

why to choose atkins

Chapter 2

Why Choose Atkins Diet?

making the change

Chapter 3

Making The Change

pros and cons

Chapter 4

Pros and Cons Of The Atkins Diet

weightloss and Atkins

Chapter 5

Weight Loss With Atkins Diet.

Grocery List

Chapter 6

Fundamental Grocery List

workouts and Atkins

Chapter 7

Atkins Diet And Workouts


Chapter 8

What Do Celebrities Say


Chapter 9

Atkins Diet Recipes

Atkins during Pregnancy

Chapter 10

Atkins Diet During Pregnancy

summary & takeaways + FAQs

Chapter 11

Summmary & Takeaways + FAQs


What Is Atkins Diet?

You may have heard about Atkins Diet but you are not sure whether its the perfect diet for you.

Don’t worry! We got you covered in this step-by-step guide where you will learn everything you need to know before getting on the plan.

Let’s start with the definition of this diet.


What Is Atkins Diet?

Atkins Diet is a low-carb diet, which is usually favored for weight loss. The Atkins diet was originally created by the physician Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who wrote a best-selling book about it in 1972.


Proponents of the diet claim that you can lose weight while eating as much protein and fat as you want, however, you have to avoid foods high in carbs.


4 phases of atkinsThis diet plan consists of 4 phases for losing weight and maintaining it. Atkins diet is considered the launching of all low-carbs diets trend.


But, high-protein, low-carb, and high-fat? That sounds familiar. Isn’t this a ketogenic diet? It sure sounds like a keto diet but there is a difference between the two.

So, what’s the difference between Keto and Atkins Diet?

It’s simple. When you are being on a keto you are cutting out most of the carbs and they stay low. The Atkins Diet, however, starts with reducing your carb intake to 20g/day. At least in Phase 1.

Then you are progressively increasing your carb intake and start consuming more of your favorite fruits, something restricted in keto.


On Atkins Diet, you are also consuming more protein – 30% of your daily calorie intake (on keto you are eating around 20%). Since you are increasing your carbs intake, the Atkins diet is more flexible when it comes down to eating favorite fruits and veggies.


To sum up, the Atkins diet is a less restrictive approach because you don’t have to stay in constant ketosis.

But what is ketosis?

In normal circumstances, the body’s cells use glucose as their main source of energy. People can usually attain glucose from dietary carbs, including sugars and starchy foods.

Overall, it should take you 2–4 days to enter ketosis. On the other hand, some people might need a week or longer. The time it takes depends on different factors, like your age, exercise level, and current carb, protein, metabolism and fat intake.

The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Eventually, it either uses glucose as fuel or stores it in the liver and muscles as glycogen.

In the case there isn’t enough glucose available to provide enough energy, the body will adopt an alternative strategy to meet those needs. In specific, it begins to break down fat stores and use glucose from triglycerides.

Can you lose muscle in a ketosis state?


It basically goes like this. Most experts admit that carbohydrates are a necessary nutrient for active individuals and for people, who try to build or maintain muscle mass. You should know that low-fat diets like keto and Atkins are better than entering starvation mode.

When clarifying the idea behind the high-protein, high-fat diets, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics acknowledges that a total fast or starvation (hunger) would usually lead to breaking down the lean muscle mass of the body for energy.

Yet, the Atkins diet still gives the body calories and is not a starvation diet, it doesn’t cause the same muscle loss.

Now, let’s get into details with the 4 Phases of Atkins.

What are the 4 Phases of the Atkins Diet?

  1. Phase 1 (induction)

Under 20 grams of carbs in a day for 2 weeks. Eat high-fat, high-protein, with low-carb vegetables like spinach. This makes your weight loss journey faster.

When you limit the number of carbs you consume to around 20g a day, your body will change its main fuel source from carbs to fat.

Every part of the New Atkins plan is based on proven scientific principles. The Atkins diet is also a completely safe, natural way to lose weight.

Take a look into our 7 tips for starting Phase 1 of Atkins:

  1. Consume 20g of carbs per day.
  2. More than a half from this carbs should come from cooked vegetables and salad – you would be surprised that there are 26g of carbs in one medium banana (118g). Corn, for example, has 27g of carbs per cup. A general note here – the greener the better!
  3. Eat a minimum of 115-175 grams of protein-rich food for every meal (up to 225g for taller men)
  4. You can also take a daily iron-free multivitamin tablet and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. However, keep in mind that if you eat whole unprocessed foods you won’t need any supplements.
  5. Drink 8 glasses of water or 2 liters minimum (or other acceptable drinks) per day.
  6. Eat 3 average-sized meals a day or 4-5 smaller meals.
  7. Try not to neglect and skip any meals and never go any longer than 6-7 hours without eating.

The induction phase is about helping you differentiate hunger from habit, and changing the amount of food you consume to make sure your appetite decreases.

  1. Phase 2 (balancing): 

If you don’t have that much fat to cut, you are a vegetarian or just want a greater food variety, you can skip the induction phase and start the Atkins Diet from here.

You’ll start Phase 2 by eating 25 grams of net carbs daily, and then begin to increase overall carb intake in 5-gram increase. By the end of this phase, you should find that your carb balance holds between 30 and 80 daily grams of net carbs.

Phase 2 usually lasts until you’re within 10 pounds of your goal weight. Yet, depending on your personal weight loss goals, you might choose to transition into Phase 3 sooner. Early transitioning is recommended for those of you who are vegetarian or looking to slow the rate of their weight loss.

Do that by simply add more nuts, low-carb vegetables, and small amounts of fruit back to your diet. In phase 2 of the Atkins diet you will discover your carb tolerance – that’s the level of carbs you can consume per day and still losing weight at a steady pace.

Here are 10 Tips For Phase 2 of Atkins Diet:

  1. Continue to take your multivitamin, multimineral, and omega-3 supplements.
  2. Monitor your daily carb intake – which you can do using “MyFitnessPal”.
  3. Remember, weight loss in this phase usually happens at a steadier pace than in Phase 1. Have patience! If you stick to a few rules, you will get to your goal.
  4. By escalating your carbs slowly, you’ll find out exactly how many carbs you can consume while still working towards your goal weight. It’ll form the foundation of your low carb lifestyle in the long term.
  5. You can now add a variety of foods to your diet like seeds, berries, nuts, and some cheeses.
  6. Vegetarians start at solid 30g of carbs per day
  7. You can add an extra 5g of carbs per week (up to 40g) to find your carb tolerance.
  8. You can now enjoy Atkins food products.
  9. Eat plenty of natural fats. – if you want to get more information about good and bad fats, check our low-fat diet guide.
  10. Drink eight glasses of water or other beverages like herbal teas per day.
  1. Phase 3 (fine-tuning): 

When you’re very near to your goal weight, add more carbs to your diet until weight loss slows down. Phase 3 is all about helping you establish and maintain a long-term way of eating so you can stay happy and healthy for good.

Phase 3 is also about building up your carb tolerance, so when you’re ready to move on to Phase 4, you know what works for you in the long-term.

There are 2 main things you have to remember for this phase.

  • Listen to your body

listen to your bodyDuring Phase 3, you should increase your carb intake by 10g per week. This is so you can find your carb balance – the ideal level that allows you to reach your goal weight and stay there. We are all different, so it is just trial and error. Take your time and listen to your body.

By the time you reach your goal weight and have kept it there for a month, you should have a pretty clear picture of what amount and type of carbs your body can handle, and what it can’t.

  • Fine-tuning your carbs

If your cravings come back or your weight loss hits a plateau, drop your carb intake by 10g for a week, then add an extra 5g until you find your balance. In this final ‘fine-tuning’ stage of your plan, you’ll find the balance between what you can consume and maintain your ideal weight.


Here are 3 BONUS Tips for Phase 3 of the Atkins Diet:

  1. You can add an extra 10g of carbs per week (up to 100g) to find your carb balance
  2. You can now add a variety of foods like pulses, starchy veg, and more fruits.
  3. Monitor your daily carb intake – which you can do using a useful app called “MyFitnessPal” 
  4. Phase 4 (maintenance): 

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard work. You have achieved your dream weight. Phase 4 is all about maintaining this weight for good. Here you can eat as many healthy carbs (fruits and veggies) as your body can tolerate without gaining back the weight. (yet, stay away from eating processed or packaged foods because they are high in calories)

Keep in mind, that daily activity plays a major role here. The carbs intake differentiate as per the amount of energy you burn. So, the best way to constantly make progress is by knowing your body and how it tolerates different carb intake. You can do that by simply maintaining a journal of the foods you eat.

Despite the fact you’ve achieved your goal weight, maintaining it can be a hard task. There will be times when you step outside the path. Don’t worry! Everybody has cravings and gains a little weight at some point. Let that don’t demotivate you.

If you happen to gain a couple of extra pounds, drop your carbs to 10-20g to stay in control of the situation.

If you go back and keep the carb balance that you’ve refined over the last weeks and months, there’s nothing in the world to stop you from staying at your goal weight for good.

In Phase 4, you can minimize your fat intake and increase your carbs consumption. Yet, having a daily activity is more important to stay healthy than any diet. So, if you haven’t started exercising yet, now would be the perfect time to do so!

Bottom Line: You learned the definition of the Atkins Diet and went through all 4 Phases of this meal plan. You have also learned how is the Atkins Diet different from Keto.

Stay tuned because in the next chapter, you will learn why is the diet healthy and why to choose it instead of other diets.


Why Choose Atkins Diet?

In this Chapter, we will break down all of the reasons why you should follow this diet.

The Atkins Diet is one of the most popular methods for losing weight and maintaining health.

However, losing weight is not everything that comes with the diet. Decreasing the risk of some cancers, disease prevention, and a positive impact on the treatment of acne are only a couple of benefits that come with Atkins.

Keep reading to find out more!

why to choose atkins

Why Choose Atkins Diet?

You have a basic understanding of what the Atkins Diet means. You almost certainly want to lose weight but did you know there are many more benefits to start with this diet today. Let’s find out why to choose the Atkins diet.

These are most of the health-related benefits that come with the Atkins Diet. If you are the type of person who doesn’t have any illnesses, go to chapter 4 and see all pros and cons of the diet. For those of you who are always curious, keep reading.

  • GERD

Preliminary discoveries on a study from 2006 show that a low-carb diet may help alleviate gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you want to know more about GERD and how a diet can alleviate it, check our Gerd Diet Guide.

Typically foods with caffeine or that are high in fat are shown to contribute to acid reflux, but this survey shows that a low-carb diet may help prevent symptoms usually brought on by those foods.

This initial study suggests more research must be done analyzing the effect of low-carbohydrate diets on GERD.

    • ACNE


There has been growing research on the effect nutrition has on skin health. In a 2012 review published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, the role of carbohydrates was examined on the expansion of acne, with the hypothesis that a extremely low carb diet may have a positive impact on the cure of acne.


heartA study conducted in 2014 examines the role of low-carb diets and the way they might help decrease cardiovascular disease risk factors but also risks for hypertension and stroke.

The use of a low-carb diet just like Atkins has been shown to not only help with weight loss but also improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. The diet also decreases inflammation – all factors related to cardiovascular disease.


Obesity is one of the factors related to the increased risk for a few cancers, so naturally, if the Atkins diet is shown to make people lose weight and maintain their weight loss, the impact on decreasing the chance of getting some cancers is positive. cancer

Examples include findings from a 2012 study within the Journal of National Cancer Institute that show that higher total carbohydrate intake and better dietary glycemic load were related to an increased risk of recurrence and mortality in stage III colon cancer.

That means that the Atkins diet (which is of course low glycemic) may help in improving the survival rates in colon cancer.

Another study in Nutrition and Cancer (2010) proved that a low-carb diet just like the Atkins helped overweight women breast cancer survivors lose weight – decreasing their risk for cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related diseases, moreover as a recurrence of breast cancer.


A high-calorie diet is related to an increased risk of cognitive impairment. During a 2012 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it had been shown that the danger of mild cognitive impairment or dementia was raised in people who ate a high-carb diet, which led to the conclusion that the Atkins diet has a role in lowering the chance of getting dementia.

  • PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most typical endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age and is related to obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance.

Because low carbohydrate diets just like the Atkins and Keto are shown to decrease insulin resistance, a pilot study (Nutrition and Metabolism, 2005) examined the six-month metabolic and endocrine effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) on overweight and obese women with PCOS.

In this pilot study, an LCKD led to significant weight gain, percent free testosterone, LH/FSH ratio, and fasting insulin in women with obesity and PCOS over 24 weeks.

Another 2013 pilot study within the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed similar positive results – Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome/Insulin Resistance


More than thirty studies starting from 2004 to 2014 back up the use of a Modified Atkins Diet in helping ease the symptoms of epilepsy and related seizure disorders in adults and youngsters.

This was especially encouraging for kids diagnosed with childhood epilepsy who aren’t responding to the seizure control medications. The Modified Atkins Diet is created by Dr. Eric Kossoff at John Hopkins. Dr. Kossoff has also published a book titled:

“Ketogenic Diets Treatments for Epilepsy and Other Disorders” – Fifth Edition. You can find info for the book here.


Bottom Line: We covered some of the benefits of the diet. You know what is the diet and you learned why to choose it. However, you don’t know how to start.

Don’t worry! We got you covered in the next chapter where you will learn how to successfully make the transition and start with the Atkins Diet!


Making The Change

You have decided that you want to follow this plan. You don’t know how to make the switch.

In this Chapter, we are going to give you the basics of starting the change and adapting to it.

Be aware that every beginning is tough. However, with the essential knowledge in this chapter, you will be more ready than ever for making the change.

making the change

Making The Change

If you have decided that the Atkins Diet is the right diet for you, then congratulations! You have made the first step – the most important step of all. The motivation to change has made you take that decision. 

Now you have to make the transition from your current eating habits to Phase 1 of the Atkins diet. In other guides like the candida diet or the intermittent fasting plan, we usually recommend taking baby steps with every diet.

Starting small and progressing every day may seem like a wise option for many but with this specific diet, the different phases do that for you.

With the Atkins diet, you just have to do it. Starting with the initial phase of the diet may seem tough, especially if you are used to eating all types of junk food with bad fats included (bad fats are all trans and saturated fats).

Our advice for you here is to stay consistent! Motivation is what makes you start at the beginning but dedication and consistency are what make you continue. 

Remember that losing weight is only possible if you burn more calories than you consume – in other words, being in a calorie deficit

Okay, I will start the diet but what can I eat during the Atkins diet?

We have a detailed list of that too. In fact, we are going to cover every food that you can or cannot eat right now.

healthy foodsFoods To Eat

  • Full-fat dairy: cheese, butter, cream, full-fat yogurt.

  • Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and avocado oil.

  • Fatty fish and seafood: Salmon, trout, sardines, etc.

  • Meats: Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, bacon, and others.

  • Eggs: The healthiest eggs are omega-3 fully or pastured.

  • Low-carb vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, salad greens, asparagus, and others.

  • Low-fat Fruits: high fiber fruit like apples, citrus, and berries

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

  • Complex carbs like legumes and whole-grains are good but it depends on the phase you are in.

  • Beverages like water, coffee, and green tea are good-to-go options.

Foods like bacon, chocolate, and different cheeses also can be eaten. However, keep in mind that they have more fat content, which automatically adds to the total calories consumed per day.

At the end of the day, calories in versus calories out are what makes the biggest difference between losing fat and gaining weight.

unhealthy foodsFoods To Avoid

  • High-carb vegetables: Carrots, turnips, etc (induction only).

  • High-carb fruits: Bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes (induction only).

  • Starches: Potatoes, sweet potatoes (induction only)

  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc. (induction only)

  • Fruits with high sugar content, such as pineapple, mango, papaya, and banana

  • Sweets & Sugars: Soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, candy, ice cream…

  • Grains: Wheat, spelled, rye, barley, rice, white bread, pasta, and foods containing processed grains

  • Vegetable oils: Soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and a few others.

  • Trans fats: Usually found in processed foods with the word “hydrogenated” on the ingredients list.

  • “Diet” and “low-fat” foods: These are usually very high in sugar.

If you’re motivated by quick weight loss and can hold on a structure and a minimum of choices, you might choose to stay in Phase 1 beyond two weeks. To go through this process easier, as well as set the stage for when you do decide to move on here are 2 things to remember:

  • Continue to eat 20 grams of Net Carbs a day beyond the first two weeks.
  • Try adding nuts and seeds to your list of suggested foods to eat above. Nuts are full of protein and healthy fats and are nearly low in Net Carbs, because of their high fiber content.

Bottom Line: Starting the diet immediately may seem like your best option. Staying dedicated and follow your goal will lead you to success. 

So, you know how to start, however, we want to make sure you also know all positives and negatives of the diet. See you in chapter 4 where your whole picture of the Atkins diet will become clear.


Pros and Cons of the Atkins Diet

You are ready to make the switch but you are not sure whether this plan is the right for you.

In Chapter 4 you will learn all pros and cons of the diet and decide for yourself whether to start it or not.

Keep in mind that we want to make things crystal clear for you, so you won’t be having troubles making the choice.

Grab an apple and keep reading!

pros and cons

Pros and Cons of The Atkins Diet

When it comes down to something, it always comes with both positives and negatives. In chapter 2 you have learned some of the health-related benefits of the Atkins diet. Now, let’s take a look at the pros in general.

Pros Of The Atkins Diet

  • Drastically Improved Mood


Without the constant highs and lows in blood sugar which zap energy and drain your mood, you’ll find that you simply feel much brighter.


Food really does act like medicine when it involves the mind and when you might have previously eaten sugary foods once you felt low, this works against what you’re trying to realize and just leaves you feeling even unhappier.


With Atkins, you’ll be able to control your glucose, put a spring in your step, and avoid the sugary ‘highs’ and ‘lows’.


  • Stamina Improves


staminaOn the Atkins diet, after you’ve completed the initial phase to switch your body to ketosis (about 1-2 weeks) you should start to see a great lift in stamina levels.

Cardio will feel easier, you’ll be able to lift more weights or find you have more energy to keep up with the children. This is often due to your body adjusting to burning fat for energy.


Your body can even become a fat-burning machine now, however, as we are all different, it takes hours to days for that to happen, so be patient.

As we have a much greater supply of fat than carbs, energy levels soar. If however, you discover that you’re lacking in energy after 2 weeks on Atkins, try increasing salt intake


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt


Atkins is naturally diuretic. This means you need to recover the salt that’s lost when your water retention decreases.


Don’t worry though! On Atkins, you aren’t eating salty, processed foods so your intake will naturally be lower


  • More Focused

improved focusGive a kid a chunk of his favorite cake and see how it gets hyper right before your eyes. Children find it very hard to concentrate on one task as they bounce off the walls on a sugar high.


Well, the opposite happens once your body gets in ketosis. You find that mental focus improves dramatically.

This is a great positive of the Atkins diet that most people feel within a week or 2 of lowering their carbs.


  • Weight Loss

You were probably wondering where did this pro has gone. Well, there it is. The Atkins diet has a long history of successful weight loss. 


Many people have lost weight on this plan and also the diet has been studied in a great number of clinical trials. But if you’re considering Atkins for weight loss or weight maintenance, you will find that there’s a variety of studies with conflicting results.


Results from a big nutritional study were reported in 2019 at both the American Society of Nutrition and the American Diabetes Association conferences. The findings show that there’s not necessarily a single diet that meets the requirements of each individual, who tries to lose weight because each body is different.


Several of those studies have shown that there’s no difference between caloric restriction and carb restriction for long-term weight loss.

In addition, while there is some support for low-carb, higher-fat diets, there are still medical scientists who question if the diet is healthy or effective in the long-term.


  • No Calorie Counting

Even though I am a big fan of tracking calories and macronutrients, in the Atkins diet that isn’t necessary. 


Now, that doesn’t mean you should go crazy about eating everything your eyes see. It is usually recommended to eat more green veggies due to their low carbs percentage.

Take a glance into some veggies and their calories on a 100g of a product:

  • Arugula – 25 calories 

  • Lettuce – 15 calories

  • Cucumber – 15 calories

  • Celery – 16 calories

  • Radishes – 16 calories

  • Cabbage – 25 calories

  • Mushrooms – 26 calories

So, counting calories could be implemented initially because it creates valuable habits and knowledge of food nutrition. Track your macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) until you recognize how much you eat to maintain or decrease your body fat. Also the size of the portions and types of foods.

Yet, most nutrition experts acknowledge the importance of consuming the proper number of calories a day by day, they admit that trying to trace and monitor your intake daily may be tough for some people and may feel restrictive.


  • Clear Guidelines

bookThose of you who prefer a structured approach to eating will enjoy Atkins. Each phase of the program features a specific time or weight goal that’s clearly explained in detail.

For example, Phase 1 lasts for 2 weeks (in most situations). Phase 2 lasts until you’re 10 pounds from your goal weight. Phase 3 should last until you have been comfortably at your goal weight for four weeks.

Extensive lists of acceptable foods are available for every stage and portion sizes for every food category are clearly defined.


  • No More Hunger


Yes, it is true. I don’t like to consider Atkins as a ‘diet’ as this conjures up images of endless plates of lettuce leaves, egg white omelets, or worse – nothing.

The low carb, high protein approach does leave you feeling satisfied. I’d say one among the top 3 commonly asked questions from Atkins followers is “I’ve been on Atkins for a week and I’m just not hungry, can I skip a meal or two?”, to which the answer is, of course, always a convincing “no”.

The fact is that people feel too full and still drop pounds and they also feel great. What’s the reason for this?

Every Atkins meal is rich in protein and dietary fat (fat that comes from food) so it’s very satisfying.


  • Resources Available

If you do not wish to prepare your food all the time, Atkins snack bars and other meal replacements are an easy choice in many markets and discount stores.


However, keep in mind the amount of added sugars on the foods you consume. Always read the labels as there are also hidden sugars! 


This is a list of a couple of hidden sugars you should be aware of:

  • Barley malt

  • Barbados sugar

  • Beet sugar

  • Brown sugar

  • Buttered syrup

  • Cane juice

  • Cane sugar

  • Caramel

Cons Of The Atkins Diet

With so many benefits of the diet, you wonder what can go wrong? Well, here is a list of all cons of the diet.


  • Restrictive

Very low-carb diets like Atkins may be tough to follow due to their obligation for you to make too many changes from the start.

Many people follow a standard American diet before switching to Atkins. This traditional eating style is high in carbohydrates and foods or drinks with added sugars.

While the standard American diet is not 100% healthy, making large changes in a short period can backfire.

There are cases where a severe restriction can cause food binges, guilt, and weight gain. In addition, many nutrition experts suggest people to make small changes over an extended period of time, instead of undertaking an entire diet overhaul.


  • The Need To Count Net Carbs

On the Atkins plan, you are not counting calories, however, you do count net carbs. For some people, counting net carbs is as complicated and annoying as counting calories, in particular when you eat out with friends

Calorie counts are appearing more and more on restaurant menus. However, those menus that list calories often don’t list macronutrients – a.k.a proteins, fats, and carbs, which makes it impossible to know your net carb intake.

Also, there’s disagreement within the nutrition community about whether or not the idea of counting net carbs is beneficial for losing weight. The influence of sugar alcohols on metabolism is not fully understood.

Also, the definition of “net carb” isn’t certainly defined by the FDA. So you’ll eat food that advertises a very low net carb amount and it’s going to have more of an impact on your metabolism than you realize.

Be aware that everything has high carbs except proteins like meat, chicken, and green veggies. Remember that when you are eating out.


  • Side Effects

side effectsThe Atkins Diet concede that drastically cutting carbs in the early phase of the program may end up in some side effects, including:

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Constipation

On top of that, some very low carb diets restrict carbohydrates so much that they result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber, which may lead to health problems as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.


Keep in mind that eating high fiber carbs, whole grain carbs, and nutrient-dense carbs may improve the health profile of programs just like the Atkins Diet.


Also, the Atkins Diet has changed over time to help prevent health problems, and it now suggests taking a small amount of extra sodium, together with vitamins or supplements.


It’s also possible that restricting carbohydrates to less than 20 grams daily – the level recommended for phase 1 of the diet – may put you in ketosis. Side effects from ketosis can include nausea, headache, mental fatigue, and bad breath.


In addition, the Atkins Diet isn’t appropriate for everybody. For example, if you take any medications like diuretics, oral diabetes pills, or insulin, you should always consult with your doctor before getting on the Atkins plan.


Additionally, people with severe kidney disease shouldn’t follow the diet, and the weight-loss phases of the diet aren’t recommended for pregnant women.


  • Reduces Fruits And Grains Consumption

reduced foodsIf you are a fruit lover, you’ll find it hard to say goodbye to your favorite food. Whether or not you love fruits, the USDA recommends that you consume about two cups per day to get the important vitamins and nutrients that they bring.

Sooner or later, you’ll be able to add some fruit but in the early stages of the diet, you’ll need to stay away from healthy fruits like berries, bananas, apple, and citrus fruits to get into ketosis.

Once you are closer to your goal weight, you’ll be able to consume small amounts of low-carb fruits (raspberries for example) but be aware that many people aren’t able to stay in ketosis when they consume any fruit.

Consuming grains is another concern on the Atkins diet because grain-based foods are highly restricted – especially within the early phases.

Eating whole grains, however, may help you to meet the fiber guideline which varies from about 22 grams to 33 grams per day for adult men and women.


  • Reduced Fiber Intake (initial phase)

Fiber offers huge positives to your health, from controlling your appetite and regulating glucose to helping your digestion. Fiber is a carbohydrate, however, it doesn’t transform into glucose, it doesn’t raise your blood sugar like carbohydrates typically do. 

Fiber slows the glucose entering into the bloodstream. This, in turn, reduces the blood-sugar spikes that lead to insulin production and supports the body to produce and store body fat. Fiber also helps you feel full longer, leading to fewer food cravings.

Pro Tip: According to the Institute of Medicine the recommended amount of fiber is 19-38 grams per day (depending on age and gender)

Here are 5 tips to make your fiber intake higher on Atkins:

1. Start Slow

If you want to extend the fiber in your diet, be sure to do it slowly. Increasing the amount of dietary fiber in your diet way too quickly may result in gas, bloating, and even cramps.

Try snacking some walnuts and do it progressively.

2. Don’t Peel Veggies and Fruits

Leave the skin on veggies like carrots and cucumbers, and eat fruits like apple whole. Eating the skin gives your body a fantastic source of fiber and is a convenient way to slowly introduce more fiber into your diet.

3. Rise and Shine with Fiber Rich Grains

Breakfast may be transformed into one of the most fiber-rich meals of the day by changing the refined grains you eat with whole grains.

When making oatmeal, use steel-cut oats rather than rolled oats, or bake something but use high fiber coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour.

4. Sneak in the Veggies

Find ways to incorporate vegetables into each meal. Make veggies a necessary part of the recipe just like the Atkins recipes you will learn in chapter 9.

5. Go Veg for a Meal or Two

If you are ready to take your fiber game to the next level you may go vegetarian for a meal or even a day or two. Typically, many vegetarian meals are high in fiber and also low in carbs.


Bottom Line: Everything, whether it will be a new business, changing your workplace or a simple diet has cons. However, that doesn’t have to stop you from starting and succeeding.

In Chapter 5 we will delve deeper into weight loss, so keep on reading!


Weight Loss with Atkins Diet

weightloss and Atkins

Weight Loss And Atkins

Losing weight can be a difficult process for many. In fact, people think they will go on a diet and start losing weight immediately. 

That’s the tricky part right here. You can lose weight only if you are in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume). Every diet’s purpose is to put you in a deficit.

When you are following the Atkins diet your scale is going to drop down immediately. However, keep in mind that this weight is “water weight”. 

Weight loss isn’t a linear process. If you weigh yourself every day you will see that your weight goes up and down. 

But how can I be sure if I am really losing weight?

Here are 5 tips that may help you lose weight.


  1. Step on the scale EVERY DAY

You may find yourself in a situation where you are weighing yourself one day and see that your weight is down. However, after 2 days you decide to step on the scale again and see how many pounds more have you lost. 

Bad news. You are heavier than before and you wonder what happened. You decide the diet doesn’t work and quit. Sounds familiar?

To prevent this put yourself on the scale every morning right after waking up and after bathroom on an empty stomach. Weigh yourself in the same conditions (fixed hour, no food for about 12 hours) for 7 days. (no clothes, empty stomach, after bathroom). Write your weight down on paper or your mobile phone.

Every Sunday combine your currencies and divide them by 7! That’s your weekly weight. Compare it to the next week and the next, and the next. This method of weekly comparison is more reliable than daily comparison.

measuring tape

  1. Use a Measuring Tape.

Although, the previous tip works perfectly fine, keep in mind, that you can use other tools, not only the scale. Measure yourself with a measuring tape. Start with your waist, hips, shoulders, chest, and arms.

Write down your results!

Keep in mind that you have to measure yourself with fit clothing or no clothes at all, and always measure yourself at the same conditions.

Take a look into the basics of measuring yourself:

  • Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.

  • Chest: Measure just under your bust.

  • Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist.

  • Hips: Place the tape measure around the biggest part of your hips.

  • Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh.

  • Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf.

  • Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow.

  • Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.


  1. Take Pictures Weekly

Another useful tip to make sure you are progressing is to take pictures of yourself once a week in the same conditions. You are seeing your body every day and you can’t tell whether it is changing or not. This can lead to demotivation and quitting. taking pictures

However, taking pictures every week is a powerful tool that you can use to motivate yourself and others.

Take your pictures right after waking up on an empty stomach at a fixed time. Every Sunday is a good place to start!

  1. Manage Your Stress

If you are following a strict diet, exercising regularly but still can’t manage to lose these extra pounds, then this is because of the high stress your body is forced to.

You have to make sure that your body is functioning optimally and that your hormonal environment is in your favor.

Being stressed all the time keeps the body in a constant state of “fight or flight” — with increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

Having increased levels of cortisol may raise your hunger up and make you crave for junk food.


Pro Tip: Try to prevent stress with meditation or deep breathing. Every time you feel stressed, control your emotions. Take a deep breath and think for a little. This little trick can save your energy for something more optimal than a useless argument.

Exercising is also a great way to deal with stress. Exercising takes off stress because it releases the hormones of happiness like dopamine and endorphin.

  1. Increase Sleep Quality

sleeping womanSomething I always suggest people do is to invest in a nice and comfortable mattress. Think for a moment. You are spending ⅓ of your life in bed. Why not prepare to crush your day by having a deep, quality sleep?

Increasing the quality of your sleep may decrease your level of hunger the next day and increase your energy and productivity. When you are more focused and energetic, the chances you are removing the extra weight become higher


Bottom Line: Following the 5 tips mentioned above and combining them with the Atkins diet will make your weight loss journey easier.

On top of that, after the next chapter,  you will wonder no more what to buy on your next trip to the supermarket because you will have a detailed Atkins Diet grocery list in your pocket.


Essential Shopping List

Grocery List

9 Food Groups To Fill Your Cart With

  1. Meat, Seafood, Poultry, Eggs

A well-balanced low-carb meal usually has a rich protein source. Animal products contain vital nutrients, such as essential amino acids, vitamin B12, heme iron, and omega-3 fats.

For a low-carb breakfast, eggs are a cheap, quick, and easy option. They’re also a strong source of B vitamins and have choline, which boosts brain health. Try a hard-boiled egg, which has 6g of protein and 78 calories, as a snack or salad add-in.

For lunch and dinner protein, be careful with the meat options you consider. For example, red meat (especially when heavily processed) has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

The quality of the meat you eat will also be influenced by how the animals were raised: grass-fed, pasture-raised cows, chickens, and turkeys yield more healthy omega-3 fats than conventionally raised animals.

Having a steak or adding bacon to your breakfast are best as an occasional treat instead of a dietary staple.

For easy low-carb, protein-packed go-to-options, try:

  1. Sliced turkey

  2. Canned tuna and salmon

Tuna is a generally eaten species of fish. Yet, canned tuna is usually the most common source of mercury within the diet.

Mercury is a chemical often used in thermometers, thermostats, and automotive light switches. It is also put to use in industrial facilities like power plants, cement plants, and certain chemical manufacturers.

When released into the environment, mercury can become a public health issue when it settles into our oceans and waterways.

The FDA recommends that adults eat 3–5 ounces (85–140 grams) of fish 2–3 times a week to get enough omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients.

However, research indicates that regularly eating fish with a mercury concentration greater than 0.3 ppm may increase blood levels of mercury and spur health issues. Most species of tuna exceed this amount.

The downside health effect of consuming too much mercury are:

  • nervousness or anxiety.

  • irritability or mood changes.

  • numbness.

  • memory problems.

  • depression.

  • physical tremors.


These recommendations are based on EPA guidance and estimates of mercury in the most popular canned tunas:

  • Canned white, or albacore (0.32 parts per million of mercury). Children under six can eat up to one 3-ounce portion a month; children from 6-12, two 4.5-ounce portions a month. Adults, including pregnant women, can safely eat this kind of tuna up to three times a month (women, 6-ounce portions; men, 8-ounce portions)


  • Canned light, the safer choice (0.12 parts per million of mercury). Children under six can eat up to three 3-ounce portions per month. Older children and adults can safely eat it once a week. But look out for “gourmet” or “tonno” labels. They are made with bigger yellowfin tuna and can contain mercury levels comparable to canned white
  1. Grains and Legumes

Grains, such as rice, oats, quinoa, millet, burgels, and amaranth, as well as legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas, are high in carbohydrates: one half-cup of cooked brown rice has 34 grams of carbs. 

These foods won’t be a staple of your Atkins diet (especially in Phase 1), but when you do have them, stick to small portions (1/4 to a 1/3 cup).

Try these low-carb swaps instead, especially if you enjoy baking.

  • Coconut flour

  • Flour made with flax

  • Almond flour and meal

  1. Frozen Fruits And Veggies

Most of the foods you’d find in the produce aisle can also be purchased frozen. Having bags of frozen veggies on hand to toss in a quick stir fry or berries to add to a breakfast smoothie is convenient, tasty, and packed with nutrition.

The benefits of frozen fruits and veggies come with not having to shop too often.

  1. Fats And Oils

Whether you’re eating low-carb or not, foods with partially hydrogenated oils are best enjoyed in moderation. These oils contain trans fats, which increase harmful LDL cholesterol and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol.

Pro Tip:

  • Bad Fats are all trans fats (everything fried, junk food) and saturated fats (fat that comes from fatty meats). Good fats, on the other hand, are all monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. (fatty fish, oils, nuts, seeds)

If you want to learn more about different types of fats, check our Low-Fat Diet.

Sources of healthy, unsaturated fats to include on your Atkins grocery list, include:

  • Avocados

  • Nut butter (almond, cashew)

  • Seeds

  • Nuts

Is butter a healthy fat?

Thank you for asking! Butter is saturated fat, its effects on health are highly questionable.

For many years, the consumption of saturated-fat-rich foods like full-fat dairy products (butter) was believed to be the reason for heart disease.

Yet, recent research proves that, although eating saturated-fat-rich foods like butter might increase some heart disease risk factors, including LDL (bad) cholesterol, it doesn’t seem to increase the risk of heart disease itself.

While butter consumption may increase heart disease risk factors, current research doesn’t show a significant connection between butter intake and heart disease or stroke. This area of research is complicated and it requires deeper research.


  1. Dairy

Milk and milk products are allowed on a low-carb diet such as the Atkins diet but some options will be healthier than others. Stay away from flavored milk because it is high in sugar; one cup has almost 12 grams of carbs.

When you’re at the grocery, look for these options instead:

  • Full-fat milk and cream

  • Butter

  • Cottage cheese

  • Sour cream

  • Cheeses

  • Ricotta

  • Sugar-free yogurt


  1. Beverages

While water is essential, Atkins Phase 1 allows the following beverages for when you want to change things a little:

  • Flavored Zero-Calorie Seltzer Water

  • Diet Soda

  • Club Soda

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Kombucha

  • Water with lemon or lime

  • Coffee

  • Iced or hot Teas


  1. Cheese

You can add these delicious cheeses on a salad or just use them as a snack because they are all Atkins Phase 1 approved.

  • Blue

  • Cheddar

  • Goat cheese

  • Cream Cheese

  • Feta

  • American cheese

  • Gouda

  • Mozzarella

  • Parmesan

  • Swiss

  1. Non-starch Vegetables and Fruits

Always keep your head up for fresh herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, and oregano, which you can use to add flavor to meals and drinks.

Fruits are quite tricky on the Atkins Diet. Some fruits can have 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving. My go-to option here is watermelon, which has only 7g of carbs per serving of 100g and is filling.

When you’re choosing “produce”, search for berries and melons which are the fruits lowest in sugar.

Other options that you can eat are:

  • Blueberries – 83 calories with 21g of carbs per 1 cup

  • Raspberries – 10 calories with 2.3g of carbs per 10 raspberries

  • Strawberries – 70 calories with 17g of carbs per 8 medium strawberries

  • Cantaloupe or honeydew melon – 50 calories with 12g of carbs per 130g

For example, sweet cherries, apples, and bananas range from 100-140 calories and 26 to 36 grams of carbs.

This review published in 2018 shows that diets rich in dark leafy greens may help lower your risk for many chronic diseases like heart attack, stroke, and even some types of cancer.

Here are some of the options you can rely on:

  • Arugula

  • Lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chard

  • Kale