Atkins Diet – Food List by Phase

The Atkins Nutritional Approach ™ is a great way to lose weight. We have already discussed how and why low-carbohydrate high-fat diets work in this article. In this article we will  give you a quick overview of four phases of Atkins program and what exactly you will be able to eat during each phase.

Phase 1: Induction

Despite Induction is the most restrictive phase of Atkins diet, you are encouraged to eat until you are full. However you must limit your carbohydrate intake to no more than 20 grams per day otherwise the trick won’t work. Here is the list of foods you can enjoy during the Induction:

  • Fish. (Avoid breaded fish and fish products that contain added ingredients such as crab sticks.)
  • Fowl.
  • Shellfish. (You must limit oysters and mussels to four ounces per day. The reason for that is that oysters and mussels are higher in carbohydrates than other types. You can enjoy shrimps, lobster, clams, squid and other types of shellfish without any restriction. )
  • Meat (You can have pure meats however you should avoid processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami and hot dogs. You should avoid meat products that are not exclusively meat, i.e. contain other ingredients, such as starches and sugar. Breaded meats are a no-no. Organ meats should be limited to  four ounces per day.)
  • Eggs.
  • Cheese. (Three to four ounces per day. Some good choices include Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, and cream cheese. Farmer’s cheese and cottage cheese are not okay.)
  • Salad vegetables (Two to three cups per day. This includes alfafa sprouts, arugula, bock choy, celery, chicory, chives, cucumber, daikon, endive, escarole, fennel, jicama, lettuce, mache, mushrooms, parsley, peppers, radicchio, radishes, romaine, sorrel.)
  • Other vegetables. (One cup  per day. All vegetables have different carbohydrate content, so it’s best to check your carb-counter for each.)
  • All spices and herbs.
  • Fats and oils. (Olive oil is the best choice.)
  • Caffeine- and sugar-free drinks. In addition you must make sure that your drinks don’t contain aspartame – an artificial sweetener that sometimes interferes with weight loss (that’s what Dr Atkins recommended, but it seems like most people can get away with caffeine and diet sodas just fine).
  • You can use Splenda to sweeten your drinks.
  • In addition Dr Atkins allows you to add some variety to your menu – ten to twenty olives, half a small avocado, one ounce of sour cream or three ounces of unsweetened heavy cream, two to three tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice.


Phase 2: Ongoing Weight Loss

During this phase you will continue eating low-carbohydrate high-quality protein and fat diet. You will be adding 5 grams of carbohydrate each week. This means you will go from 20 grams of carbohydrate per day to 25 grams during your first week, then 30 grams during your second week and so on until you’ll notice that your weight loss stopped.

In addition to the foods listed above you will be eating such foods as:

  • berries
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • even more vegetables


Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance

Same foods as in phase 1 and 2. You can add legumes if you wish

Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance

You will be adding such foods as:

  • whole unrefined grains
  • fruits
  • all vegetables

However you are requested to exercise caution and use your carb-counter to control the amount of carbohydrate you consume each day. Most people can consume 45 to 100 grams of carbohydrate per day without gaining weight.


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