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The Atkins Diet – The Original Low Carb Diet

Updated on June 18, 2011

The Atkins Diet Is the First Low Carb

Low Carb Diets Are Good For Fast Weight Loss
Low Carb Diets Are Good For Fast Weight Loss

Is the Original Low Carb Diet Still The Best?

The Atkins Diet was developed by Dr Atkins in response to the low calorie diets on the market that he saw as not working in the long term to help individuals in their weightloss goals. The diet is explained in full in Dr Atkins' book, Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution, which is available for around $8 in almost all book stores both online and in the high street. The book has sold over 10 million copies so far. Dr Atkins believed that in order to lose weight quickly and permanently, whilst not depriving yourself of tasty food, you had to cut out carbohydrates from the diet rather than fat. Therefore the Atkins Diet, also known as The Atkins way of eating, is a high fat, medium protein and low carb diet.

To start the diet you begin with a phase called Induction. The Induction phase lasts a minimum of two weeks, and for at least this two week period you must not eat any foods that are not on the Allowed Foods list. Those foods which are on the list include all types of meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, seafood, eggs, and fats as well as butter, cheese, full fat cream cheese, double cream and sweetener. You are allowed sugar free jelly and cream so this makes an ideal desert. It is recommended that you cut out caffeine for the two weeks, because caffeine may have an effect on cravings for sugar and the purpose of this phase is to enter a state of ketosis which will stave off hunger and prevent cravings for starchy or sugary carbohydrates.

Also on the Induction Phase of the Atkins Diet you are permitted to eat up to three cups of vegetables, one of which can be cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or many others, whilst a minimum of two cups must be salad greens including all types of lettuce, cucumber, celery, radish and spring onions. Some vegetables, such as carrots, peas, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beetroot, are not allowed on the diet.

You are encouraged to eat fats liberally in all phases of the Atkins Diet. So you are allowed sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil or any other oil, butter, mayonnaise or cream based dressings on your salad and vegetables, and you are allowed to fry all of your meats, poultry and shellfish, etc.

After a minimum of two weeks to a maximum of a few months, you move on to the next phase of the Atkins Diet, Ongoing Weight Loss, where you gradually add other foods to your diet in a ladder style – you add nuts and seeds, berries, other fruits, wholegrains, etc leaving a few weeks between each stage so you can monitor your weightloss for stalls or slight gains, and cut back accordingly. Many people decide to stick to the Induction Phase long term however, simply increasing their daily carbohydrates slightly until they reach a level where their weightloss plateaus.

An example menu on the Atkins Diet:


Scrambled eggs with cream

Fried bacon

Low carb sausages


Soft boiled eggs and asparagus spears for dipping


Tuna mayonnaise salad – tuna mayo, hard boiled eggs, crispy bacon garnish, lettuce, cucumber, spring onions, cheddar cheese


Ham and cream cheese wraps



Fried egg

Salad of lettuce, cucumber and spring onions

Sugar free jelly and whipped double cream


Coffee with double cream and sweetener

Green Tea


Any other sugar free drinks

A weight loss of around 7lb in the first two weeks can be expected, which can be a lot more depending on how much weight you have to lose and your diet before beginning the Atkins Diet. One key tip is to drink plenty of water to a.) prevent constipation and b.) speed up weightloss. If you do suffer with constipation, you can try crushed Psyllium Husks or increasing your water intake.

You can buy Atkins Diet bars, shakes and a variety of other products created especially for the diet which are low in Net Carbs (the carbohydrates that count – this is a formula of grams of total carbs minus grams of fibre).

There are various health scares with the Atkins Diet due to the amount of fat in the diet, and therefore low fat low carb diets may be a suitable alternative, such as the Dukan Diet.


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    • dwelburn profile image

      David 5 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Good writeup of the Atkins diet. I think Dr. Atkins was on the right track, but I wouldn't be quite so liberal with the fats as he was. And I certainly wouldn't want to be using the refined vegetable oils like sunflower oil. These are disastrous to fry with as they break down easily to release lots of harmful free radicals.

      But it's not a good idea to combine a low carb and low fat diet either, as then virtually all your calories will need to come from protein, which has it's own separate set of problems. You need healthy fats anyway to maintain good health.

      So yes, low carb, moderate protein and fairly high (but not excessively high) fat would be the way to go.

      Also artificial sweeteners are not a good idea as they only promote cravings as well as having health risks in their own right. Just get used to drinking coffee without sweetener. After a while you won't need it :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, this is great! I remember it of course, but not exactly what you could and couldn't eat. Bang goes my coffee though! lol definitely bookmarked, I wanted this info months ago! then decided to give up my diet, now I have no excuse! lol