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Atkins Diet

The classic low-carb diet.

BACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

More than 30 years ago, Dr. Robert Atkins introduced his low-carb diet, now popularly known as the Atkins Diet. The Atkins Diet is credited with starting the low-carb revolution that took place some years ago. Although the buzz about low-carb diets has fizzled some, the Atkins Diet is still around and there are several people that still follow it.

The Atkins Diet has recently received a much needed update, now being called the New Atkins for a New You. The updated Atkins program is a research-supported eating plan that features the low-carb, high-protein principles of the Atkins Diet but with more leniency, simplicity and variety. The New Atkins for a New You is about eating delicious and healthy food, like a variety of protein, leafy greens and other vegetables, nuts, fruits, and whole grains. In addition, tips and suggestions are perfect for those with busy lifestyles ensuring you that you can stick with Atkins at work, at home, on vacation, or when you're eating out.

The newest Atkins book includes all-new recipes, 24 weeks’ worth of meal plans and makes maintenance a priority starting from the beginning of the weight loss program.

Most of your diet will be comprised of non-starchy vegetables, greens, avocados, seafood, eggs, butter, bacon, cream, meat, cheese, olives and olive oil. Just like with the original Atkins, foods to avoid on the New Atkins for a New You diet are most grains, dried fruits, foods with added sugar, refined carbs, juices, most snacks and sweets.

The new updated plan still includes the basic four Atkins phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance. The Induction phase is the most restrictive as it’s used for at least two weeks depending upon your weight loss goal.

For success, this plan must be embraced as a lifestyle change rather than just a temporary fix to lose weight. You can lose up to 15 pounds in the first two weeks that you are on the program. There are ways to customize the program, but basically you eat the right foods and are able to make your metabolism more efficient at burning fat.

You will be eating fewer high carbohydrate foods and more high fiber vegetables. By reducing the amount of carbs you consume, you will begin burning stored fat for energy which will help you lose weight.

For even more help and support, those participating in the Atkins Diet can sign up for free membership with the all new Atkins Community web site. This site is free to access and you can even receive the book New Atkins for a New You for free. Once you sign up on the site, you will set your goals, calculate your current BMI, select the proper phase to start off on and review your personalized plan. The web site offers a way for everyone to start at the phase needed based on their personal goals, rather than starting everyone at stage one. The Atkins Community offers you a blog, a community of other Atkins dieters, several featured groups to join, a net carb balance tracker and a weight loss tracker.

  • Encourages eating a proper combination of foods
  • Large weight loss the first couple of weeks
  • Program is thoroughly covered on the web site
  • Includes 4 different phases
  • Encourages eating more vegetables
  • Allows frequent eating to reduce hunger
  • You decide when to start your fitness program
  • Recommends a calorie range for both men and women along with carb counting
  • Named #8 in the Best Commercial Diets by US News, 2011
  • Program has been updated to be more focused on keeping the weight off
  • New plan offers more leniency than previous Atkins plan
  • Atkins Community web site available for free
  • Some may find it difficult to cut out breads and other high-carb foods
  • Some may overeat or include too much of the wrong type of protein
  • Can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat

The Atkins Diet involves four different phases. It’s important to realize that this diet is one that ideally would be followed for a lifetime rather than just until unwanted weight is lost. The Atkins Diet teaches you how to eat the right types of carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and encourages eating several meals throughout the day to avoid hunger. You can take the program at your own pace and move through the phases as you feel ready, or you can use the recommendations given by the diet. Below is a breakdown of each phase of the program.

  • Phase 1: This phase is called Induction. This phase will allow you to lose up to 15 pounds in the first two weeks. This phase is designed to jump start your weight loss and switch your body from burning carbohydrates to burning stored fat for energy. You can either eat three regular sized meals or break them up into four to six smaller meals throughout the day. You should never go more than six waking hours without eating. Each meal should have four to six ounces of protein. You should eat no more than 20 grams of net carbs per day with 12 to 15 grams coming from foundation vegetables. Oils, butter and up to four ounces of cheese are allowed each day. You should stay on phase 1 until your cravings for carbohydrates have dissipated and you’ve lost more than two pounds.
  • Phase 2: You get to eat more foods during this phase. You lose weight more slowly than in phase 1 and you will gradually increase your net carb count. You will still eat sufficient protein and fat at your meals. Nuts and seeds are slowly introduced back into your diet on this phase. Phase two is also known as ongoing weight loss and is the first step in discovering your tolerance for carbohydrates. Most of the eating choices remain the same as in phase 1 with the exception of the nuts and seeds.
  • Phase 3: This phase is called pre-maintenance. You should not move to this phase until you are 10 pounds from your goal weight. You will continue adding carbs back into your diet during this phase while still losing weight. This phase will reveal what foods you can and cannot handle in order to maintain your new weight. Your objectives are to lose the last 10 pounds slowly, and to test your carb tolerance. You will also be finding your Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE) and maintain control of your weight loss. This phase is like a question and answer period for your body before you reach maintenance. During this stage it is very important that you pay attention to your body. As you raise your number of carbs, do it slowly and lower it if you notice cravings and weight coming back.
  • Phase 4: This phase is known as lifetime maintenance. This phase comes when you’ve reached your goal weight and will be continued for the rest of your life. Once this phase is reached, you will commit to remaining at your goal weight permanently and make adjustments as needed. As long as you stick to your ACE, you should find it easy to stay within five pounds of your goal weight.

Through the Atkins Community, you can customize your own meal plan. You simply select your phase and the proper level of carbs is populated for you. After that you can select any food group that you want to exclude and then view your meal plan. Based on your choices, you will receive one week of meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks each day. You don’t have to count any calories or carbs because all of that is done for you. For exact measurements and recipes, simply click on the meal and you will be taken to the recipe for that meal. You also have the chance to print out a grocery list for the week for your convenience. The total carb count for the day is shown at the bottom of each day’s meals. Below is one day of meal suggestions during phase one of the program without any food groups excluded.

  • Breakfast – Red Bell Pepper Rings Filled with Eggs and Mozzarella
  • Snack – Mushrooms Stuffed with Sausage and Mozzarella
  • Lunch – Spicy Meat Rolls
  • Snack – Atkins Day Break Creamy Chocolate Shake
  • Dinner – Grilled Salmon with Mixed Greens

Exercise is not a huge focus for The Atkins Diet. It is mentioned on the web site as a great way to maximize your chances of success. Exercise is a great partner for your nutrition plan and will help boost your energy. If you are not currently exercising, it is recommended that you wait a couple of weeks before starting an exercise regimen. Some of the exercises that are mentioned with The Atkins Diet include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics

With the Atkins Community you can set your exercise goals and track your daily exercise. Your initial goal will be based on your weight loss goals as well as which phase you are starting out in. You are not restricted to only doing certain types of exercises either. You are free to engage in whatever activity you like, as long as you are getting the movement in. Your exercise goal is displayed as a target number of minutes per week. At the start, your target may be as simple as 200 minutes, which breaks down to 30 minutes of activity each day. There is no set number of minutes required each day provided you reach your weekly target. You can also change your weekly goal very easily.


When you look at The Atkins Diet, there are some benefits as well as some drawbacks. It does help you lose weight quickly and it is important to notice that there are calorie restrictions involved. You are reducing your calories as well as changing the way you eat. By reducing the amount of carbs you eat, you will be reducing blood sugar levels but you must also be careful that you don’t take in too much fat, cholesterol or saturated fat. Eliminating an entire food group such as carbohydrates may not work for everyone, but the diet does offer some benefits for those that can stick with it.

The addition of free access to the Atkins Community web site might help you along on your journey. The recipes, charts, meal plans and other benefits will allow you a higher level of support while on the diet. Atkins is working to be a more flexible program that focuses more on healthy weight loss and maintenance. Their newly added tools offer a better level of support to increase your chances of success.

Common Misspellings

Atkin Diet, AtkinsDiet, Aktins, Atkns, Atkins Deit, Akins Diet, Adkins Diet, Atkins Low Carb Diet, Dr. Atkins Diet, The Atkins Diet, Adkins Advantage

Related Diets: Atkins Advantage, South Beach Diet, South Beach Diet Supercharged, Low-Carb Diet, The New Atkins for a New You, The Ketogenic Diet

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(Page 1 of 5, 86 total comments)


I didn't like how I couldn't eat a lot of fresh fruits on this diet. It seemed like meat, cheese, more meat and a few veggies thrown in for good measure. It totally makes sense to do a low-glycemic diet but I sure like to have good carbs too from fruits and vegetables.

posted Dec 8th, 2014 5:40 pm

Sharon Kessner

i am so excitedto start this diet asap!!!

posted Jan 1st, 2013 2:58 am

Steph M

I really like this diet. The only problem is I have never treated it like a lifestyle change. When I got stuck losing weight and couldn't get past 160lbs, it got me to 146 in a month.

After having my daughter and gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy, the weight is even harder to get off. But I did manage to lose 23 lbs on Atkins again before taking a break. Now I need to commit for life, I shouldn't be eating gluten anyways and gluten free products are expensive. Eating gluten free without the extra products is pretty much the Atkins lifestyle with a few changes.

I've back on it and have lost 4 more lbs this week :) 32 and a half more to go to get back to my happy weight.

posted Nov 20th, 2012 12:39 am

Jessica Logan

I personally like the 90 day challenge, feel free to add me as a friend if you want more info

posted Jul 14th, 2012 4:09 am


Been doing Low carb (atkins) over 2 years now and never considered going back to my old eating habits.
I feel much more energetic eating low carb, I never get ill anymore and where i used to be hungry all the time i am now satisfied after a meal.
Being 22 year old sometimes it is a challenge staying low carb since all my friends eat loads of fast food, carbs etc and also going out a lot and on holidays it can be difficult to maintain my diet.
I do notice that I hit a stall once in a while because your body gets used to the lack of carbs. This is when I allow myself a cheat day and eat every carb/sugar that comes my way.

posted May 1st, 2012 1:55 pm


It's a lifestyle change and completely changes the way you approach food. it also confronts many misconceptions about weight loss out there - exercise is not necessary for weight loss. I lost 30kg without doing more than going for a 30 min walk 3 times a week.

posted Sep 24th, 2011 1:23 am


The best and the healthiest way of eating. This is not a diet, this is a lifestyle.

posted Jul 25th, 2011 8:59 pm


The best nutritional approach to eating.

You want to be healthy? Go Atkins!

posted Jul 25th, 2011 8:58 pm


I love this diet because you never deprive yourself of food. I do miss the fruit, but over all I love it. I have a long journey ahead so i will stay in induction for a while. One good thing is I already cut out the bad carbs before I started this diet so it wasn't hard to continue on this diet. I think weight loss is first, a mindset. Once you are determined to change, everything else will follow.

posted May 4th, 2011 12:16 pm


lost 40 pounds and kept it off for 2 years. Then I got pregnant and gained 80lbs.

posted Oct 4th, 2010 6:58 pm


Has any WOMAN done Atkins for the second time and succeeded? I did Atkins years ago, and I lost 30 pounds. Maintained it for 2 years, and then fell off the wagon. I tried doing the diet again and for the Induction stage, I LOST NOTHING. I have found that there are a lot of women in the same boat as me.

posted Jul 6th, 2010 3:51 pm


I've been following Atkins for 8 months now and lost 75 lbs. I eat a lot of fresh veggies, protein that is not high in saturated fats, as well as dairy, nuts, fish. My husband has lost 50 lbs so far as well. I feel healthier and more energetic than I have in years and I'm very satisfied with my progress. It is a misunderstood diet, mostly since the reviewers of the diet don't actually read the plan.

posted Jun 24th, 2010 11:36 pm


I have lost over 100 pounds on the Atkins diet and followed it for many, many years to maintain my weight.

I have blood work every year and my cholosterol is fine as well as all the rest. I am a dietbetic and it helps keep my blood sugars in control also.

I am 64 years old, feel great and eat healthy high fiber carbs at every meal. I got tired of red meat and rarely eat it anymore. Mostly fish and chicken. I eat berries and greens and all my servings of veggies a day.

Since I went on this diet and did not die from whatever they say will kill you if you eat it I highly swear by it. Much safer than bypass Just follow the phases correctly and by the end you will be eating, in moderation, most of the carbs you eat on many diets and remain at a healthy weight for life.

posted Apr 2nd, 2010 11:26 am

Natalie Embry

Sometimes it can be hard to follow, and other times its easier than other diets. But one things it excels at is fast weightloss. It's the only diet I've stuck with for longer than 2wks lately and I lost 3x more than other diets.

posted Mar 18th, 2010 8:57 pm



posted Oct 28th, 2009 3:59 am


tthis is great!!!

posted Sep 21st, 2009 3:17 pm


is the best of the best

posted Sep 20th, 2009 5:17 am


I've been on Atkins since Jan 3rd 09, and have lost 52 lbs. I'm 55 yrs old so I have my age against me. I have arthritis in both knees and 1 ankle, had 1 hip replaced in 07!
I LOVE this way of eating. I can lose weight, have plenty of energy and feel good. I have to watch my water intake in the cold weather. I tend to only want "hot" to warm me up. But I don't miss the sugar. It's hard to get used to what to have for snacks. I' ve never been a fruit person.. always the carbs. My whole grocery cart could be filled with junk food and I'd be happy.
So, the first few weeks were terrible for me just trying to figure out what to eat.
I'm sold on this way of eating. I've got a ways to go before I find out if I can maintian. Another 40 lbs!

posted Jun 2nd, 2009 11:37 am


can you use the atkins bars and shakes, products on the induction phase

posted Apr 14th, 2009 4:13 pm


Lost alot of weight fast. 4 kgs (8 pounds) in the first week. The next time I did it - about 5 years later the weight wouldnt budge. I was on it for 4 weeks and lost 5 kgs. Turned out I wasnt drinking enough water and I was also on a different pill which stopped the weight loss.

posted Apr 6th, 2009 5:48 pm


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