The Atkins diet is also known as the original Keto diet. It is a healthy low-carb meal plan that is high in protein and fat content. It restricts foods rich in carbohydrates.
The Atkins diet plan is one of the oldest and best-known low-carb diet plans. It was originally designed for people who are overweight and obese to help them lose weight fast.It was later replaced by the keto diet plan.
Although both Atkins and keto are low-carb diet plans, there are some differences. Some of the major differences between keto and Atkins are as following:
- The Atkins diet plan slightly differs from the Keto diet plan in terms of net carb intake. When it comes to carbohydrates, the Atkins diet is less strict compared to the keto diet. This means you get to eat a wide variety of foods while in the Atkins in comparison to the Ketogenic diet plan.
- Another major difference between Atkins and keto is their time duration. A Keto diet plan requires people to stick to a low-carb diet for life. It is not the case with the Atkins. It allows people to gradually add up their net carb intake. They can do so in different phases.
- Lastly, there is no specific time period to jump from one phase to another. People are free to jump forth and back according to their needs.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the Atkins diet plan, its types, and standard Atkins diet plan for beginners’.
1. Atkins 20 Diet
The Atkins 20 diet also known as the Standard Atkins diet is a low carb high protein and high-fat diet plan. It is suitable for people who are obese and overweight and looking to lose more than 40 pounds of weight.
Since losing weight is crucial for obese and overweight people considering the risk involved. It increases the risk of suffering from heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
In this diet plan, you are only allowed to intake 20 grams of net carb each day in the beginning. Meaning you eat high protein and high-fat meals.
This allows your body to reach ketosis. An alternative metabolic state of the body that converts fat into ketone bodies. As an alternative energy source, much greater and efficient. As a result, you can lose body weight much faster.
Atkins 20 diet is mainly comprised of foods rich in fat content and moderate protein content. Your plate will more likely include meat and fish with fewer non-starchy vegetables and fruits.
Atkins 20 food list
Atkins 20 diet is all about eating a high protein and high-fat diet. Therefore, the Atkins 20 diet food list is comprised of foods that are high in protein and fat content.
1. Foundation vegetables.
- Asparagus, broccoli, celery, cucumber, green beans, and peppers
2. Atkins 20 diet protein sources.
- Tuna, salmon, shellfish, poultry, meat, and eggs.
3. Healthy fats.
- Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oils, canola oil, and peanut oil.
- Fruits – Avocados, olives, and coconuts.
- Nuts – Almonds, macadamia, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.
2. Atkins 40 Diet
The Atkins 40 standard meal plan is popularly known as the Kim Kardashian diet plan. After Kim Kardashian openly admitted that she followed an Atkin 40 diet in order to lose weight. She also told that she ate around 1800 calories per day while on an Atkins 40 plan.
The Atkins 40 diet plan is suitable for people who are looking to lose weight moderately i.e. around 40 pounds. It is helpful in losing weight and fast too. It is especially suitable for women who want to lose the weight gained during post-pregnancy.
In this diet plan, you can eat up to 40 grams of net carbs daily. Which is twice as much net carb per day compared to Atkins 20. You are allowed to include more vegetables and fruits in your diet and lower the intake of high-fat foods such as meat. You can also enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables if you alternately switch between them.
3. Atkins 100 Diet
The Atkins 100 diet plan is best for people who are average weight and want to stay that way forever.
In this diet plan, you get to eat as much as 100 grams of net carbs per day. You can enjoy most of the fruits and vegetables as a part of your diet. But you need to cut down your fat and protein intake while maintaining your present body weight.
The Atkins 100 diet is mainly for maintaining body weight rather than losing weight. Which is the case with most low-carb diets. So, with the Atkins 100 diet plan, you get a wider alternative and you can choose any one of them according to your need.
Health Benefits of Atkins Diet
There are many health benefits of going on the Atkins diet. The primary benefit of selecting a low carb diet plan is that it helps you to lose weight.
Some other health benefits of the Atkins meal plan include:
- It helps to maintain blood pressure.
- It helps to improve your mood by lowering insulin levels.
- May eliminate systemic inflammation.
- May balance blood glucose levels.
- Claims to reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
- It May help to improve a wide variety of skin conditions.
Standard Atkins Diet Plan for Beginners
The Atkins 20 diet plan for beginners includes the following four phases. They are:
1. Induction phase.
2. Balancing phase.
3. Fine-tuning phase.
4. Maintenance phase.
Each phase has its own objectives and goals. You are allowed to jump to and fro, from one phase to another accordingly.
The four phases do not have a set duration. But the standard time duration for Atkins 20 phase 1 is said to be 2 weeks. It is where you achieve ketosis and may require at least 2-3 weeks for your body to activate it.
Let us now discuss all four phases in detail.
Atkins 20 Phase 1: Induction Phase (20-25 gram daily net carbs)
- Include 20-25 g of net carbs a day.
- 15 g of net carbs should come from foundation vegetables alone.
- Eat 4-6 ounces of protein three times a day.
- Eat plenty of fat.
- Drink plenty of water every day.
This is the initial phase of the Atkins diet plan. It is designed in a way to help your body obtain ketosis much faster.
Limiting your daily net carb intake up to 20 grams per day, you are forcing your body to go on a ketosis mode. Once your body goes on a ketosis mode, it starts to convert body fat into ketone bodies.
These ketone bodies are then used as an alternative energy source by your body instead of glucose. So your body effectively consumes fat and helps to maintain a healthy body weight.
If you are someone who is overweight or obese and are looking to lose excess body weight, you can start with the induction phase. It will help you to lose weight fast. You can shade more than 40 pounds of body weight in this phase alone.
Note: Not everyone needs to start from phase one or the induction phase. Only people who are obese or overweight and need to lose more than 40 pounds of body weight need to start from phase one.
So if you are someone who doesn’t need to shade a lot of bodyweight then you might as well start from phase two or the balancing phase.
Below are Atkins 20 phase 1 rules to follow.
1. Eat at a regular interval:
People often make the mistake of skipping meals when trying to lose weight. It is not the best practice when it comes to losing weight.
Instead of skipping meals during the daytime, you should eat at least 3-4 times a day. Dividing your meal into a smaller portion can help you lose weight much faster. So, try eating meals at a regular interval of about 6-8 hours.
2. Add more protein to your diet:
You feel full by eating fewer protein meals. Eating protein rich meals more helps to cut down on your daily calorie intake. Eating fewer carbs a day helps to lose weight.
Furthermore, it also helps to protect muscle loss which means you only lose body fat in the process. So including more poultry, fish, and nuts will prove highly beneficial.
3. Say yes to fat:
Eat high fat meals and avoid higher carb foods from your meals. Include plant fats in your meals because plant fats are healthier and easy to digest.
Eating more meat, seeds fatty fish, dark chocolate, and nuts will provide you with more than enough fat.
4. Lookout for carbs:
The daily limit of net carb intake per day is no more than 25 grams. It is one reason why you need to be aware of what you eat every time. Else, you might overeat past the daily carb intake limit.
Try adding more zero-carb and one-carb foods to your plate. These foods include:
Zero Net Carbs Foods List:
- Salsa, etc.
One Net Carb foods List:
- Heavy cream,
- Olives and olive oil,
- Cherry tomatoes,
- Flax seeds,
- Radish, etc.
Click on the link in order to find the ultimate zero-carb food list.
5. Avoid eating starchy vegetables and most of the fruits:
Starchy vegetables and fruits higher in carb content should be avoided. These foods will make it harder for you to lose weight.
It is easy to eat past the daily net carb limit by just eating two apples a day. So, make sure you avoid eating most of the fruits and starchy vegetables.
6. Avoid buying processed foods and grains:
Processed foods such as bread, pasta, etc. are high in carb content and you must avoid them at all costs.
The same goes for processed grains such as white rice. So, look out for processed foods while you are out shopping.
7. Shop Smart:
When you go out shopping for food items make sure you check the labels before you purchase. Beware of hidden carbs in canned food items.
Be informed that not all the foods that are labeled zero carbs are actually carb-free. They may contain fewer than 0.5 grams of carbs in them.
So in order to make sure that the product is carbs-free do check the ingredients list to figure out.
8. Avoid Soft drinks and sugary beverages:
Soft drinks are rich in carb content. And not just soft drinks but most of the fruit juices also pack a lot of carbs in them.
They may also contain some amount of sugar. Which makes for higher carbohydrate content. It is best that you avoid sugary juices and soft drinks.
Drink more water instead. Water helps to keep you hydrated and boosts your metabolism. It further helps to cleanse your body of harmful chemicals.
Once you start losing weight it’s time to level up and move on to the second phase of the Atkins 20 diet plan.
Atkins 20 Phase 2: Balancing Phase (25-50 g daily net carbs)
- Increase your carb consumption up to 50g a day.
- Add more fruits to your diet.
- Include dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.
- Lasts as long as you are 10 pounds away from your weight goal.
This is the second phase of the Atkins 20 meal plan. The objective is to balance your diet and promote additional weight loss. The goal here is to introduce different forms of carbs back into your diet.
By the end of the balancing phase, you may end up increasing your daily carb intake as high as 80 grams net. You are allowed to add more foods such as seeds, nuts, berries, melon, dairy products, and more.
The time duration of the balancing phase isn’t predestined. Since people of different weight groups require different time periods in order to lose their desired body weight.
It is advised that you switch to the next phase once you are 10 pounds away from your final goal.
Atkins 20 Phase 3: Fine-tuning Phase (50-80 g daily net carbs)
- Eat up to 80 g of net carbs a day.
- Introduce a few starchy vegetables to your diet.
- Add whole grains.
- Lasts for at least a month after reaching your desired weight.
This is the third phase in the Atkins 20 diet plan. It is the final phase of your weight loss process.
If you have made it to the fine-tuning phase than it means you are almost there. You’re less than 10 pounds away from achieving your weight loss goal.
This phase is designed to fine-tune your diet by introducing more of the carbs content in your diet. You can gradually introduce fewer carbs at a time as long as you’re losing weight.
In case, your weight loss process slows down once you reintroduce carbs to your diet, take a step back. Try cutting down on your daily carbs intake.
The purpose of this fine-tuning phase is to prepare you for the lifelong process and finding a neutral point. You can continue to explore your personal carb balance and lose weight at the same time.
Atkins 20 Phase 4: Maintenance Phase (80-100 g daily net carbs)
- You are allowed to eat up to 100 g of net carbs daily.
- Keep adding your favorite foods as long as you do not gain any weight.
- It is an ongoing phase and can last as long as you want.
This is the final phase where you no more worry about losing weight. You have rather achieved your weight loss goal and now it is time to stay that way forever.
But losing weight is one thing and maintaining the body is another. It can be quite tricky to maintain body weight once you’ve achieved your goal weight. Therefore, the maintenance phase is lifelong.
You can eat everything and anything unless it affects your body weight. Try experimenting with foods that were your favorite in the past. See whether eating them makes you gain weight.
If you start gaining weight again, stop right there. And if you do not gain any weight then you are doing perfectly alright.
Least Carb Foods to Eat on an Atkins Diet
Here’s a list of low carb foods to include in your Atkins meal.
1. Fiber-rich foundation.
- Broccoli, salad greens, and asparagus
2. Fruits low in sugar content.
- Apples, citrus, and berries
- Beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, soybeans, lupines.
4. Whole grains.
- Barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, popcorn.
5. Plant fats (oils).
- Avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil.
6. Seeds and nuts.
- Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds.
- Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.
Higher Carbs Foods to Avoid on an Atkins Diet
Here’s a list of foods you should avoid on any low carb diet plan.
1. Starchy vegetables.
- Corn, potatoes, pumpkins, acorn squash.
2. Fruits high in sugar content.
- Mango, papaya, pineapple, and banana.
3. Added sugar and carbonated drinks.
- Soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice.
4. Refined or processed foods.
- White bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Atkins vs Keto- what’s the difference?
While Atkins and Keto are both low-carb diets, keto is a more restricting diet plan. Unlike Atkins, keto doesn’t allow adding extra carbs as you make progress. You have a limited food choice compared to Atkins. You also do not get to eat most of your favorite fruits and vegetables since most of them are high in carbs content.
Another noticeable difference between Atkins and keto is that there are no phases in a keto diet plan. You simply follow one simple rule i.e. restricting carbs until the end. The Atkins diet, however, can be divided into four different phases. Each phase serves a purpose and is time-bound except for the final phase.
2. Is the Atkins diet unhealthy?
The answer to this question is a big NO. The Atkins diet follows a low carb approach which is a highly effective way to lose weight and stay healthy.
The Atkins diet is rich in protein and fibers that lower the risk of suffering from heart attack and stroke. The diet also restricts the intake of sugary carbohydrates thus lowering your risk of suffering from obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.
3. Do I have to count calories?
There’s absolutely no need for you to keep track of calories on an Atkins diet. Just be sure to eat your full every time but do not overeat.
If you are still looking for figures then here’s how much you should aim for each day.
- For an adult male, the recommended calories per day are between 1800-2000.
- For an adult female, the recommended calories per day are between 1500-1800.
4. How much protein should I eat per day?
A healthy adult should aim for about 115-175 g of protein(in weight) with each meal three times a day. Which is roughly 500-700 g of protein each day considering you also eat snacks twice a day.
5. How much fat should I eat per day to lose weight?
The Atkins diet does not have any bars set for fat consumption. It is, however, not wise to eat as much fat as you like. Since it is unhealthy to eat too much dietary fat. Aim for three 1-tablespoon servings of added fats(oils, butter, mayo, etc.) a day.