The Atkins diet also is known as the original Keto diet. It is a popular choice among people who prefer a low-carb diet plan.
The original Atkins diet is a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet plan. Suitable for obese people looking to lose weight fast.
This diet plan was very popular in the past before the Keto diet plan was introduced. It is however still a popular diet plan choice among people.
The Atkins diet plan slightly differs from the Keto diet plan in terms of net carb intake.
While the Keto diet plan requires people to stick to a low-carb diet for the entirety. The Atkins diet plan allows people to gradually add up their net carb intake in their diet.
They do so in different stages and 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.
Also, you get to eat a wide variety of foods including fruits and vegetables while in the Atkins diet plan in comparison to the Ketogenic diet plan.
We now know what it means to follow the Atkins diet plan. So let us discuss the benefits of the Atkins diet plan and who can benefit from it.
- If you are someone who is fit and want to stay that way. Without having to worry about your weight, the Atkins diet plan is beneficial for you.
- If you are someone who is overweight and wants to lose body weight moderately i.e. less than 40 pounds, go for the Atkins diet plan.
- If you are someone who is overweight or obese and wants to lose body weight excessively. The Atkins diet plan is exactly what you need.
There are mainly three different types of Atkins diet. These diet plans are differentiated on the number of carbs one can consume per day.
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.
Losing weight is crucial for obese and overweight people considering the risk involved.
As we have discussed in our previous article, overweight 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.
The Atkins 20 diet plan has four different phases.
1. Atkins 20 phase1(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.
2. Atkins 20 phase 2( 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 loss goal.
3. Atkins 20 phase 3( 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.
4. Atkins 20 phase 4( 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 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 faster.
As a result, you can lose body weight much quicker and achieve your weight loss goal.
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 diet is all about eating a high protein and high-fat diet. Therefore, the Atkins 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 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 Plan
The Atkins 40 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 especially suitable for women who want to lose the weight gained during post-pregnancy. The Atkins 40 plan is helpful in losing weight and fast too.
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.
Atkins 40 food list
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.
Foods to avoid
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.
Refined or processed foods.
- White bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits.
Here’s a link to Atkins 40 standard meal plan (three weeks) for reference purpose.
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 of the low-carb diet plans.
So, with the Atkins diet plan, you get a wider alternative and you can choose any one of them according to your need.
Health Benefits Of Atkins Diet Plan
There are many health benefits of going on the Atkins diet.
The primary benefit of going on the Atkins diet is that it helps you to lose body weight effectively.
Some other health benefits of the Atkins diet 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
These four phases do not have a set duration. So people often get confused regarding when to level up and move to the next phase.
Therefore it is completely up to you to decide when to level up.
The standard time duration for phase I i.e. the induction phase is said to be 2 weeks.
The induction phase 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 Phase I: Induction Phase
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.
Your body effectively consumes fat and helps in weight loss.
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 achieve your weight loss goal. You can shade more than 40 pounds of body weight in this phase alone.
Below are some of the induction phase rules you need to follow in order to achieve your effective weight loss goal:
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:
Eating protein more helps to cut down on your daily calorie intake. You feel full by eating fewer protein meals. This helps in effective weight loss.
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:
Eating a diet high in fat content is the goal here. You need to chow down on foods rich in fat for effective weight loss.
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 Carbs Foods:
- Salsa, etc.
One Carb foods:
- 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:
Eating starchy vegetables and fruits rich in carb content can affect your entire weight loss process.
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 diet plan.
Atkins Phase II: Balancing Phase
This is the second phase whose objective is to balance your diet and provide continuity to the weight loss process.
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 Phase III: Fine-tuning Phase
This is the third phase in the Atkins diet plan. It is the final phase of your weight loss process.
If you have made it to the fine-tuning phase that 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 Phase IV: Maintenance Phase
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.
That said 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.
That said maintenance phase is lifelong. Thus 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.
Note that 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.
Frequently asked questions about Atkins diet plan
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.