Atkins diet recommends eating less of carbs and more of proteins. Here, we tell you what all you can eat when following this diet.
Atkins diet was put forward in the year 1972 by Dr. Robert Atkins. The diet is basically consumption of low carb foods for the cause of weight loss. It is one of the famous ways to lose weight, and reduce obesity by barring certain food items from the food list.
It surely includes the intake of calories, but they come from fats and proteins and not from carbohydrates. The diet plan stresses on small meals that are low in carbohydrates and high in proteins.
There are many quick weight loss diet plans that emphasize on different things, and claim their worth as the best. In case of Atkins diet, there are a lot of restrictions on the amount of carbs that one can consume, the reason why it helps in weight loss. It is a good way to control several health conditions like diabetes and epilepsy, along with obesity.
Foods to Eat
There are four main phases of the Atkins diet, the induction phase, ongoing weight loss phase, pre-maintenance phase and lifetime maintenance phase. The foods to be eaten change with each phase. As an introductory phase, induction phase is a very difficult and restrictive phase of the diet. In this phase, not more than 20g net carbohydrates are allowed.
During ongoing weight loss phase, carbs intake can be increased by 5g net carbs. Pre-maintenance phase allows an increase of 10g net carbs, while lifetime maintenance phase emphasizes on retaining the improved maintained habits that the dieter developed during the initial phases.
In the menu plan, there are a few free foods, meaning they can be consumed generously. They include unprocessed poultry and eggs, unprocessed shellfish, unprocessed meat and fish.
Fish and Shellfish
Fish like tuna, sole, salmon, sardine, trout, herring, snapper, catfish, flounder, etc., are included in the foods you can eat.
Generous intake of crab meat, shrimp, lobsters, calamari, scallops, squids and clams is allowed; never gorge yourself with shellfish high in carbs like oysters, and mussels. Make sure the fish and shellfish are unprocessed and should contain no added flavorings and preservatives, for the betterment of the diet.
Poultry and Eggs
Chicken, Cornish hen, duck, quail, goose, pheasant, emu, ostrich and turkey can be eaten in generous amounts. The only thing that isn’t allowed is processed poultry products. They that are loaded with numerous stuffing and garnishing can be high on carbs.
All real eggs that are cooked in any form are also included in foods to eat. Eggs of chicken, goose, quail, emu, and/or duck are allowed during the diet. Make sure you follow the USFDA guidelines in case of any food allergies.
Meats like beef, ham, pork, veal, lamb, venison, mutton, etc., are always welcome in the Atkins diet. Meats that are unprocessed are very healthy, and have very low carbohydrates.
As a result, they can be consumed in generous amounts without worrying about carbohydrates. However, bacon that has been sugar-cured must strictly be avoided. Meats with nitrate, breaded meats, and meats with high carb stuffing and garnishing must be avoided.
Drinks and Beverages
Drinks that do not contain sugar and caffeine in any form are always welcome in the Atkins diet. Mineral, sparkling, or tap water; filtered or decaffeinated coffee, herbal tea, no calorie flavored seltzer, diet soda, club soda, bouillon, lime juice, etc., can be consumed.
However, fruit juices, milk, heavy broths are to be strictly avoided. Clear broth and creams can be included, but alcohol is strictly barred during the induction phase. Afterwards, 1 to 2 glasses of wine and/or low carb beer can be consumed.
Seasonings and Dressings
What seasonings and spices you choose to go with the Atkins diet is extremely significant. Remember that sugar in any form is strictly prohibited, and as a result most of the salad dressings are debarred from the food and menu for beginners.
Still one can use combinations of vinegar and oil, lemon juice, olive oil, and sour creams as salad dressings. Any sugar-free spices and condiments can be used. Mayonnaise, soy sauce and ketchup, sour cream are allowed, but do not use yogurt.
Oils and Fats
While on Atkins, it’s best to switch to olive oil, though vegetable oil, seed oil, nut oils are also allowed. Walnut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, etc., can also be consumed.
The key is to not overheat the oils. Sautéing is the best way of cooking, rather than deep-frying. Heavy creams, butter, light creams, full fat dairy, etc., must be completely excluded from foods to eat. Serving size of fats must also be restricted to 1 tablespoon a day.
Spices and Sweeteners
Herbs and spices like cayenne pepper, pepper, ginger, basil, cilantro, garlic, oregano, sage, rosemary, tarragon, etc., can be included in the Atkins diet.
Sweeteners like sucralose (splenda), saccharine (sweet ‘n’ low), aspartame (equal), and acesulfame potassium (ace-K), stevia, etc., can be included as sweeteners. However, glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, and dextrose along with honey and corn syrup are strictly prohibited.
Daily 3 oz. to 4 oz. consumption of various cheeses is allowed. Hence, cheddar, cream cheese, sheep cheese, goat cheese, cow cheese, feta, Parmesan, Gouda, Swiss, mozzarella, blue cheese, tofu, etc., can be included in the diet during the induction phase.
After the induction phase, one can also include same amount of cottage cheese and farmer’s cheese. However, cheese spreads, processed cheese, and diet cheese must strictly be avoided from the list of foods you can eat.
Artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bamboo shoots, beet greens, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, celery, collard greens, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, pumpkins, okra, onion, rhubarb, sauerkraut, spinach, scallions, string beans, spaghetti squash, turnips, wax beans, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini water chestnuts, etc., can be included into the diet.
Yet, it is very important to limit the intake of these vegetables from 13g to 15g with minimal of dressings and fats being used while following the Atkins diet plan.
Alfalfa sprouts, Arugula, Boston lettuce, endive, bok choy, celery, cucumber, chives, iceberg lettuce, jicama , sprouts, mushrooms, parsley, escarole, fennel, peppers, chicory, radish, radicchio, romaine lettuce, green leaf, sorrel, etc., can be included as salads ingredients with the mentioned salad dressings that must strictly be sugar-free and low fat.
Make sure to have all the mentioned vegetables as raw as possible for better and fast results.
Low-glycemic fruits can always be included, but they are only allowed during the later phases of the diet, and strictly restricted during the induction phase. But while induction, lemons, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries can be included.
Make sure they are raw, and avoid any artificial juices that would be containing artificial preservatives and flavorings. During the later phases, fruits that are relatively low in sugar can be included.
These fruits include apples, avocados, apricots, blueberries, green olive, black olive, casaba melon, cantaloupes, strawberries, papaya, nectarines, peaches, honeydew melons, guavas, grapefruits, watermelon, etc.
Well, the details provided are sufficient as far as the list of Atkins diet is concerned. Rest of the foods that are not incorporated here, are obviously to be avoided during the diet. There are many ways to lose weight, and the decision of which one is actually best of them all, is left up to you. All the best!
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.