The basic premise of the Atkins diet is to eat a balanced, low carbohydrate (referred to as ‘low carb’ here on out) in various phases. The first phase, called ‘induction’ requires the person to eat no more than 20 carbs per day. The second phase is ‘ongoing weight loss’ where the person starts adding in other foods (like fiber-filled vegetables, berries, etc). This phase continues throughout the bulk of the weight loss. The third phase is ‘pre-maintenance’, where the dieter ups their carbs slowly to the point where their body begins to slow the weight loss by adding in more ‘healthy’ carbs in preparation for attaining their goal weight. Last but not least is the ‘maintenance’ phase, where the person has learned how many carbs and what kind of carbs and protein their body needs to stay at or near a healthy weight.
Typical Menu Plan for Induction:
Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, sausage cooked in butter (eat until pleasantly full, not stuffed)
Lunch: 1 cup of salad greens with sliced chicken, ham or turkey. 1 cube of cheese.
Dinner: Steak cut of your choice, steamed (non-starchy) veggies.
Snacks: Cubes of cheese, sugar free jello with heavy whipping cream. Only non-decaf coffee and tea allowed.
Fast weight loss, especially during induction. Many people doing Atkins for the first time can see a 7-pound or more weight loss their first week alone.
Not as nutritionally balanced as some other diets. Can be dangerous with the rapid weight loss and electrolyte balance. It’s recommended that the person doing induction take a multi-vitamin and perhaps an additional potassium/magnesium supplement if leg cramping or weakness occurs.
My personal experience on this diet:
Not good. I ended up in the hospital once with tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) from lack of electrolytes. Several years later I tried the diet again and ended up in the hospital with hyponatremia – dangerously low sodium levels, as well as low potassium and magnesium. I was contantly feeling dehydrated on this diet so as suggested by the plan and Atkins websites, I drank lots and lots of water, not knowing I was washing away my electrolytes.