Atkins Diet: What to Eat?

First promoted in 1972 by Dr. Atkins who wrote a bestselling book about it, the Atkins diet has been quite popular since. Actually, the Atkins diet was probably the rock star of low carb diets before the Keto diet came along and stole all the glory.

The 50-year old diet still has a following because it did help some people lose weight. Some claim that it is safe, and others like because it isn’t that hard to follow. One of the greatest things about the Atkins diet is that it has fewer food restrictions compared to others.

Atkins Diet Four Phases

The four phases of the Atkins diet are designed to help people reach their target weight while gradually adding carbs to their regimen. This makes it easier for those trying to lose weight. Just know that these phases and their times aren’t set in stone. Feel free to make your own modifications as you see fit.

The first phase lasts for a couple of weeks and has the least carb intake. Your maximum carb limit per day will be 20 grams per day, which is similar to the Keto diet. You might even enter ketosis during this phase and if you prefer to maintain it for long.

The second and third phases are where you’re allowed to add some more carbs to your plan as you get closer to your target weight. Once you reach your target weight, the third phase ends and the fourth phase begins. Phase four is all about maintenance so that you won’t gain back the weight that you lost.

What to Eat?

If you intend to follow the Atkins diet, the foods to avoid are the following:

  • Sugars: candy, ice cream, soft drinks
  • Vegetable oils: soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils
  • Grains: wheat, rye, barley
  • Trans fats: processed foods
  • Starches: potatoes (can be added after the induction phase)
  • Legumes: beans and lentils (can be added after the induction phase)

Foods that you can eat are:

  • Meat: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, bacon
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Low carb veggies: broccoli, kale, spinach
  • Full-fat dairy: cheese, cream, full-fat yogurt, butter
  • Nuts and seeds


  • As with any diet, water is highly encouraged
  • Coffee and green tea are allowed
  • Alcohol: allowed in small amounts; avoid beer as it’s a high-carb drink

As you can see, the food that you’re allowed to eat is actually quite diverse and won’t leave you craving anything that you love. Sure you’ll miss the sugar and processed food, but cutting them out is part of an effective diet.

Weight Loss

If you follow the Atkins diet properly, you should notice a decent amount of weight loss in a reasonable amount of time. It also depends on how you manage different phases and the kind of carbs you add with each phase.

However, those who want much faster results should look into the Keto diet. With the ketogenic diet, you’ll lose more weight in a shorter period of time. The people who want to take their time may prefer the Atkins diet but you have to be patient with weight loss if you intend to go this route.