Atkins Diet: Objective, Characteristics, Phases, Menu and Foods Not Allowed

It is a plan of feeding with low consumption of carbohydrates, it was developed in the decade of the 60 by the cardiologist Robert C. Atkins.

This diet restricts carbohydrates and increases the intake of proteins and fats. The Atkins diet has several phases to achieve in addition to weight loss, maintenance.

It starts with a low carbohydrate supply plan.


The purpose of the Atkins diet is to modify eating habits, lose weight and not recover it again.

The Atkins diet is a healthy perspective for life, either to lose weight, increase energy or improve some health problems, such as high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome.


In the Atkins diet, the main dietary approach is to ingest the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are caused by the typical diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates.

In the Atkins diet it is argued that you eat too many carbohydrates, especially sugar, white flour and refined carbohydrates. They lead to imbalances in blood sugar levels, weight gain and cardiovascular diseases.

The current Atkins diet recommends consuming more vegetables with high fiber content, which makes it adapt to vegetarian diets and vegan diets .

Avoid the health problems that can arise in a diet low in carbohydrates. This diet does not require a calorie count or portion control, but it does require monitoring the carbohydrate content in the foods that are to be consumed.

He maintains that the reduction of carbohydrates burns the fat reserves of the body, regulates the levels of sugar in the blood and helps him to reach an optimal state of health, without feeling hunger or deprivation.

Once the ideal weight has been reached, the diet helps identify the individual tolerance to carbohydrates, that amount of net carbohydrates that can be consumed every day without changing the weight.


The Atkins diet has four phases. The start phase will obey the goals of weight loss raised, so you can start in the first three phases.

Phase 1: Induction

  • This phase is very strict, and it eliminates almost all carbohydrates in the diet, only 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day are recommended, but obtained mainly from vegetables.
  • You should consume the base vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, celery, cucumber, green beans and peppers.
  • Proteins, such as fish and seafood, poultry, meat, eggs and cheeses, in each of the meals.
  • No oils or fats are restricted, but some fruits and especially baked goods with sugar, breads, pasta, grains, nuts and alcohol.
  • A minimum of eight glasses of water per day should be consumed.
  • This phase lasts two weeks, depending on the weight loss that is experienced.

Phase 2: Balance

  • This phase, recommends consuming a minimum of 12 to 15 grams of net carbohydrates with basic vegetables.
  • No sugary foods are consumed.
  • Some carbohydrates rich in nutrients are added slowly, the consumption of more vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds increases.
  • It remains in this phase until they have reduced 4.5 kilograms of weight.

Phase 3: Pre-maintenance

  • Food that can be eaten, including fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains, continues to increase gradually.
  • It is recommended to add 10 grams of carbohydrates to the weekly diet, but its consumption should be reduced if the amount of weight lost is stopped.
  • It remains in this phase until the desired weight is reached.

Phase 4: Lifetime maintenance

  • This phase begins when the ideal weight is reached and this regimen is continued for life.
  • They are consumed 5 times a day, every three days.
  • With an approximate calorie consumption of 1200 daily

Typical menu

In phase 1:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled egg with sautéed onions and cheddar cheese. Coffee, herbal tea, water, diet soft drinks.
  • Lunch: chicken salad, bacon and avocado, with a drink allowed.
  • Dinner: Baked salmon fillet, asparagus and arugula salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, with a permitted drink.
  • Appetizers: Mid-morning and mid-afternoon, include a chocolate milkshake, a granola or celery bar and cheddar cheese.

Food not allowed

  • Sugar: As soft drinks, cakes, sweets, ice creams, fruit juices, among others.
  • Grains: Wheat, barley, rye, rice.
  • Vegetable oils:  Soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil and some others.
  • Trans fats: From processed foods appear on the label with the word “hydrogenated.”
  • “Dietary” and “low-fat” foods: They are usually very high in sugar.
  • Vegetables with a high carbohydrate content : Such as carrots, turnips, among others.
  • Fruits high in carbohydrates such as: Banana, pear, grape, apple, orange.
  • Starches: As potato, sweet potato.
  • Legumes: Like Lentil, beans, chickpea.