Are you looking for an Atkins diet plan that’s free? Continue reading and find out the best way to get an Atkins diet plan for free. My goal is to assist you with finding the right weight loss diet plan for you and teach you how to maintain that diet plan so that you can lose weight and keep it off.
Atkins 14 Day Diet Plan
The Atkins 14-day plan is called the induction phase and focuses on meat and salad vegetables.
The Atkins website says that it is a common misconception that the two-week induction phase of the diet represents the whole Atkins diet. Induction, or phase 1, is only one of four steps designed to first accelerate weight loss, then to maintain weight loss and finally to maintain your ideal weight. The initial 14-day phase 1 diet gets you started.
The purpose of phase I is to make your body shift gears from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat for energy–-both your body fat and what you consume. Your body turns carbs into glucose or sugar. Atkins says your body will look for an alternate source of energy if it can’t fuel itself with glucose because you haven’t given it any, or at least not enough to keep it going.
The most important rule for the 14-day induction plan is that you restrict yourself to 20 g of carbohydrates per day. This doesn’t mean you can have a bite of pasta then eat red meat for the balance of your meals. The Atkins site says that “foundation” vegetables should account for 12 to 15 carbs per day. These include salad vegetables, such as cucumbers, iceberg and romaine lettuce, radishes, mushrooms and celery. Dressing is limited to a tablespoon of safflower or canola oil, olive oil, seed oils or nut oils per serving. Other rules include never skipping meals and aiming for four to five small ones a day. Drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day.
According to Atkins, it should take approximately two weeks to kick-start your body into burning fat instead of carbs. You can move on to phase 2 more quickly or stay in the induction phase longer than 14 days if you choose. If you’re not looking to lose a great deal of weight and you do it quickly, you can move on. Just make sure that you have started to burn fat for energy. Atkins says the evidence of this is the loss of at least 2 lbs. If you need to lose a great deal of weight, you can stay on the 14-day phase longer. Atkins says that there are no risks to staying on the induction diet indefinitely, but you will eventually want to start adding carbs back into your diet incrementally so you will know how many carbs a day your body can tolerate without gaining weight. You can use this knowledge to maintain your ideal weight.
The website The-Atkins-Diet.info warns that it will take up to a week for the sugar to leave your system. This might result in headaches and a fuzzy feeling, as well as diarrhea or nausea. The Atkins Diet Advisor site says that you also might experience crankiness, or constipation if you skimp on liquids. All of these symptoms should be short-term.
The-Atkins-Diet.info predicts that you will drop 10 percent of your desired weight loss during this 14-day period. Atkins says that once you start losing, the pounds should come off rapidly.
The Atkins Diet: Everything You Need to Know
The Atkins diet is a low carb diet, usually recommended for weight loss.
Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose weight while eating as much protein and fat as you want if you avoid foods high in carbs.
Since the early 2000s, numerous studies have shown that low carb diets — without the need for calorie counting —are effective for weight loss and can lead to various health improvements.
The Atkins diet was originally promoted by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who wrote a best-selling book about it in 1972. Since then, people worldwide have used the Atkins diet, and many other books have been written about it.
The diet was initially considered unhealthy, mostly due to its high saturated fat content. Today, saturated fat’s effect on health and heart disease, in particular, is a topic of debate among researchers.
The saturated fat debate
Many studies show that eating saturated fat can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease
A recent review that the American Heart Association conducted on saturated fat’s impact on heart disease concluded that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat can help lower cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent
Some reviews also suggest that replacing saturated fat in your diet with polyunsaturated fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and strokes
However, other reviews of the literature show no association between lowering saturated fat intake and reduced risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease
Furthermore, some experts believe that not all saturated fats have the same effects on heart disease risk . Others contend that overall diet is more important than singling out individual nutrients.
When compared with other diets, some studies suggest the Atkins and other low carb diets may lead to more weight loss and greater improvements in blood sugar, HDL (good) cholesterol, triglycerides, and other health markers than low fat diets.
Whether or not low carb, high fat (LCHF) diets like the Atkins diet raise LDL (bad) cholesterol appears to be on an individual basis.
In one study of 30 young individuals who were at average weight, following an LCHF diet for 3 weeks significantly increased LDL (bad) cholesterol, along with total cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol compared with the control group
However, there was a wide variance in individual LDL responses to the diet. The individual increases in LDL (bad) cholesterol varied between 5 and 107 percent.
Another smaller 2021 study of healthy women between 18 and 30 years old with average weight, looked at the effect of an LCHF ketogenic diet on LDL (bad) cholesterol. Eating a strict LCHF diet rich in saturated fats for 4 weeks significantly increased LDL (bad) cholesterol in all study participants compared with a control diet
This suggests that if you do try an LCHF diet like Atkins, you should monitor your cholesterol levels to gauge your body’s response.
One reason low carb diets can result in weight loss is that a reduction in carbs and increased protein intake may lead to reduced appetite, helping you eat fewer calories without having to think about it
Research is mixed on the effects of saturated fat on LDL (bad) cholesterol and heart disease. Because the Atkins diet can increase saturated fat intake, it’s important to speak with your doctor before starting it and monitor yourself throughout.
The Atkins diet is a 4-phase plan
Here’s a brief summary of how to follow the Atkins diet. It’s always a good idea to consult your registered dietitian or physician before starting a new weight-loss diet plan.
The Atkins diet is split into 4 different phases:
- Phase 1 (induction): Under 20 grams of carbs per day for 2 weeks. Eat high-fat, high-protein, with low carb vegetables like leafy greens. This kick-starts the weight loss.
- Phase 2 (balancing): Slowly add more nuts, low-carb vegetables, and small amounts of fruit back to your diet.
- Phase 3 (fine-tuning): When you’re very close to your goal weight, add more carbs to your diet until weight loss slows down.
- Phase 4 (maintenance): Here you can eat as many healthy carbs as your body can tolerate without regaining weight.
However, all these phases may not be necessary.
Some people choose to skip the induction phase altogether and include plenty of vegetables and fruit from the start. This approach can be very effective and can help ensure you are getting enough nutrients and fiber as well.
Others prefer to stay in the induction phase indefinitely. This is also known as a very low carb ketogenic diet (keto).
There are 4 phases to the Atkins diet, but you may choose to skip a phase or stay in a phase for longer (or indefinitely).
Foods to limit
Individuals on the Atkins diet are told to avoid, or limit, the following foods:
- sugar: found in soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, candy, ice cream, and similar products
- grains: wheat, spelt, rye, barley, rice
- “diet” and “low fat” foods: are sometimes very high in sugar
- high carb vegetables: carrots, turnips, etc. (induction only)
- high carb fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapes (induction only)
- starches: potatoes, sweet potatoes (induction only)
- legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc. (induction only)
Foods to eat
You should base your diet around these foods while on the Atkins diet:
- meats: beef, pork, lamb, chicken, bacon, and others
- fatty fish and seafood: salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel
- eggs: omega-3 enriched or pastured — most nutrient-dense
- low-carb vegetables: kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and others
- full-fat dairy: butter, cheese, cream, full fat yogurt
- nuts and seeds: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and avocado oil
Build your meals around a high fat protein source with plenty of vegetables, nuts, and some healthy fats.
Here are some drinks that are acceptable on the Atkins diet.
- Water. As always, water should be your go-to beverage.
- Coffee. Coffee is high in antioxidants and may offer health benefits.
- Green tea. Green tea is also high in antioxidants.
You can drink alcohol in small amounts while on the Atkins diet. Stick to dry wines with no added sugars and avoid high carb drinks like beer.
What about vegetarians?
Following a plant-based Atkins diet requires extra planning. Since meals on the Atkins diet are based around high fat sources of protein (typically from meat, fatty fish, and dairy), people eating a vegetarian or vegan diet need to substitute with alternatives to make sure they are meeting their nutrient needs.
You can use soy-based foods for protein and eat plenty of nuts and seeds. Olive oil and coconut oil are excellent plant-based fat sources.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians can also eat eggs, cheese, butter, heavy cream, and other high fat dairy foods.
When following an Atkins diet plan, you’ll want to limit things like grains, sugars, and legumes, and fill up on protein, butter, eggs, and lower-carb veggies. While a bit more difficult, it’s possible for vegetarians to also follow an Atkins diet.
A sample Atkins menu for 1 week
This is a sample menu for one week on the Atkins diet.
It’s suitable for the induction phase, but you should add more higher-carb vegetables and some fruits as you move on to the other phases.
- breakfast: eggs and vegetables, fried in coconut oil
- lunch: chicken salad with olive oil and a handful of nuts
- dinner: steak and veggies
- breakfast: bacon and eggs
- lunch: leftover chicken and veggies from the night before
- dinner: bunless cheeseburger with vegetables and butter.
- breakfast: omelet with veggies, fried in butter
- lunch: shrimp salad with some olive oil
- dinner: ground-beef stir fry with veggies
- breakfast: eggs and veggies, fried in coconut oil
- lunch: leftover stir fry from dinner the night before
- dinner: salmon with butter and vegetables
- breakfast: bacon and eggs
- lunch: chicken salad with olive oil and a handful of nuts
- dinner: meatballs with vegetables
- breakfast: omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter
- lunch: leftover meatballs from the night before
- dinner: pork chops with vegetables
- breakfast: bacon and eggs
- lunch: leftover pork chops from the night before
- dinner: grilled chicken wings with salsa and veggies
Make sure to include a variety of different vegetables in your diet.
Nutritious lower-carb snacks
Many people feel that their appetite goes down on the Atkins diet. Some report feeling more than satisfied with three meals per day (sometimes only two).
However, if you feel hungry between meals, here are a few quick healthy snacks:
- a hard-boiled egg or two
- a few pieces of cheese
- a piece of meat
- a handful of nuts
- some Greek yogurt options
- berries and whipped cream
- baby carrots (careful during induction)
- fruits (after induction)
How to follow the Atkins diet when eating out
While it’s not always the easiest to follow the Atkins diet at many restaurants, it can be done. Some tips that may help include:
- Ask for extra vegetables instead of bread, potatoes, or rice.
- Order a meal based on fatty meat or fatty fish.
- Get some extra sauce, butter, or olive oil with your meal.
A simple shopping list
Eating organic is not necessary but always try to choose the least processed option that fits your budget.
- meats: Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, bacon.
- fatty fish: Salmon, trout, etc.
- shrimp and shellfish.
- dairy: Greek yogurt, heavy cream, butter, cheese.
- vegetables: Spinach, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, etc.
- berries: blueberries, strawberries, etc.
- nuts: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
- seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- fruits: Apples, pears, oranges.
- coconut oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- dark chocolate
- Condiments: sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, parsley, etc.
Planning out your meals and focusing on the outside aisles of the grocery store can help you find success on the Atkins diet.
Following the Atkins diet requires you to restrict certain nutrients that are important for your body. So while you may lose weight and experience other favorable metabolic changes, the Atkins diet can also result in the following side effects, particularly in the early phase of the diet \
- low blood sugar
- kidney problems
- electrolyte imbalance
Restricting carbohydrates on the Atkins diet also puts you at risk of insufficient fiber intake. Fiber is protective against heart disease and certain types of cancer, helps regulate appetite, and supports gut motility and healthy gut microbiota
A large portion of the fiber we eat comes from whole grains and whole grain products, like breads and pastas. These foods are restricted on the Atkins diet.
As mentioned earlier, the high saturated fat content of the Atkins diet may raise LDL (bad) cholesterol in some individuals. This may put you at increased risk of heart disease, though the research on this is conflicting.
Some research also suggests high fat diets, like the Atkins diet, influence the gut microbiome. Certain changes in the gut microbiome may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
One metabolite of the gut microbiota, known as tri-methylamine N-oxide (TMAO), is a predictor of incident cardiovascular disease events, like heart attack and stroke. In one study of several popular diets’ effects on TMAO, the Atkins diet was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disorders (as measured by levels of TMAO) when compared with a low fat (Ornish) diet
The Atkins diet is not for everyone and may pose some risks — both short term and long term. The long-term risks include the possibility of changes in your gut microbiome as well as increased LDL “bad” cholesterol. Make sure to consult your doctor before beginning any kind of new diet.
The bottom line
If you’re serious about the Atkins diet, consider buying or borrowing one of the Atkins books to learn more before getting started.
The Atkins diet can be an effective way to lose weight, but it’s not for everyone. It may not always be easy to access fresh produce or high quality meat, and relying heavily on these foods may prove quite expensive for many people.
Additionally, restrictive diets have been shown to increase the likelihood of some individuals developing disordered eating habits
People with high cholesterol or an increased risk of heart disease should monitor their cholesterol for unfavorable changes while on the Atkins diet. Those with diabetes should consult their doctor before beginning the Atkins diet.
Additionally, individuals with kidney disease and people who are pregnant should not follow the Atkins diet.
As always, consult a doctor or registered dietitian before starting a new weight-loss diet to make sure it’s right for your individual health needs.
The Atkins diet: a complete guide and helpful hints
The Atkins diet is a low-carb way of eating that can help people lose weight without feeling hungry or counting calories. Could the Atkins diet plan be right for you?
In this guide, you’ll learn all about the Atkins diet and get everything you need to lose weight successfully, including food lists, meal plans, and tips for achieving the best results.
1. What is the Atkins diet?
The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet created in the 1960s by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, a physician and cardiologist. Dr. Atkins found that when his patients avoided foods high in carbohydrates (carbs) — such as bread, potatoes, pasta, and fruit — they lost weight easily, without hunger or intentionally restricting calories.
If you believe that weight loss requires self-deprivation, I’m going to teach you otherwise
– Dr. Robert C Atkins
In 1972, Dr. Atkins published his first book, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, followed by Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution in 1992, and an updated version with the same name in 2002.
The Atkins diet is essentially a keto diet at the start. But then, over time, it involves adding specific carbs back into your diet until you find your personal carb level that allows you to maintain a healthy weight.
The Atkins diet has four phases:
- Phase 1 (Induction): Eat from a specific list of foods — especially protein foods like seafood, meat, cheese, and eggs — and stay below 20 grams of “net carbs” (total carbs minus fiber) per day. This is the strict keto diet phase. Eating this way leads to ketosis, where your body uses fat as its main fuel. Being in ketosis makes you feel less hungry, so you eat less and lose more weight. Follow phase 1 for a minimum of two weeks.
- Phase 2 (Ongoing weight loss, or OWL): Gradually add back more foods to your diet, 5 grams of net carbs at a time. Follow phase 2 until you’re within a few pounds of your goal weight.
- Phase 3 (Pre-maintenance): Experiment with adding back more carbs and fine-tuning your carb intake based on your progress. Follow phase 3 until you’re at your weight loss goal.
- Phase 4 (Maintenance): Eat within the carb range that allows you to maintain your weight. Follow phase 4 for the rest of your life.
2. Atkins diet food list for phase 1
During the induction phase, you’ll eat foods with minimal carbs. Although the “allowed” list is somewhat limited, you will still enjoy lots of delicious, filling foods.
Foods to eat freely
Eat as much of the following foods as you need to feel comfortably full (but not stuffed).
- Fish and shellfish of all types
- Poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Fresh meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb
- Processed meat, such as bacon, ham, or sausage
- Olive oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oils
- Herbs and spices
- Vinegar (exceptions: balsamic vinegar and flavored vinegars that contain sugar)
Foods to eat in limited amounts
- Above-ground vegetables: 2 to 3 cups per day
- Leafy greens, such as arugula, bok choy, lettuce, romaine, spinach
- And other keto-friendly vegetables
- Full-fat cheese: Up to 4 ounces or 116 grams per day
- Hard and semi-soft cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Gorgonzola
- Soft-ripened cheese, such as Brie and camembert
- Cream cheese
- Heavy cream: Up to 3 tablespoons per day
- Sour cream: Up to 2 tablespoons per day
- Olives: Up to 20 small olives per day
- Avocado: Up to half a small avocado per day
- Lemon or lime juice: Up to 3 tablespoons per day
Beverages to drink
- Water, club soda, or seltzer water with no added sugar
- Coffee or tea, with optional keto-friendly sweetener
- Sugar-free beverages (including diet iced tea and diet soda)
- Broth or bouillon
Tip: Drinking a daily cup or two of broth or bouillon during the induction phase can help minimize or prevent symptoms of the “keto flu,” a common set of temporary side effects like headache and fatigue that often occur at the beginning of a very-low-carb diet.
Foods and beverages to avoid
During phase 1, you eat protein, fat, and above-ground vegetables. That means you avoid all foods and beverages not listed above, including:
- Sugar, including honey and syrup
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Grains, such as bread, pasta, rice, and cereal
- Fruit juice
- Below-ground vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and potatoes
- Fruit, including berries
- Nuts and seeds
- Yogurt, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese
3. Sample Atkins diet menu
Planning meals during phase 1 of the Atkins diet is easy:
- Start with a generous serving of protein.
- Add low-carb vegetables as a salad, stir-fry, or side dish
- Include fat for flavor and fullness
Here is a simple seven-day menu for phase 1 of the Atkins diet. Feel free to substitute other foods from the acceptable foods list above, based on your preferences and what you have on hand.
- Breakfast: Jill’s cheese-crusted keto omelet
- Lunch: Shrimp salad with mayo, tomatoes, and cucumbers
- Dinner: Chicken wings, celery with keto ranch dip
- Breakfast: Bacon and scrambled eggs
- Lunch: Cheese and tomato salad with olive oil dressing
- Dinner: Pulled pork with cauliflower mash
- Breakfast: Ham and cheese plate with tomatoes
- Lunch: Bell pepper stuffed with tuna salad
- Dinner: Roast beef with zucchini fettuccine
- Breakfast: Sausage and fried eggs
- Lunch: Chef salad (ham, turkey, cheese, hard-boiled egg, and greens) with ranch dressing
- Dinner: Roast chicken with butter-fried broccoli
- Breakfast: No-bread keto breakfast sandwich
- Lunch: Leftover chicken and broccoli
- Dinner: Bunless cheeseburger with coleslaw
- Breakfast: Smoked salmon with sliced tomatoes and mayo
- Lunch: Keto Cobb salad with ranch dressing
- Dinner: Lamb chops with herb butter and roasted Brussels sprouts
Maintaining a loss of over 100 pounds on a low-carb diet for 17 years
- Breakfast: Keto caprese omelet
- Lunch: Salmon with a mixed green salad and olive oil dressing
- Dinner: Steak and grilled asparagus