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So You're Thinking Of Starting Atkins

Hello and welcome.

Please go get a glass of water if your not drinking it now, and read on...

Some of you that either don't have the book, don't own a copy, haven't read it yet, maybe missed a few parts in the book (easy to do 1st time) or simply don't understand some of it might want to take a look at this post.

*This thread is not meant to replace the book by ANY MEANS...get the book as soon as you can.

The most important thing is to understand how this Plan works, how to begin, and then how to continue through all four (4) phases as Dr. Atkins recommends.

While you're reading and rereading the book, and posts on this site you can get started on the right foot by drinking enough water, and taking walks.

As you read make a shopping list so you can get started on the right track...shop for the recommended vitamins as well as foods, and spring water.

Atkins Plan basics...

There are four phases to the plan:

1) Induction
2) Ongoing Weight Loss
3) Pre-Maintenance
4) Maintenance

First of all have you'll need to read the chapter in Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (DANDR) that talks about Induction. Read and reread it making notes. This will be your foundation, and where you'll get the list of allowed foods for the period that you will spend on the 1st phase of the program.

The 1st chapter lists all of the legal foods. Having the book is very important, because you'll have to refer to it often. I still learn new things almost every single day after 7 years on Atkins!

In the beginning it is either 3 mugs of salad vegetables *OR* 2 mugs of salad vegetables plus 1 mug of "Vegetables In Addition To Salad Vegetables" which are referred to as 10% Carbohydrate of less.

Here's a list of the foods allowed on Phase 1 (Induction).

However remember this is not to be used in place of reading the book, and the related chapter. It is most important to get hold of a copy of the book, and study it!

Fish/fowl/shellfish/meat/eggs - including:

tuna, chicken, oysters*, beef, eggs, salmon, turkey, mussels*, pork, sole, duck, lobster, lamb, trout, goose, clams, bacon**, flounder, Cornish hen, squid, veal, sardines, quail, shrimp, ham**, herring, pheasant, crabmeat, venison

*Oysters and mussels are higher in carbs than other shellfish, so limit them to four ounces per day.

**Processed meats, such as ham, bacon, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs and other luncheon meats-and some fish-may be cured with added sugar and will contribute carbs. Try to avoid meat and fish products cured with nitrates, which are known carcinogens. Also beware of products that are not exclusively meat, fish or fowl, such as imitation fish, meatloaf and breaded foods. Finally, do not consume more than four ounces of organ meats a day.


You can consume THREE to FOUR ounces daily of the following full-fat, firm, soft and semisoft aged cheeses*, including:

cow, sheep and goat cheese
cream cheese
Roquefort and other blue cheeses

*All cheeses have some carbohydrate content. The quantity you eat should be governed by that knowledge. The rule of thumb is to count 1 ounce of cheese as equivalent to 1 gram of carbohydrate.

Note that cottage cheese and other fresh cheeses are not permitted during Induction.

No "diet" cheese, cheese spreads or whey cheeses are permitted. Individuals with known yeast symptoms, dairy allergy or cheese intolerance must avoid cheese. Imitation cheese products are not allowed, except for soy or rice cheese-but check the carbohydrate content.

You can have two to three mugs per day of:

daikon radish
bok choi
pak choi
broad leaf endive
bell peppers
romaine lettuce
lambs lettuce

These salad vegetables are high in phytonutrients and provide a good source of fiber.

Other Vegetables:

You can have one mug per day of these veggies if salad does not exceed two mugs. The following vegetables are slightly higher in carbohydrate content than the salad vegetables:

artichoke hearts
swiss chard
bamboo shoots
spring greens
spring onion (scallions)
snow peas
bean sprouts
spaghetti squash
beet greens
hearts of palm
string or wax beans
brussels sprouts (Ugh!)
kohlrabi (German Turnip)
okra (ladies fingers)
water chestnuts
onion (in moderation)

If a vegetable, such as spinach or tomato, cooks down significantly, it must be measured raw so as not to underestimate its carb count.

Salad Garnishes:

crumbled crisp bacon
grated cheese
minced hard-boiled egg
sautéed mushrooms
sour cream

All spices to taste, but make sure none contain added sugar.

cayenne pepper

For salad dressing, use oil and vinegar (but not balsamic vinegar, which contains sugar) or lemon juice and herbs and spices.

Prepared salad dressings without added sugar and no more than two carbs per tablespoon serving are also fine.

Acceptable Fats and Oils:
Many fats, especially certain oils, are essential to good nutrition.
Olive oil is particularly valuable. All other vegetable oils are allowed, the best being walnut, soybean, grapeseed, sesame, sunflower and safflower oils, especially if they are labeled "cold-pressed" or "expeller-pressed." Do not cook polyunsaturated oils, such as corn, soybean and sunflower oil, at high temperatures or allow to brown or smoke.

Butter is allowed. Margarine should be avoided, not because of its carbohydrate content, but because it is usually made of trans fats (hydrogenated oils), which are a serious health hazard. (Some nonhydrogenated margarines are available in health-food stores.)

You don't have to remove the skin and fat from meat or fowl. Salmon and other cold-water fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Remember that trying to do a low-fat version of Atkins will interfere with fat burning and derail your weight loss.

Artificial Sweeteners

You must determine which artificial sweeteners agree with you, but the following are allowed: sucralose (marketed as Splenda?), saccharin, cyclamate and acesulfame-K.

Natural sweeteners ending in the suffix "-ose," such as maltose, fructose, etc., should be avoided. However, certain sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, do not affect blood sugar and are acceptable. In some cases they do react as sugar would though we've found.

Saccharin has been extensively studied, and harmful effects were produced in the lab when fed to rats only in extremely high doses. Upon a thorough review of the medical literature and the National Institute of Science?s statement that there is "no clear association between saccharin and human cancer." It can be safely consumed in moderation, meaning no more than three packets a day. Saccharin is marketed as Sweet'n Low?.

Atkins discourage the use of aspartame (marketed as NutraSweet® and Equal®) because of clinical observations that it slows weight loss in certain individuals.

The Atkins preference, however, is sucralose (Splenda?), the only sweetener made from sugar. Sucralose is safe, noncaloric and does not raise blood sugar. Note that each packet of sugar substitute contains about 1 gram of carbohydrate, so don?t forget to include the amount in your daily totals.

Acceptable Beverages
Be sure to drink a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, including:

Filtered water
Mineral water
Spring water
Tap water

Additionally, you can have the following:

Clear broth/bouillon (not all brands; read the label)
Club soda
Cream, heavy or light (limit to two to three tablespoons a day; note carbohydrate content)
Decaffeinated coffee or tea*
Diet drinks made with sucralose (Splenda?); be sure to count the carbs
Herb teas (without barley or any fruit sugar added)
Lemon juice or lime juice (note that each contains 2.8 grams carbohydrate per ounce); limit to two to three tablespoons

Alcoholic beverages are also not permitted during Induction; those low in carbohydrates are an option, in moderation, in later phases. (do what I say not what I do  )

Special Category Foods
To add variety, each day you can also eat 10 to 20 olives, half a small avocado, an ounce of sour cream or three ounces of unsweetened heavy cream, as well as two to three tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice. But be aware that these foods occasionally slow down weight loss in some people, and may need to be avoided in the first two weeks. If you seem to be losing slowly, moderate your intake of these foods.

Convenience Foods
Although it is important that you eat primarily unprocessed foods, some controlled carb food products can come in handy when you are unable to find appropriate food, can’t take time for a meal or need a quick snack. More and more companies are creating healthy food products that can be eaten during the Induction phase of Atkins. Just remember two things:

Not all convenience food products are the same, so check labels and carbohydrate content.

While any of these foods can make doing Atkins easier, don't overdo it. Remember, you must always follow The Rules of Induction.

********* END
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Silver Member
Hi Jim,

i have been lurking around here for some time now. I lost 6 stone on LL last year but went into management a stone before what was my initial goal. I have maintained fairly well my ups and downs stay within 3lbs. I do however want to loose that last stone now and have decided to give Atkins a try. Will probably start next week. The first two weeks are easy for me I could live on red meat, eggs and the odd bit of cheese. Its after that it becomes difficult for me. I will no doubt be on here more often to pick your brain.

Thank you for the very informative post.
Hiya Jim

Thanks very much for this - I have an Atkins book, but I think it's very out of date (or I haven't been reading it correctly!).

I just want to say I've been stalking this forum for a while, I'm currently on the CD, and to be honest - getting a bit bored of it!

I can't wait to start Atkins, and I look forward to having a chat with all of you here!

Many thanks

Dan :wave_cry:


Wannabe Lean!!!
Cracking post Jim :)
Thanks for this post Jim, Ive decided to switch from LL today and go over to Atkins, Im already deep into ketosis so hopefully the transition wont be too hard on my weight, the LL diet has been very successful and Ive lost 20 lbs in just 2 weeks but I just cannot stomach anymore of those shakes, I used the Atkins diet very succesfully a couple of years ago but fell off the bandwagon after losing 18 lbs, so Im going to look after my ketosis this time as if my life depended on it. I will keep anyone who is interested informed of how well this goes for me in case anyone is interested.


Full Member
Aw everyone is interested. I enjoy reading how everyone is getting on it helps to keep me motivated.

Good luck with your journey.xx
Hi Hellraiser, i am a newbie here too, been doing low carb for week and a half, have managed to resist the scales so far(planning on avoiding them for as long as pos)
Best of luck
Hi hellraiser, OK mate, come on over to the Atkins forum and start posting. Good luck and feel free to ask as many questions as you like.
Hi all, the transition is going well, didn't lose anything the first day, and lost a pound this morning, I know it's not much but I knew it would take a bit of time to adjust to the new diet. I feel great and have more energy. Jim, you said come on over to the Atkins forum, which forum is the main one I should use please ? Or which thread should I say ?
It's either low carb or Atkins mate under other diets I Think?


Recovering chocoholic.
I have ordered the Atkins book & hope to start soon. Thank you for your sticky.


Recovering chocoholic.
Hi everyone, this is my third day on Atkins. Can anyone tell me if the headache, indigestion & feeling yuck on induction are the norm? If so how long will it last? I do so want to stick it out, I have already lost 1lb which would have taken me a fortnight on SW.

May I say thank you for printing the rules Jim, It is somehow clearer than the book ..
Last edited:
One Word. Atkins flu, it's your body changing from burning carbs for energy to burning fat. it can take between 3 - 7 days to shake it off, but, the reward is an intense energy surge.
oooops, that's two words isn't it ;)
New girl

Hi, I am also new to the Atkins diet, having had a dabble with it a few years ago and suffering the Atkins flu symptoms, I dropped it fairly quick, but noticed i lost weight quickly.

A few years on and having been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, i find putting weight on too easy and losing it incredibly hard.
I tried Slimming World with some loss, but took forever, I joined the gym and exercised 3 times a week for 2 hours at a time, still not much happend, got fitter though.
So I have decided to re-try Atkins.
Its been almost a week and it has been a little hard getting used to this food and not all the foods i really want to eat, I have suffered the headaches, lack of energy, the irritableness and the rumbling tummy and i am happy... as so far i have lost 5 lbs :banana dancer:. I just hope that it continues to come off at a reasonable pace as its so hard to lose weight when the thyroid isn't up to scratch.
Great to read everyones success stories, makes me feel 'I can do this'.
Thanks guys. x :)
That made me laugh Lainey. LOL
Thanks both, can you tell me how to make this font a little smaller, its huge isn't it ?
I didn't realise it would be sooooo big...its my first posting.

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