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The Atkins Diet Plan: Food, Menus and Phases

By HERWriter
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When many of us think of the low-carb diet craze The Atkins Diet often comes to mind. The diet, having been around for 40 years, has helped many lose weight and get away from refined carbohydrates.

Dr. Atkins started the plan in 1963 when he was troubled with the growing obesity epidemic among his patients. Atkins found how eating the right foods while limiting refined carbohydrates in one’s diet changed a person’s body from a carb-burning to a fat-burning machine. This in turn, led to successful weight loss and improvements in many weight-related health issues. It was from this revolutionary thinking that the Atkins Nutritional Approach was born.

The Atkins Diet has its own Atkins Food Guide Pyramid which the company says is the “key to weight loss, weight management, energy and health.” Here is how the pyramid works: At the base of the pyramid are your lean proteins, leafy greens, vegetables and healthy oils. This is a majority of what you eat in the beginning. As you become more successful and closer to your goal, you get to start adding more foods such as fiber-rich fruits, dairy, nuts, legumes and whole grains.

The Atkins Diet is also based on activity level. The more active you are the more net carbs such as whole grains, barley, oats and brown rice can be added to your menu.

The Atkins Diet is broken down into phases with Phase 1 called Induction, where you will lose a majority of your weight and eat at least 4-6 ounces of lean protein at each meal. You are only allowed 20 grams of net carbs in this phase. In Phase 2 which is entitled Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) you can add back some more foods and up your net carb intake to 25.

Phase 3 is called Pre-Maintenance where you are only 10 pounds from goal. Here you test your carb tolerance, by adding back in 10 grams of carbs each week. Phase 4 is Lifetime Maintenance where you will maintain your previously discovered Atkins Carbohydrate Equillibrium for life.

The Atkins Diet also has its own line of foods which are rich in protein, “a powerhouse of energy for the body and metabolism booster." The bars and shakes also contain fiber which help “control your appetite, regulate blood sugar and help with digestion.”

The Atkins Advantage Bars come in a variety of flavors and textures including Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar and Sweet and Salty Almond Crunch Granola Bar. The majority of the bars are 210 calories, containing 16 grams of protein, 1 gram of sugar, with 2 grams of net carbohydrates. There is also a low-carb all purpose baking mix and a low-carb pasta.

Of course there are plenty of recipes of all different international cuisines. Salads are dressed up with Baby Spinach, avocado, olives, feta and walnuts. Dinner is delectable for 195 calories of Baked Artichoke-Parsley and Cheese Squares. Dessert will only set you back 170 calories with a Hazelnut Coffee Torte with Apricot Puree.

Online References:

AtkinsDiet.com – The Atkins Diet. Web 26 Aug. 2011.


Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.

Reviewed August 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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