Phases, Weight Loss, and Side Effects


  • The Atkins diet is a low-carb diet divided into four phases and designed to help you lose weight.
  • Unlike keto, the Atkins diet encourages you to incorporate carbohydrates into your meals.
  • However, some dietitians do not recommend Atkins because it can be too restrictive.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference Library for more tips.

Robert C. Atkins developed the Atkins diet in the 1960s. In short, it’s a low-carb diet with the idea that if you limit the number of carbs you eat, you

lose weight
. Basically, it’s an early version of the keto diet – but with someone key differences.

The height of the popularity of the diet was in the early 2000s when one in 11 Americans he said they were on a type of low-carb diet, of which Atkins was a popular choice.

Since then, the Atkins diet has fallen out of favor with other popular restrictive diets such as intermittent fasting and the keto diet.

Here’s what you need to know about the Atkins diet, if it works, and how to know if it’s the right option for you.

The three versions of the Atkins diet

Depending on your weight loss goals, the Atkins The website recommends following one of its three diet plans:

  • Atkins 20® where you start eating 20 grams of net carbs per day.
  • Atkins 40® where you start eating 40 grams of net carbohydrates per day.
  • Atkins 100 ™ where you start eating 100 grams of net carbohydrates per day diet plan.

The four phases of the Atkins diet

Once you choose a diet plan, you will go through four phases of the Atkins diet that will gradually reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet over time. The last phase is thought to help develop the Atkins diet as a way to eat for life.

The four phases are as follows:

Introduction: This is the most restrictive phase of the diet and is intended to initiate weight loss. At this stage, you are limited to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. This phase forces your body into ketogenic metabolism – meaning that the extreme lack of carbohydrates forces your body to burn fat for energy. At this stage, you will eat mainly protein, fats and low-carb vegetables such as leafy greens.

Weight loss going forward: At this stage, you can begin to gradually introduce more carbohydrates into your diet. Your daily carbohydrate intake can increase by 5 grams per week (maximum to an additional 40 grams per week) and you can begin to diversify your eating options. In the second phase, you can eat nuts, seeds and berries. If your goal is to lose £ 14 or less, you can start here and skip the first restrictive phase.

Pre-maintenance: During this phase, you can increase your carbohydrate intake by 10 grams per week (maximum to an additional 100 grams per week) so that you can find your carb balance. This is the fine-tuning stage of the diet and it is important to make sure you keep an eye on your target weight. If weight loss stops, you should reimburse your carbohydrate intake. This phase has more relaxed dietary restrictions and you can start eating beans, starchy vegetables and cereals.

Maintenance of life: Phase four should ideally last a lifetime and it is about having relatively few restrictions, but keeping the tools to make healthy choices. If you start gaining weight, the company recommends reducing carbohydrate intake by 10 grams at a time.

Atkins is unlikely to be better than a simple calorie restriction

Although some people are attracted to the discipline and guidance that the Atkins diet offers, there is little evidence that Atkins is the best way to lose weight.

“Research shows that weight loss is typically achieved with calorie restriction, not specifically carbohydrate restriction,” says Tony Castillo, MS, RDN, LDN, nutritional consultant for RSP Nutrition.


Based on magazine, published in 2019 in the journal Nutrients, of studies exploring low-carb and low-fat diets in relation to weight loss, the researchers report that there is not enough evidence to conclude that low-carb or low-fat diets Fats are best for helping people lose weight and keep them from restricting calories.

And while low-carb diets like Atkins have been shown to help people lose weight faster, is not the case in the long run.

“Some research shows an increase in weight loss when a low-carb diet is followed, after six months,” Castillo says. “However, after one year on a low-carbohydrate diet, there is no difference in weight loss when compared to other diets with calorie restriction.”

How do you know if you should try the Atkins diet

Castillo recommends proceeding with caution before attempting to adopt a new diet such as Atkins.

“Before starting a diet it is important to always consult with a registered dietitian and your doctor, as there may be some cases where a low carb diet may not be the right measure for you,” he says.

For example, the diet would not work, many “active individuals since carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body,” he says.

He adds that there are often unwanted side effects. “As a rule, low-carbohydrate diets can cause a weak, tired, tired, dizzy, or even headache feeling, which is why it’s important to consult an expert first.”

According to Castillo, the most important factor to consider is that the Atkins diet can lead to a deficiency of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, so a complete plan will ensure that these nutritional needs are met.

Take away the Insider

Castillo’s latest opinion on Atkins is, “I think Atkins is going to be too restrictive in the long run.”

Instead, he recommends, “a diet that won’t cause nutritional deficiencies would include all types of foods,” he says. Meaning, fresh, healthy foods can give your daily value of essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins that are important for good health.

Some diets that experts recommend for good long-term health include Mediterranean diet and u DASH diet.

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