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Compare Atkins Diet Plans

Losing weight with Atkins has never been easier. Learn about our two types of low carb diets below:

With Atkins 20™, your starting point (Phase 1, Induction ) is 20 grams of net carbs a day.

With Atkins 40™, your starting point is 40 grams of net carbs a day.

Both plans allow you to increase your carbs, but one adds food one at a time and the other adds to your carbohydrate portion size as you approach weight loss goals. See examples below.

Starting Point

Net Carbs (grams) = total carbs minus fiber
20
40
Protein
3 servings of 4 – 6 oz per serving
3 servings of 4 – 6 oz per serving
Healthy Fats
3 servings of added healthy fats per day e.g. butter, salad dressings, olive oil, etc.
3 servings of added healthy fats per day e.g. butter, salad dressings, olive oil, etc.
Carbohydrates
Limited
Most carbs should come from vegetables during first 2 weeks e.g. leafy greens and other low-carb vegetables.
You can also have dairy foods high in fat and low in carbs: cream, sour cream, and most hard cheeses.
Limited
Most carbs should from vegetables during first 2 weeks e.g. leafy greens and other low-carb vegetables You can also have dairy foods high in fat and low in carbs: cream, sour cream, and most hard cheeses

Next Steps

Adding carbs back into your diet
Add in 5g net carb increments starting with lower carb foods and gradually progressing to higher carb foods.
  • Nuts and seeds (but not chestnuts)
  • Berries, cherries, and melon (but not watermelon)
  • Whole milk yogurt and fresh cheeses, such as cottage cheese and ricotta
  • Legumes, including chickpeas, lentils, and the like.
  • Tomato and vegetable juice “cocktail” Other fruits (but not fruit juices or dried fruits)
  • Higher-carb vegetables, such as winter squash, carrots, and peas.
Add 10 grams of net carbs when you’re within 10 pounds of your goal weight by increasing your serving size or adding more variety.
You can add in 10g of net carbs each week as long as you continue to lose weight. Continue to use the same acceptable foods list.

Maintaining Your Weight Loss

Adding foods back into your diet
Progressive
Add carbs back into your diet slowly – following the Atkins carb ladder
All Food Groups
The acceptable foods list remains the same until you reach your goal weight
Protein
3 servings of 4 – 6 oz per serving
3 servings of 4 – 6 oz per serving
Healthy Fats
3 servings of added healthy fats per day e.g. butter, salad dressings, olive oil, etc.
3 servings of added healthy fats per day e.g. butter, salad dressings, olive oil, etc.
Adding carbs back into your diet
Phases 3 and 4, Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance: Rung 8: Other fruits (but not fruit juices or dried fruits) Rung 9: Higher-carb vegetables, such as winter squash, carrots, and peas Rung 10: Whole grains
Continue to add carbs back in 10g net carb increments until your weight stabilizes. Maintain that carb intake to maintain your weight.
Adding foods back into your diet
There are five important points to understand as you begin to reintroduce foods.
  • Count your carbs. If you’ve been estimating grams of Net Carbs, now is the time to start counting them.
  • One at a time. Add only one new food each day. That way, if a food reawakens cravings, or stalls or reverses weight loss, you can easily identify it—and back off for the time being.
  • More variety, not more food. You’re increasing your range of foods but not the amount of food that you’re eating day to day.
  • Stay with foundation vegetables. As you add new foods, you’ll substitute some of them for other carb foods you’re already eating, but not your 12 to 15 grams of Net Carbs from foundation vegetables.
  • Write it down. The process of adding back foods doesn’t always happen smoothly, and you’ll want to know which food is causing which response, so, if necessary, you know which to back off from.
All Food Groups
You can now expand your acceptable food list to include virtually all foods. Keep in mind that you’ll want to continue to avoid / limit sugar, refined carbs and any “trigger” foods that cause you to consume too many carbs.

Example Meal Plans

Breakfast
Cheese and Spinach Omelet Topped with Avocado and Salsa
Cheese and Spinach Omelet Topped with Avocado and Salsa and 1 Piece of Whole Grain Toast
Snack
Atkins Advantage Vanilla Shake
Handful of Walnuts
Lunch
Roast Chicken Stir Fry
Roast Chicken Stir Fry
Snack
Mozzarella String Cheese
1/4 Cup of Blueberries
Dinner
Roast Turkey Tenders with Herb Pan Gravy and a Salad
Roast Turkey Tenders with Herb Pan Gravy and a Salad

What is Net Atkins Count™?

When you follow the Atkins Diet, you count grams of Net Carbs by looking at the information provided on the food label. Net Carbs = total carbohydrates, minus the fiber content and sugar alcohols (if in the product). The Net Carbs number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level and therefore are the only carbs you need to count when you do Atkins. Foods that are low in Net Carbs such as nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits don't have a significant impact on blood sugar and therefore are less likely to interfere with weight loss.

Calculate Net Carbs with the information provided on a food nutrition label (or you can use the Atkins Carb Counter):

Total Carbohydrates - Dietary Fiber - Sugar alcohol = Net carbs

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