About Atkins: Induction

*For updated information about Atkins, see What to Expect on the New Atkins Diet


Induction on the Atkins diet lasts for 14 days and requires a strict limitation on the amount of carbs you can consume each day. This article will help you understand Induction on the Atkins Diet.

What is Ketosis?
During ketosis, the body switches from using glucose for energy (sufficient dietary carbs are not available) to using fat; fatty acids are then released into the bloodstream and converted into ketones.

The ketones themselves are produced by the metabolism of fat.

Ketosis refers to the process of the conversion. The ketones are used by your muscles, your brain, and other organs as an energy source. Excess ketones are then eliminated during urination.

What does Induction Do?
Some of the results Dr. Atkins says induction will bring on include:


  • Stabilization of your blood sugar.
  • Putting to an end various health symptoms resulting from unstable blood sugar, such as fatigue.
  • Curbing your cravings.
  • Breaking food addictions.
  • A noticeable amount of weight loss.


What are Meals Like on Induction?
You will be building your meals around an allowed list that includes a variety of foods. Examples of Atkins-friendly breakfasts are bacon and eggs or an omelette.

Many Atkins dieters I know enjoy a chef's salad for lunch; another quick Atkins lunch is a scoop of tuna atop salad vegetables.

It's also quite easy to create a variety of appealing dinners from the allowed foods list, such as poached salmon with a cup of salad and a cup of spinach.

You'll learn more as you go along; using the list, you'll be able to build meal plans around your own personal preferences.

What Foods can I Eat on Induction?
Foods that can be consumed liberally during the induction phase are: fish, fowl, shellfish, meat, and eggs. You can also have a certain amount of some cheeses.

Additionally, you can eat 20 grams of carbohydrate a day.

You can eat two to three cups of salad a day comprised of the particular vegetables Dr. Atkins specifies, which include (but are not limited to): escarole, fennel, radicchio, cucumber, lettuce, and mushrooms.

You may garnish your salads with certain toppings such as bacon bits, grated cheese, and hard-boiled egg.

If you choose to consume two cups of salad (rather than three), you can add another cup of vegetables from a different list. Those include artichokes, snow peas, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and many others.

It's definitely a misconception that Atkins lacks variety considering all the different vegetables available on this list. The key is to keep your portion in check (1 cup) and to remember to cut your salad back to two cups so you can have them.

The reason these vegetables are more limited is because they are slightly higher in carbohydrate content than the salad vegetables.

What can I Drink on Induction?
Dr. Atkins advises you to follow the rule of thumb of consuming eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day, which can be consumed in the form of tap water, spring water, mineral water, and filtered water.

You can also choose other specific beverages from a list that includes herbal tea and decaffeinated coffee.

What is Off-Limits on Induction?
If you don't like following rules, this diet's going to be a little tough for you to adjust to.

The rules that will probably be the most difficult for many former high-carb dieters are induction rules number 4 and 5. Number 4 tells you to eliminate fruit, bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy products (except cheese, cream, and butter).

Number 5 warns you to not eat anything that is not on the acceptable foods list. That means none, not even one of your kids' french fries! Why? Dr. Atkins says a "just one taste" mentality could ultimately lead to failure.

Is Constipation a Problem?
It could be. For some Atkins dieters, the induction diet does result in constipation due to the changes in the types of food eaten. Dr. Atkins shares some ways to alleviate this problem if you do experience it in the rules section of the chapter about induction.

Follow the Rules!
Induction is a very important phase of the Atkins plan. You should consult the Atkins book (Chapter 11) and read this portion very carefully before you begin to attempt the induction process. There are 12 rules that you are to follow carefully during these first 14 days.

Dr. Atkins warns "[Induction] must be followed precisely... If you do it at all incorrectly you may prevent weight loss..." (122).

It's Not for Forever
For most people, induction is meant to last for two weeks, not for good. It is not it in and of itself the Atkins diet. As you proceed through the book, you will learn additional steps toward creating your own personalized eating plan. This includes adding carbs in five gram increments after you've completed induction.

Dr. Atkins does say that you can stay on induction longer than the initial two weeks if you wish. You will lose more weight, more quickly if you stay on induction. When you begin Ongoing Weight Loss, your weight loss may slow down somewhat from its initial significance.

(Note: Please receive medical approval before beginning this or any diet!)

Atkins, Robert C., MD. Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. New York: Avon Health, 2002.

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