Phase One of the Atkins Diet: Induction

The Most Strict Phase of the Atkins Diet Explained

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Induction is the strictest phase of the Atkins Diet, marked by a cutback of carbohydrates to 20 grams per day. Fat and protein are the primary sources of calories during this phase of the Atkins diet. There is a list of acceptable foods that shouldn't be deviated from, but portions of most foods are unlimited. This is the phase of the most rapid weight loss. However, that loss won't come easy given the very limited foods available during this phase of the Atkins diet.

What You Eat During the Induction Phase of the Atkins Diet

There is some variation in the amounts of allowed vegetables between the books and the website, but the main rule is clear: Get most of your carbs from vegetables. Otherwise, allowed foods are primarily protein foods and fats. Beverages containing alcohol or caffeine are not allowed. Here are the allowed foods. If it isn’t on the list, it isn’t allowed. There are no exceptions during this phase which can be a real shock to your body.

Length of Phase One of the Atkins Diet

In the original Atkins books, Induction was to continue for a minimum of two weeks and was encouraged for people to continue longer if they desired, as long as they tolerated the change well, or if they had a lot of weight to lose. The website now says that Induction is to last two weeks, and any more is optional.

Goals of Induction

  1. To induce “Benign Dietary Ketosis,” a state where fat is the primary fuel of the body. In this state fat metabolites called ketones (actually, one particular ketone) show up in the urine and can be detected with Ketostix. Atkins likes ketosis as a sign that people are using fat for energy; however, people are going to have varying reactions to the Ketostix. When people are in a state of ketosis, their appetite tends to diminish. They also may have changes in their breath as extra ketones are expelled from the lungs as well as the urine.
  1. To stabilize blood sugar and the symptoms that may come from erratic blood sugar, such as fatigue, mood swings and “brain fog.” Reduction in food cravings is also often experienced.
  2. Rapid weight loss. People tend to get a boost when they see the numbers on the scale drop rapidly.

The Affects of Ketosis on the Atkins Diet

When the body is not given carbohydrate to convert into energy for bodily functions, it will use the fat and protein available through the Atkins diet.

The switch to a different source of energy will affect your body. People experiencing ketosis due to the low carb Atkins diet or any other low carb diet may experience the following:​​​

To prevent these and other side effects drink water consistently and often, don't skip meals and stay relatively active.

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