Induction on the Atkins Diet

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Atkins Diet Induction Phase. Ted Morrison / Getty Images

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

Induction on the Atkins Diet is the introductory phase of ​the plan. It is sometimes referred to as the "start-up diet" by Atkins dieters. The Induction phase typically lasts for 14 days and often leads to significant weight loss. Here is some basic information about what Induction is like on the Atkins Diet:

The Purpose of Induction on the Atkins Diet

The purpose of the Induction Diet is to induce a change in your body chemistry that leads to lipolysis (burning fat for energy) and a secondary process known as ketosis.

During ketosis, the body switches from using glucose for energy (since sufficient dietary carbs are not available) to using fat. Dr. Atkins suggests that this process not only leads to fat-reduction but also helps to suppress your appetite.

More: The Purpose of Induction on the Atkins Diet

Strict Guidelines on Induction

Induction is a very rigorous part of the Atkins plan and it requires strict reduction in carbohydrate-intake. That means giving up many common foods such as bread and baked goods. You are only allowed to consume between 15 to 20 grams of certain carbohydrates during the Induction Diet.

You will need to track the carb content of your food to stay in the recommended range of grams. An example of one day's carbohydrate-intake could include a small salad at both lunch and dinner and a serving of allowed cooked vegetables at one meal.

Rules of Induction on the Atkins Diet

There are a number of rules that you will carefully follow on the Induction phase of the Atkins Diet.

In addition to adhering to the maximum carbohydrate limit mentioned above, you will need to avoid certain products such as chewing gum or cough drops due to their sugar content. Same goes for beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.The rules also require you to eliminate a number of foods that are completely off-limits such as fruit and grains (Dr. Atkins stresses they should be completely eliminated -- not even a "taste" is allowable!).

You will build all of your meals and snacks around a list of "allowed" foods. This portion of the plan consists largely of protein and fat in addition to the small amount of allowed carbohydrates. Some allowed or "free" foods on the Induction phase of the Atkins Diet include salad vegetables, tuna, aged cheese, ham, okra, scrambled eggs, and turkey.

When the Induction phase of the Atkins Diet is complete, you will be allowed to add additional foods back into your diet.

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Note: The Induction Diet should not be followed by pregnant or breast-feeding women or anyone with severe kidney disease. Please consult your doctor before beginning this or any diet.


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

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