Atkins Diet Induction – How To Get Started

Atkins diet induction

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Induction just sounds scary. Is it really that hard, though? The initial phase of Atkins is very strict with all high carb foods crossed off the allowed food list. But it doesn’t last very long, and if you follow as planned, you’ll lose a considerable amount of weight in this first phase.

Here’s what you should know about Atkins diet induction, and some tips to help you lose the most weight.

What To Expect

Weight Loss

On most diets you’ve tried your weight loss was probably incredibly slow in comparison to the changes you made to your diet and exercise. Right? You diet and exercise for two weeks and on most diets you’ll only lose a pound or two.

Atkins is very different in this respect, and it’s because of the induction phase. Most people will lose the most weight, in terms of pounds, in the first few weeks.

If you aren’t seeing dramatic results in the first two weeks, you’re likely eating too many carbs during the induction phase.

Allowed Foods

Induction is often considered the hardest part of the diet, because your food list is incredibly strict without much variety. Your food choices will expand greatly as you progress to the other phases, but it’s important to stick to the recommended foods and not stray off on your own during induction.

You’re also limited to only 20 net carbs during induction, so it’s recommended to weigh all your food and be as precise as possible in the early stages of the diet. Try to avoid guessing, or estimating how many carbs are in your servings.


The good news is induction doesn’t last very long. The minimum recommended length for induction is only two weeks with the option to stay in this ultra low carb phase a little longer if you’d like to lose a few more pounds.

But it isn’t intended to be a long term diet or meal plan, so make sure you transition to the next phase when ready.

Essential Protein List

One of the more popular aspects of Atkins induction is you’ll get to eat a lot of foods that are normally banned on most diets. Atkins is focused on carb content and not fat content. So fatty cuts of meat, butter, mayonnaise, and avocados are going to be a main staple for most meals.

And bacon, don’t forget to load up on bacon at the grocery store.

You may be hesitant to eat a lot of fat, especially if you’re trying to lose body fat, but it’s part of the process. The fat content in your diet is needed to replace your primary energy source (carbohydrates).

If you change your diet to no carbs and no fat, it’s going to be an unpleasant experience.

High Protein Sources You Should Eat

Ground Beef
Pork Chops

High Fat Sources You Should Eat

Olive Oil
Mayonnaise (Don’t use low fat mayo)

Foods You Absolutely Can’t Eat

There are certain foods you’ll need to classify as “do not touch” during Atkins induction. It isn’t because they’re unhealthy, or directly cause weight gain. The carb content in some food is so dense it can wreck an entire day of Atkins dieting and put you over the carb threshold with just one serving.

Yeah, just a few slices of bread can wreck an entire day. Here’s a quick list of foods you’ll want to cross off your shopping list for the next few weeks.

Do Not Eat List

All Fruit
Most vegetables (carrots, corn, broccoli)

Tips For Induction Success

Drink Lots Of Water. Some people experience headaches and dizziness on Atkins, and it can often be attributed to dehydration. Much of the water we get everyday is found in our food, but most of those high water foods aren’t part of induction, resulting in insufficient water consumption.

Limit Sugar Substitutes. Even though those little packets say they’re zero calories, with zero carbs that isn’t always true. There are trace carbs and calories that can add up if you eat enough. On Atkins, each packet should be counted as 1 gram of carbohydrates.

Distribute Your Calories Throughout The Day. Try to avoid eating one massive meal, leaving yourself hungry and miserable the rest of the day. Three good meals, and one or two snacks is recommended.

You Don’t Have To Start At Induction. Some people find the induction phase very challenging, and don’t even realize it isn’t required. Induction is intended to kick start weight loss for anyone wanting to lose more than 15 pounds. So if you’re only trying to lose 10-15 pounds, you can skip induction and start in phase 2.

It’s Net Carbs That Matter. Every food label will tell you carb content, but you’ll often have to calculate the net carbs on your own. (Most Atkins products have this calculated for you). Here’s the net carbs formula Atkins uses:

Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols

Atkins Diet Induction Resources

Atkins Frequently Asked Questions
Phase 1 (Induction) Food List
Atkins Pros and Cons

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