Atkins Diet Menu

By Tess Thompson

The menu is the most fascinating part of the Atkins diet. Most plans recommend a strict diet that consists of foods that you normally dislike. Prolonged abstinence from mouth-watering dishes often leads to eating binges, in addition to such diet plans making you feel forever hungry.

The Atkins diet, on the other hand, encourages forbidden foods like steak, butter, mayonnaise, and cream. By barring added sugars, refined grains and carbohydrates from all sources, the diet encourages a steep reduction in the amount of carbohydrates that are ingested.

The basic aim of the Atkins diet is to limit carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day. Bread, fruits, vegetables (apart from broccoli, tomatoes and lettuce), grains, dairy products (except cream, butter and cheese) are eliminated. Total water intake of at least 8 ounces is advised in the form of plain water, herbal teas or coffee (decaffeinated).

A typical Atkins diet meal plan in the induction phase would include:

  • Breakfast - Tea or coffee (without caffeine) with omelet of one egg, 1 ounce of cheese and 1/2 ounce of boiled ham.
  • Lunch - Salad consisting of one ounce each of turkey, ham and cheese, one cup of green salad, 6 pieces of boiled shrimp, with one tablespoon of garlic and mayonnaise.
  • Dinner - Six ounces of boiled steak, 1 tablespoon of whipped cream, 8 ounces of low sugar Jell-O, 1 cup of green salads and 1/2 soufflé of spinach made with butter, egg, cheese, cream and flour.
  • Snacks: 1 teaspoon of peanut butter with 4" celery stalk.

Food items to be avoided include pasta, vegetables (except the ones mentioned above), legumes, nuts, seeds, kidney beans, chickpeas, yogurt and other products that contain sugar or carbohydrates (including alcohol). Proteins and fats are encouraged, and therefore red meat, fish, poultry, olive oil, sunflower and other vegetable oils, butter, eggs and mayonnaise can be consumed when on the Atkins diet plan. This literally means that you can enjoy the foods that you love as you obtain natural weight loss.

Although it is one of the most popular weight loss plans, the dramatic change in eating habits leads to side effects like bad breath and withdrawal symptoms. Dr. Atkins, the founder of the diet, concedes that as people are addicted to sugar, wheat, caffeine and foods that change blood sugar levels, withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, headaches, cold sweats, feeling faint and palpitations are normal. These usually disappear within a week. However, severe withdrawal symptoms are signs of unsuitability of the diet. In such cases, it is best to abandon the Atkins diet.

The Atkins theory states that the body burns stored fat in the absence of carbohydrates. Most specialists feel that fad diets and weight loss supplements do not provide long-term and sustainable weight loss. The human body needs carbohydrates as much as it needs proteins and fats, and it is the amount of carbohydrates consumed that actually lead to obesity.


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