Atkins Diet

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atkins diet, your questions answered
The Atkins Diet is the famous high protein, high fat, diet launched by Dr Atkins in 1972 that millions have tried. It's a meat eater's dream, but has been criticised for being unhealthy. X Factor star Cheryl Cole is said to have turned to the Atkins diet when she joined Girls Aloud after she was unhappy with her weight. Research says low-carb diets like Atkins are 'most effective' for losing weight compared to other diets, with the average slimmer losing 10.3lbs.

What is the Atkins Diet?

The Atkins Diet was invented by American Dr Robert Atkins in the 1970s and is the original 'low-carb' diet. It might seem too good to be true but you're actually encouraged to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast!

Fans of the Atkins Diet stay on it for months or even years and claim it helps them keep the weight off. But for every person in favour of the Atkins Diet, there are plenty who disagree with it.

How does the Atkins Diet work?

Our bodies burn fat and carbohydrates for energy but carbohydrates are the first to go. The idea behind the Atkins Diet is that by drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake, your body will use up your fat stores first.

Read on to find out who the Atkins Diet is good for.

The Atkins Diet is a meat lover's dream! People who love 'rich' foods such as cheese and butter will also like it.

What are the drawbacks?

The Atkins Diet is not very easy for vegetarians to follow and is not recommended for anyone with diabetes, heart or kidney problems.
Critics claim the lack of fruit and veg you're allowed, especially in the first two weeks of the diet, means you miss out on important vitamins and minerals. Low fibre intake can cause constipation. The high levels of saturated fats Atkins dieters are encouraged to eat also worries some doctors.

What do you do?

There are four phases of the Atkins Diet - Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Maintenance. The induction phase lasts two weeks and is the strictest. Dieters can only eat 20g of carbohydrates a day (less than a cupful of cooked vegetables). The rest of their foods must be fats and proteins - bacon for breakfast and steak for dinner are both encouraged!

After the two week induction period, dieters are gradually allowed to eat more carbs so you can add in some fruit, veg or whole grain foods. You're not supposed to return to eating foods full of refined sugar though, so white bread, cakes or pasta made with white flour will be off the menu for good.

When you've lost the weight you wanted to lose, you're taught how to stay that way in what's called the maintenance phase.
Alcohol is strictly banned in the early stages of this diet although later on, you're allowed the occasional glass of wine.

Find out more

Visit or, for more information.

We answer your Atkins Diet questions.

Read on to find out which foods are key, and see an example of a daily food plan

What can you eat?

Red meat, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish and shellfish are all allowed. You can cook with butter, put mayo on your tuna and drizzle your salads with olive oil.

Typical day's diet

Breakfast: Cheese and mushroom omelette, decaffeinated coffee with single cream.
Lunch: Chicken breast with melted blue cheese and a green salad.
Dinner: Steak served with spinach topped with soured cream.
Snack: Two slices ham.

Top tip

If you can't resist a glass of wine, have red instead of white as red wine tends to contain less sugar.

See our Atkins Diet recipes

We answer your Atkins Diet questions

Other high protein-diets
High Protein Diet
The Scarsdale Diet

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South Beach Diet
Little Black Dress Diet
Rosemary Conley's Kick-start Diet

Continued below...

Where to next?
I tried the Atkins Diet
Davina McCall likes the Atkins Diet
Find out about the all-new Atkins Advantage Diet

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Your comments


just wondered what are the best supplements to take with this diet.the book says to take a multivitamin and some fatty acids.anyone got any tips.


Absolutely fantastic way to lose weight. 4 yrs ago I lost 4stone in 7 weeks( 17 stone - 13 stone) on the Atkins. managed to keep it off until the last few months and piled a couple of stone back on. started to watch what I am eating again and after just a few days feel the benefits. Not expecting it to work as quick this time though as last time I was playing golf 5-6 times a week and not really doing anything at the minute. good luck everyone

michael ward

hi,id like advice on low carb and high fiber cause i dont no what it means ive jus joined a gym and want to build music im jus over 6foot and 13stone 10pounds im 25 can you help.thank you.michael


anyone who is planning on going on the atkins diet will find themselves enthused by the comments below i'm sure. i have been on the atkins for 3 months and have dropped form a 14 to a size 10 without exercising at all. however if you are looking to change your image then this diet only works in the short term. this diet is great for holidays or people who are about to change their lifestyle. if you want to lose weight quickly then try this diet however if you want to get thin and stay thin you can atkins diet till you become your required size but if you then choose to eat like yoou used to i.e. bread, pasta you must start exercising regularly, i recommend joining the gym. also this diet doesnt have to be high fat. i recommend eating lean meats and grilled fish with fresh veg and plenty of snacking on fruit. this diet doesn't have to be bad for your health. good luck dieters

shauna mc neill

I did the atkins diet for three weeks as i was going on holiday i lost a stone in weight i was really happy as no other diet worked for me. i did find it hard as i have a sweet tooth but at night after dinner i would have a coffee with cream and sweetner it really helped.Once i stopped i did put the weight on again but im trying it again


I tried the atkins diet last year and in 2 months I lost 2 stone. It was amazing. However over the year I did put it all back on plus more..... I am now back on the atkins and plan to be for a few months. I am on day 5 and have lost 3 pounds so far.


ive been on 14day induction of atkins and lost 71bs,and its only day 9 for me,5 to go.Last time i did atkins i lost 3stones in 3 months,and i never feel hungry.Also u burn fat off with no excercise regime as well,and it burns the fat off while you sleep,brill for me,but not lot people can eat the fat content,affects people differently,and ive not got sweet tooth which helps.I think doctor atkins diet revoulution has proved a lot of docs wrong,with his theory.But if anyone wants to go on this diet,check with your gp first.Good luck will keep you posted how im doing ok thanks pauline h.

Gem Darlow

I did this diet for 9 months and its by far the best diet i have ever done (and i have done a few!) i lost 6 stone in total and have never felt better or fitter! it really does work i have not been doing the diet for over a year now and i have not put any of the weight back on!


I had to do something drastic as I, over the last 9 months have became increasingly addicted to junk food & comfort eating. Atkins has helped me really turn this around. It encourages you to cook proper meals using the kind of ingredients that we are told are BAD eg Cheese. So you feel like you are really pampering yourself, with delicious foods and taking the time to sit and eat proper meals instead of constant snacking on the go. I dont let myself either eat with the TV on whilst reading, I do think that this has helped with my fab results. In 2 weeks I have lost 8 pounds!!!! I have not gone hungry once, over the bank hoiday weekend we had 3 x BBQs!! My weight loss has meant that i have lost 3 inches from my waist and nearly 4 from my hips!!

Jodie Sheath

Very good quick fix, but I couldn't keep this up as a liestyle change! Due to the fact of waking up to bacon and eggs every morning, having no sugar, and excrutiating headaches for the first 3 days! I lost 7Ibs in 2 weeks, which was excellent! I tried this diet to loose weight fast for a special occasion.

Jolene goodtoknow Editor

Did you know... the Atkins Diet is our most-rated diet on goodtoknow


5 years ago i went on atkins and lost 7 stones in 10 months, i loved the diet but i fell pregnant & had a terrible pregnancy and put the whole 7 st back on. i went back on it on april this yr & have lost 5 stone so far, i find this time arround as i am older (age 40 ) i am loosing weight slower and can go a few wks dieting strictly on atkins and not loose any weight, however i love atkins & get no side effects so i will keep going with it & exercising 2, im hoping to loose 3 more stones for my wedding in august, no other diet works for me so i would recommend atkins to everyone, good luck all

betty webster

I have been on atkins diet for over a week and have kept strictly to the diet but have not lost anything at all why?


I have been on this diet before and am on it again 3 years down the line as i wish to loose weight for a wedding (not mine). I am in my third week and am 7lbs down already. I have a new quandry with regards to going to the gym. Carbs being an important part of energy. As i'm not yet at the level where my daily carb allowance has grown, i'm still at 20g - which i use up in my three meals a day. I am going to allow myself an additional 5g before going to the gym with an oat cracker and hope that it stops the sluggishness after working out. Aside from all that, I was shocked to read that someone wrote about ''starting the diet tomorrow and i have no idea what i can eat''.... who starts a diet without knowing anything about it. I find it idiotic and annoying and can only (wrongly) ruin the rep of this perfectly safe and maintainable diet plan. You don't decide to go cycling without a bike!


I LOST 5 STONE ON THE ATKINS DIET!! It makes me sick when people moan about how bad it is for you.. its normally people who dont understand the diet who say this! If the Atkins diet is followed correctly the carbs are slowly added back in and the weight does not return. I tried other diets and i couldnt keep them up, i gave in to cravings.. i had no cravings on the Atkins diet so it was easy..

Sara R

First of all you obviously didn't read the Atkins book before printing this article because Dr. Atkins specifically says that his diet is a "high fat, moderate protein, controlled carbohydrate plan" not a "high fat, high protein diet". Most people ignore that he recommends a minimum 3 cups of vegetables per day even on the strictest phase. His Ongoing weight loss through maintenance phases focus on whole foods, minimally processed and it is an all-around healthy plan. Don't misrepresent a diet. You oversimplified and didn't even mention ketosis which is the basis of the whole plan. A person cannot expect to keep the weight off if they don't follow through all the phases. In the long-term it not only helped me to lose weight, but my cholesterol levels went to normal, my hair is thicker and fuller and I am no longer anemic.Please read the book!


I started the Atkins diet nearly two weeks ago, it was a bit of hit and miss, as i had strawberries on induction and peanuts. However, i have lost nearly a stone which i am pleased about, the weight has come off my tummy, hips but not off my chest. I have another 8lbs to lose to get to my target weight of 9.4, i am staying on the induction until i get to my ideal weight, then i will slowly add a few more carbs. I think the diet is great, although it does worry me eating fried food all the time. If you have any ideas to help me with food, would love to hear from you. Tonight i am having fish and veg, at least that is good for you. I have been drinking normal tea but with cream, it sweetens it.

K Niven

Anyone thinking of going on the Atkins diet should get the book first, It's available from Amazon, and is called "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution". Without it, you can't manage to do the diet properly. Don't believe people who say it is only about eating meat - veggies are an important part of the diet from day 1. The book has fantastic recipes - most are quick and easy to make, plus lists of foods to give ideas about making the diet interesting, and so much detailed information to help with the diet at every stage. He's so easy to understand, never condescending and tremendously generous in the amount of information he packs into the book. What a lovely, kind and generous man.


I'm not a very big meat eater but decided to give atkins a go as I was struggling to lose that last 10lbs. I actually found it very easy at first and enjoyed being able to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast without feeling guilty, and on day 4 I noticed that i didn't feel as hungry as i normally would and wasn't constantly thinking about food. Day 9 is where the struggle began, the food and I didn't think I could physically eat anymore meat. The lack of fruit and veg is very hard to deal with but if you push through it you will see results. I lost 4lbs in my first week and a further 3 in my second and I feel much more confident within myself. One thing I would suggest is to be prepared and make your food up in advance if you work everyday as this is where the problems lie. Also, soy flour is a must have as I made low-carb pancakes etc which really helped with breakfast etc. Good luck everyone!xx


i do atkins diet & i like to have food delivery for atkins diet plane


can any1 help me im startin the atkins diet 2m and dont have a clue wot foods i can or cant eat plz help i really need to lose a couple of stone thanks and good luck all u on diets wotever they are xx


One more thing if infact the atkins diet is bad then why did a doctor put my 76 year old grandma on it after she had quadruple bypass surgery for her heart he put her on it for a year and she lost 40 pounds and inches she was on the atkins program for elderly people ofcourse anyways she hasnt had any bad effects from it this about about 4 years ago and after that year of doing it she kinda slacked off since then but she has only gained 10 pounds back and thats mostly because she stopped walking on her treadmil everyday


I have been on the atkins diet for 6 days i have already lost 3 pounds and an inch all over i know its really hard to find out what to believe about this diet because every body has there opinion but you can make it healthy eat lean meats not meats like sausage or roast and dont eat tons of cheese your only supposed to eat 4oz a day about the size of a deck of cards make sure you eat plenty of veggies that are listed in the book plenty of water and i started taking the low carb vitamins it was made for low carbers to make up the nurtrients oh and be sure to stay active so even if you do start to add carbs back you wont gain your weight back like most folks one more thing try to get some extra calcium and mabey some milk thistle to help your liver break down the fat...this has helped me keep this diet as healthy as possible its not all about steaks and cheese with sour cream its about moderation activity water intake and lean meats, veggies and fruit and even if this was still bad for me at least im not out smokin all kinds of drugs or not eating at all like i used to that would be alot worse for your health i just cant stress enough though if your going to do this diet take vitamins especially till you get further along and you should be fine and carry a bottle of water around with you at all times no excuses!


i am thinking of doing the atkins diet but im not sure exactly what i can and cant eat if anyone knows could they please let me no thanks


I have just started the atkins diet, and am on day 10...i have only lost 3lb so far and am not constipated. I have checked with ketostix and i am in ketosis, but why am i not losing as much as some others have mentioned? If i only have a stone to lose, does this affect my loss? will it take me longer even though i have less to lose? thanks


Hi, i had a baby nearly 3 months ago now, i was 8st10 before i got pregnant and went upto 12st12 during my pregnancy. Now i've got down to 10st7 but can't seem to lose any more, so i'm considering doing the atkins diet. Only thing is i'm worried i'm not going to have any energy whilst doing the diet. Can anyone tell me how their energy was on the diet?

Gemma Etherington

To lulu: Beetroot does have carbs in it. Most nutritional value can be found at: Atkins works by going into a Ketosis process - this is where your body has to use body fat to function. This process only occurs if you are consuming less than 40g of carbs a day - your slow weight loss is probably due to the fact that you are consuming more than this by eating toast in the morning and beetroot. Good luck! :)

Gemma Etherington

I weighed 18 stone and was just 19 years old, but then i discovered the atkins! I lost 6 stone in 8 months (the 1st 3 and a half stone shifting in just 3 months). I combined the diet with a mile of running a day to begin with and I couldn't believe how unfit I was to begin with (considering my age). I ran a 10k 10 months after starting atkins and then got into rowing :). This was 4 years ago and I've never put any of the weight back on; because I continued exercise when I re-introduced carbs. I eat more now than I did before! Now I am fit, confident and happy. The best diet in the world :)


I did the atkins diet at the end of my fist year of uni (when finally all the alcohol and take aways took there toll on my tummy and hips!!!) i found it VERY hard as my parents and sister were sitting down to a glass of wine and chocolate EVERY night!!! but after the first couple of days i started enjoying my cubed cheese and cucumber snack. i lost 2 stone in a month and a half! and had no sugar cravings. honestly the best diet i have ever done. when i had reached my goal weight my parents and sister were so impressed that they went on it to! mmmmm steak and salad!


One more thing. Does anyone know if there are alot of carbs in beetroot? I've been eating quite a bit of it and was wondering if this had anything to do with my slow weight loss. Thanx.


I've been going to the gym for 2 weeks and have also been doing the atkins diet for this time. Although i have been having 2 toast in the morning before gym for energy, i've cut out my beloved potatoes, crisps, pasta and rice. So why have i only lost 3lb? Admitedly, my aim wasn't to loose loads of weight. (I was 8st 5lb and am now 8st 2lb and am aiming for 7st 10lb) I'm short so need to be lighter. But i'm not sure why i've only ost 3lb when i hear people lose up to 5lb just in the 1st week. Any ideas??


Hey Im only 16 but i have my prom comming up so i decided to try the Atkins i have been on it only 3days n lost 5lbs awesome but im finidng it hard to chose things to eat its amazing how much carbs are in foods!! Alice x


I have tried the Atkins diet 3 years ago and did lose weight although found it quite hard in the long term due to lack of sweet things but am determined to try it again as it was the best diet for me and ive tried a few in my time! I like the fact I could eat cheese and mayo etc but need some online support for healthy carbs ie cereal options etc in the final phase. I have started a low carb diet today but will base it on the Atkins and already feel more positive as know the Atkins really works and the beauty of it is you are able to eat without starving yourself! Good luck to everyone doing the Atkins including me!


starting atkins diet tomorrow will i put on the lbs before i loose them? bit scared of getting on the scales in 3 days and ive gained weight, someone assure me this aint guna happen!!


MY friend called nick, his mother dena, her friend lucy, followed the atkins diet and lost some of her hair. not enough nutrients!!! scary stuff that.

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