How to follow dr. atkins’ diet

Dieters swear by the low-carb, high-protein plan. You get to eat all the burgers, steak, bacon, and eggs you want — and lose weight doing it. It’s even been shown to lower cholesterol. But at what cost?

Fad diets come and go, but The Atkins Diet — a high-protein, low-carbohydrate weight-loss plan –seems never to go away, no matter how many medical professionals denounce it.

“Low-carb diets have been linked to increased frequency of colon cancer, formation of kidney stones, kidney disease, and even osteoporosis,” says Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Commission for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit research group based in Washington. “The weight loss you see in low-carb diets isn’t all that much better than what you see in studies of low-fat, vegetarian diets.”

Putting it more bluntly is Kiku Collins-Trentylon, a sports trainer in New York City, who says it’s “a pretty evil diet. We all want to sit on our couches, eat nonstop, and have perfect, sculpted bodies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.”

Meat is the culprit in low-carb diet danger, says Barnard.

“The reason for the health worries is in large part due to red meat,” he says. “People who eat meat every day have three times greater risk of developing colon cancer. And then there is the problem of the kidneys. They aren’t designed to work on an oil slick of fat.”

Big, Fat Controversy

In the summer of 2002, however, both Time magazine and The Sunday New York Times Magazine have published much-talked-about stories that say Atkins may not be as bad for heart health as previously believed. These stories were sparked in part by a recent study from researchers at Duke University showing most people who ate a high-protein, low-carb diet for six months lost 20 pounds.

That much was expected. What wasn’t expected was that the researchers didn’t see strong evidence of the diet causing any health problems. In fact, both LDL “bad” cholesterol and HDL “good” cholesterol improved.

The Duke study shows part of why the diet is so popular — it can produce significant weight loss. What’s more, it produces it without a lot of annoying calorie counting and the irritability associated with diets.

Known for Easy Weight Loss

“You’re not as hungry as with other diets, and that is a really good thing,” says Jenny Anderson, an Internet consultant from Mamaroneck, N.Y., who is on the diet. “That makes it easier to stay on it. So does seeing results fairly quickly. One bad thing is that it forbids caffeine, and I had a lot of bad headaches from coffee withdrawal.”

Continued

Another drawback to the low-carb diet is its severely limited menu options.

“At first, eggs and bacon in butter for breakfast every day is fun, but day after day of only meat and fat at every meal can get tiresome,” says Anderson.

So therein lies the controversy. On one hand you have lots of stories of significant weight loss on a relatively user-friendly diet. On the other, you have dietitians and nutritionists who maintain that the weight loss produced is short-term and can threaten a person’s overall health, despite the fact that the weight loss itself may have the beneficial effect of lowering cholesterol.

Who is right? Maybe both sides. It provides weight loss at a very high cost to overall health, or at least that has been the prevailing medical opinion.

“There have been reports in the medical literature that say that this low-carb diet may not be as bad as we thought,” says Susan Barr, registered dietitian in New York City. “That makes people interested again in this diet, but until there is more research on what stresses the diet places on the body, there is no way to know what it might be doing besides providing short-term weight loss.”

But Is It Safe?

According to the American Dietetic Association, low-carbohydrate diets trigger short-term weight loss through a process called ketosis. This process kicks in when your body is in short supply of carbohydrates, a prime source of energy for the entire body, but especially for the brain, which operates exclusively on carbohydrates.

During ketosis, your carbohydrate-depleted body grabs other sources, including ketones from stored fat or protein from muscle, to satisfy daily energy needs. This can lead to ketoacidosis, a state similar to that of diabetes. This type of diet can trigger weight loss, but it can have the kinds of negative long-term effects on health that Barnard mentions.

The other big question is whether low-carb weight loss lasts.

James Hill, PhD, is director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. He runs the National Weight Control Registry that includes information on the diets of more than 2,600 people who maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for a year or more.

Continued

What the registry shows, according to Hill, is that less than 1% had followed a diet similar to the Atkins program. Most followed high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.

But a new, long-term study may resolve the risk-benefit question for low-carb diets.

The Atkins diet has never been evaluated in a large, randomized controlled trial — the only type of study that convinces doctors that something works, or doesn’t — until now. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is funding such a study. Gary Foster, PhD, a psychologist with the University of Pennsylvania’s Eating Disorders Clinic is heading this new study to assess the short-term and long-term effects of the Atkins diet in 360 obese men and women.

According to Foster, study participants will be randomly assigned to the Atkins diet (low-carbohydrate, unlimited fat and protein) or a conventional high-carb, low-fat diet. When the study is complete, Foster and his colleagues will have gone a long way toward answering the nagging questions about Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets.

The Atkins diet induction instructions may seem limiting at first, but it is important to remember the purpose of this phase. Induction is easy to stick with if you keep in mind that it isn’t the main part of the diet. While it is the part most of us think of when we talk about starting the Atkins diet, it is really only a small part of the program.

The Atkins Diet Induction Stage is meant to get your body working in a new way. In fact, Dr. Atkins described it as a way to, “induce weight loss by changing your body’s chemistry so that you will achieve…lipolysis and the companion process of ketosis.” It is designed to “get the ball rolling,” and isn’t meant to be the focus of your long term weight loss.

With this in mind, following the Atkins diet induction instructions become easier because you know it is only a small part of the diet as a whole and will last only a few weeks. The instructions are really very easy to follow if you keep a list of the acceptable foods handy and keep several things in mind that will make you successful.

Instructions for the Atkins Diet Induction Period

  1. Never skip meals. Eat three regular meals with small snacks in between or have four or five smaller meals spread throughout the day.
  2. Eat plenty of proteins and fat from the suggested foods list. Dr. Atkins’ books contain plenty of Atkins Diet induction menus for suggestions.
  3. Never, ever go over 20 grams of carbohydrates during Induction. The carbohydrates you do eat should come mostly from vegetables and salad greens. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind during Induction.
  4. Eat NO fruit, pasta, grains, bread or dairy products other than cheese, butter or cream. Also no nuts or seeds during the first few weeks of Induction.
  5. Don’t eat anything that isn’t on the Induction food list. No cheating allowed at all during the Induction phase! Remember, you’re trying to reset your metabolism. If you cheat, you’ll take two steps back from one step forward.
  6. As your appetite decreases, pay attention to it. Eat less by eating only until you feel satisfied, not stuffed.

  • Learn to read labels so that you don’t accidentally eat hidden carbs in foods, especially if you are eating prepared foods.
  • Be aware when eating out. Gravy, sauce or salad dressing could contain sugar or starches. What you make at home following an Atkins recipe will be better, so when you eat out just skip these items. If you want a salad, vinegar and oil is a good choice.
  • Don’t have drinks with aspartame as a sweetener. You should always use sucralose or saccharin. And remember, each packet is one gram of carbs!
  • Cut out caffeine because it can lower your blood sugar.
  • Drink lots of water. Eight glasses a day is ideal.
  • Be sure you add fiber to your diet. Wheat bran, psyllium husks or ground flaxseed will help.
  • If you follow these twelve basic Atkins Diet Induction instructions, your success is practically guaranteed. They aren’t complicated, but they are strict, so you should follow them to the letter. The good news is that once you’re through the Induction Phase, you will be able to move onto the Weight Loss Phase, which loosens up the rules a bit and allows you to add more foods. Just remember – Induction is the key to getting everything started on your weight loss journey.

    How to follow dr. atkins' diet

    NEW YORK (CNN) — Dr. Robert Atkins, creator of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet, died Thursday after an accidental fall on April 8 left him comatose.

    Atkins, 72, was rushed to New York Weill Cornell Medical Center by his colleague, Dr. Keith Berkowitz, where surgeons removed a blood clot to relieve pressure in his brain on April 9.

    Atkins slipped on an icy sidewalk outside his New York office.

    “We are hoping for a miracle,” Richard Rothstein, a spokesman for Atkins told CNN April 11, “but the chances for a meaningful recovery are slim.

    Atkins’ original 1972 book, “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution,” was contrary to the recommendations of most nutritional experts at the time. While many remain skeptical about the Atkins Diet, it has become increasingly popular since the 1992 publication of his book, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.”

    In April 2002, Atkins was hospitalized after he went into cardiac arrest, which he said in a statement was “in no way related to diet.”

    He is credited with revolutionizing the diet world with his theory that you can lose weight by eating fat, and his followers hailed him as a pioneer. His critics accused him of selling a dangerous idea, but Atkins dismissed their claims.

    How to follow dr. atkins' diet

    “See, that’s a big mistake . to tell people to restrict calories,” Atkins told CNN in January. “They lose the weight, they feel fine, then they get to their goal weight and they still have 60 more years to live, and are they going to go hungry for all 60 years?”

    Atkins was a cardiologist and businessman, selling supplements and food on his Web site and at the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine.

    All of his best-selling diet books promoted the same philosophy: a diet high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates is a sure way to lose weight.

    “It’s not that it needs to be low-calorie. As long as you cut out the carbohydrate the weight loss is automatic,” Atkins said.

    His philosophy of loading up on meat and cheese instead of breads, pastas, and even fruits and vegetables, went against the nutritional grain among mainstream dieticians.

    “The weight loss comes primarily from water,” said Kathleen Zelman, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, among Atkins’ critics over the years. “But you can also burn muscle, and body protein can be in the form of muscle — your heart muscle.”

    Studies over the years have both supported and debunked Atkins’ theories. Nonetheless, millions have followed his advice.

    Atkins was born and raised in Ohio. He developed his diet system through personal experience.

    He majored in pre-med at the University of Michigan, then received his medical degree from Cornell University in 1955. After his residency in cardiology, he moved to New York City.

    According to a statement released Thursday by his representatives, Atkins was shocked by a photograph taken of him in 1963 that made him realize he had gained 30 pounds since the days before medical school.

    “After several unsuccessful attempts at losing weight he decided to try a controlled carbohydrate diet, which he had read about in the Journal of the American Medical Association,” the statement says. “From his own success, Dr. Atkins began to formalize his nutritional approach.”

    In addition to operating his New York-based center, in which he kept a full patient schedule, he also established a foundation in 1999 to support research and education on how limiting carbohydrate intake can help treat and prevent a wide range of illnesses.

    He is survived by his wife, Veronica, and his mother, Norma.

    November 19, 2003 / 7:00 PM / CBS

    Some doctors are raising a red flag about the safety of the popular, high protein, low-carb Atkins diet.

    Dr. Neal Barnard, a representative for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), explains on The Early Show that new survey and data of previously unreported health problems raises questions about the safety of the Atkins Diet and other high-protein, low-carb weight-loss plans.

    He says,” This morning, we’re reporting two deaths. One is the 16-year-old girl who wanted to lose some weight and went on a popular low carb, high fat, high protein diet, collapsed in school and died suddenly. Autopsy showed a massive abnormality in the heart.

    “Another case, a 41-year-old man, no prior history of heart disease, collapsed suddenly and the same thing, the autopsy showed a massive heart malfunction. A third case, a man happened to have a heart scan prior to going on the diet and he got a clean bill of health, but after about two years on this popular low-carb diet, developed chest pain, had stress test changes and angiogram that showed a massive blockage in the heart.”

    People claiming to have been harmed by high-protein diets reported health problems on a PCRM’s Web site registry. The online registry found:

  • 42 percent reported loss of energy
  • 31 percent reported difficulty concentrating
  • 22 percent reported kidney problems
  • 20 percent reported heart-related problems

    Barnard notes, “The question is this: are these coincidences or could this be a contributor? We are asking the U.S. Centers For Disease Control to investigate what problems, what fatalities, could be or could not be linked to this kind of diet fad. “

    Although the evidence, so far from the small number of documented cases and PCRM Web site survey, does not present hard scientific evidence or proof of harm from the Atkins diet, there is enough of a pattern to warrant real studies, Barnard says.

    Since its inception in 1970, the Atkins diet has been controversial. It’s also been very popular, especially in recent years. Barnard’s advice to people who are on those type of diets is to get off of them and follow the dietary guidelines that health authorities have established.

    He says, “The fad approach has said, ‘Let’s forget the fact that fat and cholesterol are linked to heart disease and let’s forget the fact that a meaty diet is linked to colon cancer.’ We’ve known that for a long period of time. In the pursuit of short-term weight loss, people have gone on this approach. If we look, however, who on this planet are the skinniest and the thinnest and the best with a long-term weight management, it’s not people on high protein diets. It’s people in Asia who are on diets based on plant foods, rice noodles and vegetables or if you look at vegetarians, they are thinner and live longer than anyone else, so we should be going on that pattern.”

    The online survey is not a scientific study, so there are no hard facts to say definitively that the Atkins diet is harmful. But the PCRM says there is enough evidence for concern.

    A major effort by the CDC is needed to keep track of the health effects beyond the limited clinical trials, according to Barnard. Those trials have focused on weight loss and only peripherally addressed the underlying health issues.

    The PCRM notes the following in its report:

    • While a few recent studies have noted that high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets facilitate modest short-term weight loss, no studies have investigated the long-term health consequences of consuming such diets for weight-loss purposes.
    • Diets high in fat, especially saturated fat, are associated with increased risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and diets high in animal protein have been shown to increase the risk of kidney problems, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer.

    Because fiber is found only in plant foods, and high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets tend to be low in plant foods, these diets are also typically low in fiber. Low fiber intake is associated with increased risk of colon cancer and other malignancies, heart disease, diabetes and constipation.

    Some high-protein, very-low-carbohydrate, weight-loss diets are designed to induce ketosis, a state that also occurs in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and starvation.

    When carbohydrate intake or utilization is insufficient to provide glucose to the cells that rely on it as an energy source, ketone bodies are formed from fatty acids. An increase in circulating ketones can disturb the body’s acid-base balance, causing metabolic acidosis. Even mild acidosis can have potentially deleterious consequences over the long run.

    For these reasons, high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber and carbohydrate-restricted diets, such as the Atkins Diet, especially when used for prolonged periods, are expected to increase the risk of multiple chronic diseases and other health problems, despite the weight loss that may accompany their use, Barnard says.

    First published on November 19, 2003 / 7:00 PM

    © 2003 CBS. All rights reserved.

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    Atkins meal plan for 7 days Phase 1

    Back in the 1960s and in 1972 Dr. Robert Atkins developed The Atkins diet, then, he introduced it in his book ‘Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution. It is probably the best known and argued low-carb diet in history. In fact, it is limited to a specific time frame and carbs quantity. In this article, we will learn more about Atkins diet phases, and provide you with Atkins meal plan for 7 days Phase 1.

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    Atkins phase 1

    Those who follow the Atkins diet go through four stages.

    During the first stage, induction, you have to follow the following rules:

    • Limit the daily amount of carbohydrates to 20 grams and only get it from certain types of foods, so not all vegetables and fruits are in.
    • Get protein from red or light meat, fish, eggs or cheese.
    • Full-fat products such as butter, margarine and cream are allowed
    • No carbohydrates such as pasta, grains, bread or vegetables containing starch, including potatoes
    • Avoid nuts, seeds, or legumes
    • No caffeine or alcohol.

    The induction stage of Atkins lasts for at least two weeks. During this phase, you should lose the most of your excess weight.

    After that, the second phase of the diet begins.

    How to follow dr. atkins' dietAtkins meal plan for 7 days Phase 1

    Atkins Phase 2

    In the second stage, you can add a little low-carbohydrate fruit and vegetables to the diet. In addition, low-carbohydrate grains are allowed.

    Also, you can increase the daily amount of carbohydrates by five grams per day until you reach 50 grams carbs daily.

    Atkins Phase 3

    The third phase involves a further increase in the amount of carbohydrates.

    In this phase, you can gradually increase carbs daily up to a daily amount of 80 grams. During this phase, you will have to watch your weight every 3 days and if you notice any increase just decrease the amount of carbs.

    Life-time Phase

    The final, or maintenance phase continues carbohydrate addition pattern until 100 grams is reached.

    The idea is that your weight will stabilize with this amount of carbohydrates.

    Originally, the Atkins diet did not significantly limit the proteins and fats and doesn’t include counting calories. However, the diet has changed and now it focuses on choosing healthy fat and nutritious alternatives.

    Advantages

    • The basics of the Atkins diet are easy to understand.
    • Dieters do not have to count calories.
    • Useful for motivation looking for quick results and growing with it.

    Disadvantages

    • Increasing protein consumption can make grocery shopping more expensive.
    • If there is not enough protein in the diet in the early stages, the body burns muscle mass to get the energy it needs. This can reduce your metabolism and make weight loss more difficult.
    • Reducing whole grains and dairy products naturally lowers calcium, potassium, and fiber levels. These may need to be taken from supplements.
    • Decreased levels of carbohydrates can increase the risk of headaches and irritation and cause the body to produce ketones.

    Summary

    This diet contradicts to some extent the more general health recommendations that state that red and processed meat should be used only in moderation.

    In addition, the results of the study comparing low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets are confusing.

    According to one study, reducing carbohydrates can help reduce overall weight (including fat and muscle), while reducing consumed fat is better for burning fat.

    In any case, the Atkins diet may be a tempting option for those who want to get results quickly

    Atkins meal plan for 7 days phase 1

    Day 1

    Breakfast: 2 eggs and 2 slices (fat can be used).

    Lunch: salad of leafy vegetables, hard cheese.

    Dinner: green salad, red meat.

    Day 2

    Breakfast: scrambled eggs, green onions.

    Lunch: salad of greens, meat.

    Dinner: chicken fillet, spinach.

    Day 3

    Breakfast: scrambled eggs, cheese.

    Lunch: 2 cuts, cheese.

    Dinner: bunless burger, cauliflower.

    Day 4

    Lunch: herb and egg salad with mayonnaise.

    Dinner: ribs, salad.

    Day 6

    Breakfast: scrambled eggs, red meat.

    Lunch: chops, salad.

    Dinner: meat, Brussels sprouts.

    Day 7

    Breakfast: scrambled eggs, spinach, melted cheese.

    Lunch: fried chicken wings, salad.

    Dinner: steamed vegetables.

    Over the next week, you can copy the same diet or make a menu from the list of allowed foods and create your own recipes.

    In fact, you don’t have to prepare your meals on this diet in a certain way. For example, eggs can be boiled, fried, and omelet (without milk).

    Also, you can cook meat and fish in any way, but be careful not to use too much fat while frying.

    Vegetables are best consumed raw because they have more nutrients. Salt, unlike sugar, is not banned in the Atkins diet. Also, you are free to drink coffee, but, you should not exceed two cups a day.

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    It’s been 10 years since everyone you know was “doing Atkins,” in a low-carb craze that swept the nation. But while the fad faded, nutrition experts are encouraging Americans to watch their intake of white sugar and carbohydrates, and the Atkins diet itself has continued to evolve. If you’ve thought about revisiting the program, there’s much you should know about how it aligns with current nutrition recommendations, and what you can expect on the new version of the plan.

    “Because we’ve been around for 40 years, we know where the pitfalls are and where people get in trouble,” says Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. We asked Heimowitz for her tips on following the Atkins diet in a safe and healthy way—and getting the best results.

    Get up-to-date. All smart, safe diet plans evolve as new research on nutrition emerges. The Atkins diet may still be based on the principles Dr. Robert C. Atkins laid out in Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution in 1972, but it’s been updated many times over the years, most recently in The New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great, published in 2010. Don’t try to do the diet based on an older version of the program—or worse, what you vaguely remember your mother-in-law eating when she did it 10 years ago.

    Watch portion sizes. Part of the appeal of Atkins early on was that its author often emphasized that it was OK to eat as much of the approved foods as you wanted, provided you stopped when you were full. But after studying people on the plan, Heimowitz says, they found that “people could eat through their hunger cues, taking in 4,000 calories a day, and then wonder why they’re not losing,” she says. Now the program offers portion control recommendations, such as only 4-6 ounces of protein in a sitting, and only 4 ounces daily of full-fat dairy products.

    Fill up on Atkins “super foods.” No, they’re not steak and butter, as a famous New York Times magazine cover story once suggested. Like many healthy eating plans, the cornerstone of today’s Atkins diet is vegetables, which you should aim to get 8-10 servings of per day. Other staples of the plan? Eggs and foods packed with healthy fats, such as fatty fish, extra virgin olive oil, avocados and nuts. In the later phases, berries are great for snacking, Heimowitz says, especially when combined with almonds to slow the absorption of sugars.

    Don’t stay in Phase 1 forever. The first phase of Atkins, known as “induction,” is the strictest, forbidding even some healthy foods like grains, legumes, potatoes, squash and yogurt. The payoff? In this phase, weight comes off fast. “Because they feel so great, their appetite is under control and they’re losing at a nice clip, many people are afraid to go beyond induction,” Heimowitz says. “But then they never learn how to get more variety in the program to maintain weight loss. You need to modify it to maintain.” Based on your weight-loss needs, you should stay in Induction anywhere from two weeks to several months.

    Offset water loss. In the early weeks of the plan, it’s common to shed lots of water weight. (That’s partially why the scale moves so quickly, which can be encouraging early in a diet.) To be safe, you should make sure to drink lots of water during that time to prevent dehydration. The Atkins plan also recommends adding a teaspoon of salt per day to your diet in the induction phase—in the form of table salt, broth or soy sauce—to help keep your electrolytes balanced.

    Know that all carbs aren’t created equal. One of the biggest misconceptions about Atkins is that it’s a no-carb plan, Heimowitz says. In fact, from day one, you’re eating some carbs—mostly vegetables—but their effects on insulin and blood sugar are tempered by their fiber content. When it’s time to add in additional carbs in phase 2, though, it can be tricky. “You need to add carbs at a very slow clip and not over 5 net gram increments,” Heimowitz says. “So that means a half cup of berries or another cup of vegetables, an ounce or two of nuts. And you need to add them in the order of which has the lowest glycemic index.” These details are laid out in the Atkins “carb ladder,” which can be adjusted based on your health history and individual needs.

    As a rule, the Atkins diet and alcohol do not mix. Any type of alcohol is strictly prohibited in the 2-week induction phase, and certain types of liquor should be avoided in later phases as well.

    Low carbohydrate diets discourage sipping those tasty Margaritas because alcohol gives you carbs and calories, and no nutritional value. However, you want to enjoy the things you’ve always liked and that includes taking a libation or two when you go out.

    Understand that Booze Stops Weight Loss

    The body is constantly burning energy in the order of carbs as the first fuel then fat as the back up source. When alcohol is introduced, the body uses it before everything. Keep in mind what Dr. Atkins had to say about the Atkins diet and alcohol:

    “Here’s the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the Atkins diet. Alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that is going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss it simply postpones it. Since the alcohol does not store as glycogen, you immediately go back into ketosis / lipolysis after the alcohol is used up.”

    Alcohol and Sugar

    How to follow dr. atkins' diet

    Most fermented beverages (beer and wine) and a by-product, distilled spirits (hard liquor), started out as a high-carbohydrate fermentables such as sugar, grains, potatoes, or molasses in their raw form. During fermentation, yeast consumes sugar and nutrients and converts them into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The CO2 bubbles away and dissipates, leaving the alcohol and residual sugar. Dry wines have very little sugar left so will have around 3 to 5 grams of carbs, while sweet champagne will have 12 to 14 grams of carbs. Hard liquors have zero carbs because the distilling process leaves nothing but ethyl alcohol. However, mixers added to cocktails are sugary and high in carbs so that’s where the problem lies with mixed drinks. You can drink straight liquor as long as you use Seltzer water or any sugarless mixer.

    Counting Carbs in Alcohol

    The problem with drinking alcohol on the Atkins diet is that alcohol contains around 7 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram in good carbohydrates. The calories in alcohol nearly rival the calories found in fat, which contains about 9 calories per gram. You can see how a few drinks with dinner will add up to hundreds of extra calories – not exactly the right choice for anyone trying to lose weight.

    Since the carb count varies significantly in different drinks, you can make better selections once you have an idea of what’s in them. Below is a sample list of the average grams of carbohydrates in one standard drink. There are over 1,000 commercial beers, and hundreds of wines and spirits, so use these figures as a general guide only:

    Beer, 12 ounce serving, 5% alcohol by volume:

    • Regular Beer: 13 grams of carbs
    • Light Beer: 4.5 grams
    • Ale: 7 grams
    • Stout: 20 grams

    Wine, 5-ounce serving, 12% alcohol by volume:

    • Dry White (Chardonnay): 3 grams of carbs*
    • Off Dry (Reisling): 5 grams
    • Dry Red (Cabernet Sauvignon): 4 grams
    • Red Bordeaux: 3.4 grams
    • Red Burgundy: 5.5 grams
    • Zinfindel: 4 grams
    • Sparkling Wine (dry): 4.5 grams
    • Sweet Champagne: 10 grams

    *Dry white wine is your best bet if you are going to drink alcohol on the Atkins Diet.

    Fortified Wine, 1.5 fl oz serving, 17% alcohol by volume:

    • Port: 14 grams
    • Dry Sherry: 12 grams

    Liqueurs, 1.5 fl oz serving (a jigger), 24% alcohol by volume:

    • Amaretto: 25 grams
    • Benedictine: 8 grams
    • Campari: 12 grams
    • Chambord: 16 grams
    • Creme de Cacao: 22 grams
    • Creme de Menthe: 21 grams
    • Drambuie: 14 grams
    • Grand Marnier: 11 grams
    • Irish Creme: 11 grams
    • Kahlua: 24 grams
    • Ouzo: 16 grams

    Distilled Spirits, 1.5 fl oz serving:

    • All 80-proof whiskey, vodka, rum, gin, etc. contain zero carbohydrate grams

    When You Want to Imbibe

    Ideally, you should wait until you are in the maintenance phase and have reached your goal weight before adding drinks back into your meal plan, always with moderation. Don’t think you can skip the margarita and drink straight tequila because it’s zero carbs and therefore permissible on the Atkins Diet. Alcohol still has a lot of calories, but it also is the first go-to fuel source your body chooses. If you choose to enjoy alcoholic beverages, the Atkins diet suggests that wine is the most acceptable selection but only after the induction phase.

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    If you are ready to drop weight quickly, you might consider the Atkins Diet. This diet was one of the first low-carb eating plans to enter the weight loss market. The Fast Fat track of the Atkins Diet is a lower calorie version of the traditional Atkins Diet and will involve monitoring how many calories you consume while watching your carb intake. You might want to pick up a copy of the Atkins Diet book to get more meal ideas. Speak to your physician about following a low-carb diet.

    Limit your calorie intake to 1,000 calories per day. While following the modified Atkins plan to drop the weight quickly, you’ll eat 200 calories at each meal. Keep a food journal to keep track of the calories in each of your meals.

    South Beach Vegetarian Diet

    Eat five small meals each day. To stave off hunger, you will eat every three hours on the Atkins plan to help you lose the weight quickly.

    Get most of your calories from fat sources and proteins. Atkins emphasizes cutting carbohydrates from your diet, including bread, rice and potatoes. To lose weight quickly, you’ll be getting 75 to 90 percent of your calories from fat sources and proteins. Nuts, beef, pork, chicken, turkey and butter are some examples of the fat sources and proteins you’ll consume on Atkins.

    Atkins Diet Plan for Vegetarians

    Prepare your meals around the calorie and carbohydrate restrictions. You can eat each of these items individually as a small meal on the Fat Fast version of Atkins: 2 scrambled eggs, 2 oz. of beef chuck, tuna salad with 2 tbsp. of mayo, 1 ½ oz. of macadamia nuts, sugar-free gelatin with whipping cream and 1 oz. of cream cheese.

    Follow the 1,000-calorie diet for three to five days. After that, you can add another 200 calories to your diet. You will continue to eat 1,200 calories per day until you reach your goal weight. Once you reach your goal weight, you can follow the maintenance phase of the traditional Atkins Diet.