Atkins diet and carbohydrates
Unlike other diets, calorie counting isn’t necessary for the Atkins diet. Instead, keeping an eye on your carbohydrates is essential.
Using a system known as the net carb, you will be able to track how much carbs there are in your food. Net carbs are the carbohydrates your body can absorb and convert into energy.
Net carb system
Whole foods: Total carbohydrates – fiber = net carbs
Processed foods: Total carbohydrates – fiber- sugar alcohols (if applicable) = net carbs
The goal of tracking your net carbs using the Atkins diet approach will help you identify the number of carbs your body really needs without losing or gaining weight.
Phases of the Atkins diet
There are two kinds of Atkins approach you can try; the Atkins 20 or the Atkins 40. Atkins 20 or Atkins 40 is the number of net carbs you need to consume in a day.
If the 20 grams of net carbs is too difficult for you, then you can start with the Atkins 40.
No matter what approach you choose, your carb intake will increase as you progress.
If you’re just starting with a low-carb diet, you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or you want a wider variety of foods, then it is better if you start with Atkins 40.
Phase 1 (Induction phase)
The first phase of the Atkins 20 is when you strictly consume only 20g of net carbs per day, no more, no less.
For starters, you can get your 12g to 15g of net carbs from foundation vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, okra, cabbage, tomatoes, and eggplants.
Aside from this, you also need proteins like poultry, fish, red meats, eggs, and cheese, as well as good fats and oils like mayonnaise (no sugar), butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil.
During phase 1, take note that you cannot consume a wide variety of fruits, nuts, sweet treats, grains, pasta, bread, and alcohol.
Make sure that you only drink beverages that are included in the plan like unsweetened tea or soy/almond milk, decaffeinated coffee, and water.
You need to continue this phase for about two weeks or more (use your weight loss as a basis).
Phase 2 (Ongoing weight loss)
Continue getting 12g to 15g of your net carbs from foundation vegetables, but you can also start adding carb-rich foods in your diets, like fruits and nuts.
You can also gradually increase your net carbs weekly from 20g to 25g and so on.
- Fruits: berries, cantaloupe, and honeydew
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, etc.
- Fruits juices: lemon, lime, and tomato
- Beans: kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, etc.
This phase helps you keep track of how many carbs you can eat while still losing weight or maintaining your carbohydrate balance.