Atkins Diet Menus

Atkins Diet menus are structured to meet four different levels of weight reduction and maintenance. In addition, menus are available to use during plateau periods when weight loss stalls for a number of weeks. The beginning menu plan offers a variety of recipes and choices within limited food groups; however, as progress is made, additional foods are added until the critical carbohydrate level (CCL) is achieved. This is the point when an individual continues to lose or maintain weight, depending on where he or she is in the weight loss process. Each person’s metabolism will vary; some will be able to tolerate more carbohydrates and others much less.

The first level of the Atkins Diet is built around the concept of consuming less than twenty grams of carbohydrates per day for approximately two weeks. Calories are not counted, but many foods are off-limits, including breads, pastas, fruits, vegetables high in starch, and sugars. Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) is the second phase, and is filled with menu plans that will see weight loss continue at a less rapid rate than during induction. Daily carbohydrate intake is raised by five grams each week until an individual is no longer losing weight; then, carbohydrates are subtracted until moderate weight loss begins. The third phase, pre-maintenance menus, is initiated when an individual is within ten pounds of goal weight. During pre-maintenance, ten carbohydrate grams are added to the daily intake for about one week; then another ten are added weekly. The same process from phase two applies: when weight gain is observed, carbohydrate levels are reduced.

The final stage of the Atkins Diet is to be adapted when target weight is reached. Successful dieters will enjoy a wide range of foods, including some that are higher in carbohydrates, without the worry of regaining pounds. Dieters should keep in mind that the Atkins Diet recommends this plan as a way of life, and strongly encourages the continued elimination of processed foods. Carbohydrate

For a review of this diet and 3 other diets by the American Cancer Institute see the following article by TheDietChannel: Popular Diets Versus Dietary Guidelines.