Foods Acceptable During the Induction Phase – Dr. Robert Atkins – Claudio Saponaro

“..Induction is only the first phase-the way you get the weight loss ball rolling-not the whole Atkins Nutritional Approach. Atkins calls it Induction because its purpose is to induce weight loss by changing your body’s chemistry so that you will achieve, perhaps for the first time in your life, lipolysis and the companion process of ketosis.

Induction is designed to:

• Efficiently switch your body from a carbohydrate-burning metabolism to a primarily fat-burning (your fat!) metabolism.

Stabilize your blood sugar and abruptly halt a myriad of symptoms indicative of unstable blood sugar, such as fatigue, mood swings, brain fog and an inability to function at your best.

Curb your cravings by stabilizing your blood sugar.

Break addictions to foods such as sugar, wheat or corn derivatives, alcohol, caffeine, grain or any other food. For people addicted to sugary, high-carb or high-glycemic foods just as for alcoholics-moderation simply does not work.

• Let you experience firsthand the metabolic advantage.

• Knock your socks off by demonstrating how much body fat you can burn, while eating liberally, even luxuriously, off the fat of the land.

The Induction phase is not going to be your lifelong way of eating. It will last a minimum of fourteen days, after which you should see a significant result.

Rules of Induction

1. Eat either three regular-size meals a day or four or five smaller meals. Do not skip meals or go more than six waking hours without eating.

2. Eat liberally of combinations of fat and protein in the form of poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and red meat, as well as of pure, natural fat in the form of

olive oil,
sunflower and other vegetable oils (preferably expeller-pressed or cold-pressed).

3. Eat no more than 20 grams a day of carbohydrate, most of which must come in the form of salad greens and other vegetables. You can eat approximately three cups-loosely packed-of salad, or two cups of salad plus one cup of other vegetables.

4. Eat absolutely no fruit, bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables or dairy products other than

cream or

Do not eat nuts or seeds in the first two weeks. Foods that combine protein and carbohydrates, such as chickpeas, kidney beans and other legumes, are not permitted at this time.

5. Eat nothing that is not on the acceptable foods list. And that means absolutely nothing! Your “just this one taste won’t hurt” rationalization is the kiss of failure during this phase of Atkins.

6. Adjust the quantity you eat to suit your appetite, especially as it decreases. When hungry, eat the amount that makes you feel satisfied but not stuffed. When not hungry, eat a small controlled carbohydrate snack to accompany your nutritional supplements.

7. Don’t assume any food is low in carbohydrate-instead read labels! Check the carb count (it’s on every package) or use the carbohydrate gram counter.

8. Eat out as often as you wish but be on guard for hidden carbs in gravies, sauces and dressings. Gravy is often made with flour or cornstarch, and sugar is sometimes an ingredient in salad dressing.

9. Avoid foods or drinks sweetened with aspartame. Instead, use sucralose or saccharin. Be sure to count each packet of any of these as 1 gram of carbs.

10. Avoid coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine. Excessive caffeine has been shown to cause low blood sugar, which can make you crave sugar.

11. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to hydrate your body, avoid constipation and flush out the by-products of burning fat.

12. If you are constipated, mix a tablespoon or more of psyllium husks in a cup or more of water and drink daily. Or mix ground flaxseed into a shake or sprinkle wheat bran on a salad or vegetables.

*Oysters and mussels are higher in carbs than other shellfish so limit them to four ounces per day.

**Processed meats such as

hot dogs

and other luncheon meats-and some fish-may be cured with added sugar and will contribute carbs.

Try to avoid meat and fish products cured with nitrates, which are known carcinogens. Also beware of products that are not exclusively meat, fish or fowl, such as imitation fish, meatloaf and breaded foods.

Finally, do not consume more than four ounces of organ meats a day.


You can consume three to four ounces daily of the following full fat, firm, soft, and semi-soft aged cheeses * (28 grams is one ounce) including:

cheddar cow,
sheep and goat cheese
cream cheese
Gouda mozzarella
Roquefort and other blue cheeses Swiss

*All cheeses have some carbohydrate content.
The quantity you eat should be governed by that knowledge. The rule of thumb is to count one ounce of cheese as equivalent to one gram of carbohydrate. Note that cottage cheese, farmer’s cheese and other fresh cheeses are not permitted during Induction. No “diet” cheese, cheese spreads or whey cheeses are permitted. Individuals with known yeast symptoms, dairy allergy or cheese intolerance must avoid cheese. Imitation cheese products are not allowed, except for soy or rice cheese-but check the carbohydrate content.


Salad Vegetables
You can have two to three cups per day:

alfalfa sprouts
bok choy
daikon endive

These salad vegetables are high in phytonutrients and provide a good source of fiber.

Other Vegetables
You can have one cup per day if salad does not exceed two cups-these vegetables are slightly higher in carbohydrate content than the salad vegetables:

artichoke hearts
bean sprouts
beet greens
broccoli rabe
brussels sprouts
celery root (celeriac)
collard greens
dandelion greens
hearts of palm
snow peas
spaghetti squash
string or wax beans
summer squash
water chestnuts

If a vegetable, such as spinach or tomato, cooks down significantly, it must be measured raw so as not to underestimate its carb count.

Salad Garnishes
crumbled crisp bacon
grated cheese
minced hard-boiled egg
sauteed mushrooms
sour cream

All spices to taste, but make sure none contain added sugar


For salad dressing use oil and vinegar (but not balsamic vinegar, which contains sugar) or lemon juice and herbs and spices.

Fats and Oils
Many fats, especially certain oils, are essential to good nutrition. Olive oil is particularly valuable. All other vegetable oils are allowed, the best being

sunflower and
safflower oils, especially if they are labeled “cold-pressed” or “expeller- pressed.”

Do not cook polyunsaturated oils, such as

soybean and
sunflower oil,

at high temperatures or allow to brown or smoke.

Butter is allowed.

Margarine should be avoided, not because of its carbohydrate content, but because it is usually made of trans fats (hydrogenated oils), which are a serious health hazard. (Some non-hydrogenated margarines are available in health food stores.)

You need not remove the skin and fat from meat or fowl.
Salmon and other cold-water fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.


clear broth/bouillon (not all brands; read the label)
club soda
cream (heavy or light); limit to two to three tablespoons a day; note carbohydrate content;
diet soda made with sucralose (Splenda®)
essence-flavored seltzer (must say “no calories” and must not contain aspartame)
herb tea (without barley or any fruit sugar added)
lemon juice or lime juice (note that each contains 2.8 grams carbohydrate per ounce); limit to two to three tablespoons
mineral water
spring water

Grain beverages (coffee substitutes) are not allowed.
ALCOHOLIC beverages are also not permitted during INDUCTION; those low in carbohydrates are an option, in moderation, in later phases.

Special Category Foods
To add variety, each day you can also eat ten to twenty olives,
half a small avocado,
one ounce of sour cream or three ounces of unsweetened heavy cream,
as well as two to three tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice.

Here are five common pitfalls to avoid:

1. During Induction you must not eat any fruit, bread, grains, starchy vegetables or dairy products other than cheese, cream or butter.

2. Stay away from diet products unless they specifically state “no carbohydrates.” Most such foods are for low-fat diets, not controlled carbohydrate plans.

3. The words sugarless, sugar free or no sugar added are not sufficient. The label must state the carbohydrate content; that’s what you must go by.

4. Many products you do not normally think of as foods, such as chewing gum, breath mints, cough syrups and cough drops, are filled with sugar or other caloric sweeteners. They must be avoided.

5. Be wary of prepared salads at salad bars or deli counters. For example, cole slaw or even tuna fish salad may have been prepared with sugar.


Sample Daily Menu of 20 Grams of Carbohydrate


Three-egg omelette with avocado
Mozzarella cheese and tomato
Coffee with cream


Beef round steak (8 oz)
Spinach and mixed leaf salad with mushrooms, onions, celery and
parmesan cheese


Broiled salmon (9 oz)
Kale topped with garlic,
lemon and sesame seeds

If you have been on a low-fat diet, your need for supplementation may be profound. You will have to play catchup to make up for possible deficiencies of essential

fatty acids,
vitamin B12 and the
fat- soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, F.

Several minerals are also in short supply on virtually all low-fat diets. Metabolizing those empty refined foods uses up what little stores of nutrients remain.

vitamin B6
and folic acid

are among the nutrients that are used up faster than they can be replenished on a low-fat diet. You need vita-nutrients to maximize your body’s ability to function optimally as a fat-burning unit.

Nutritional supplements you should be taking during Induction:

1) A broad multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that contains considerably more than the recommended daily intake (RDI) of B complex factors and vitamin C, and that also contains at least thirty other different nutrients (and no iron).


picolinate or polynicotinate (between 200 and 600 mcg) should be included.

Essential fatty acids (EFA). EFA-deficiency may be the most prevalent dietary shortage in our culture, thanks to the misguided obsession with avoiding dietary fat and the overconsumption of trans fats instead of healthy natural fats.

2) An EFA supplement should include gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)-primarily found in primrose or borage oil-and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil or flaxseed oil. (You can, of course, also eat salmon and other cold-water fish.)

3) you should also be supplementing with one or another form of fiber, usually wheat bran or psyllium husks, to prevent constipation…”

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