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Atkins Diet

Carbohydrate control is at the core of the Atkins Diet. Individuals who are able to stick to the program experience significant weight loss and a boost in "good" cholesterol levels.

Sample Daily Plan For Atkins Diet

There are four phases of the diet: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-maintenance and Maintenance. Meal time may differ from one phase to the next, though carbohydrate control is central to the diet during every stage. Two snacks are generally allowed per day.

Calories

Unlike most diets, calories are not the enemy while following Atkins. There are no calorie limits, though individuals looking to lose a significant amount of weight should know that it is always important to be mindful of the number of calories they are consuming.

Induction

Induction refers to the first 14 days of the Atkins Diet, where carbohydrates are limited to a mere 20 grams per day (with 12 to 15 grams of that from vegetables). Fill your plate with fish, chicken, turkey, shell fish (but limit your oysters and mussels since they are higher in carbs), eggs, cheese and vegetables. Alcohol is not allowed during the first two weeks.

Breakfast: Spinach and feta omelet with turkey sausage and a cup of coffee.

Lunch: Rosemary chicken breast with asparagus and a small side salad. Diet soda or iced tea.

Dinner: Broiled halibut with a side of cucumber salad. Choose a drink without carbohydrates or sugar.

Snacks: Atkins granola bar, string cheese or avocado slices.

Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL)

During the stage known as Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), dieters determine the ideal number of carbohydrates that can be consumed in order to ensure that the body is burning fat, not carbs. This is usually about 60 grams of carbohydrates. A small bagel, for example, has about 70 grams of carbs, and would not be an ideal meal option.

Atkins adherents should maintain this carb count until weight loss goals are met. During this period, Atkins promotes the so-called "Power of Five"—a list of foods that, when consumed in the recommended portions, contain just five grams of carbohydrates. The menu includes mozzarella, ricotta, heavy cream, cottage cheese, most nuts, blueberries, cantaloupe and tomato juice. Alcohol is allowed—the lower-carb, the better. (That means more wine, less beer.)

Breakfast: Two eggs over-easy with sliced mozzarella and a cup of coffee.

Lunch: Baked salmon on top of an arugula salad. Drink diet soda or iced tea.

Dinner: Lean roast beef with a side salad. Choose a drink without carbohydrates or sugar.

Snacks: Up to 30 almonds, 14 walnuts or 50 pistachios, six tablespoons of sunflower seeds or a quarter cup of either strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe or raspberries.

Pre-maintenance & Maintenance

When weight loss is achieved, it's time for the Pre-maintenance and Maintenance phases. During pre-maintenance, dieters figure out how many carbohydrates they can consume per day without gaining weight. This magic carb number becomes the core of the Maintenance diet. If weight gain is experienced, cut back on the number of carbohydrates being consumed.

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