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Phase 1 Frequently Asked Questions & Facts

If you have questions about starting the first phase of Atkins, you're in the right place. Below you will discover low carb weight loss facts and frequently asked questions, from the number of snacks you can have per day to how alcoholic beverages will affect your weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to start Atkins in Phase 1?

No. You can start in any of the first three phases. If you have just a few pounds to lose, up to about 15, you can probably start in Phase 2 at 25 to 30 grams of Net Carbs a day. If you are heavier, you can also start here, but it may take a little longer to lose weight without the kick-start that you get in Phase 1. You can also begin in Phase 3 at, say, 40 grams of Net Carbs a day if you have less than 40 pounds to lose.

Do I have to count carbs if I follow the meal plans exactly?

No. However, it's unlikely that you'll follow them to the letter day in and day out unless you eat every meal at home, so it's a good idea to use the Atkins Carb Counter. Also, if you aren't precise about serving size, you may be consuming more carbs than the meal plan indicates. In any case, it's important to know how to count carbs (actually, grams of Net Carbs) as you start to add back more foods. Counting provides a double check that improves your likelihood of success from the start.

Must I have two snacks a day?

Not necessarily. If you're having four or five small meals a day, you may not feel the need for snacks, but be very careful not to go more than four to six hours between meals. Instead, have a hot drink, perhaps a cup of broth.

What is water weight loss?

The first few pounds you lose on any weight-loss program are primarily water, this seems to be a general weight loss fact to follow. Atkins particularly has a diuretic effect.

Can I eat as much protein and fat as I wish?

No. Eating excessive protein will make you sluggish and interfere with weight loss. Overeat fat and you'll create a calorie bomb and may slow down weight loss.

Why do I have to drink so much water?

Most people are borderline dehydrated all the time. Drinking enough fluid helps flush toxins from your body, combats constipation and bad breath, lubricates your joints, and is important to your overall health. Staying hydrated also assists with weight loss. Remember, some of your water requirement can be satisfied with coffee, tea, or other clear beverages, including broth.

Most bacon is sugar or maple cured. Does that mean I can't eat bacon?

Bacon is fine in moderation. Any residual sugar from the curing process in bacon, ham, or other pork products is burned off when you cook it.

Why do the carb counts for some vegetables differ depending on whether they're raw or cooked?

This is a very common question individuals ask when starting the first phase of Atkins 20. Cooking compacts vegetables such as spinach or cabbage significantly. Carb counts reflect the cooked amount. Chopping or grating a vegetable also compacts it more than slicing does, and that impacts the carb count as well.

Can I have dessert in Phase 1?

Yes, as long as you get your quota of foundation vegetables and don't exceed your Net Carb daily limit. A dessert should contain no more than 3 grams of Net Carbs per serving. An Atkins Endulge bar or one of our dessert recipes is a good choice.

Can I eat more carbs one day if I cut back the next?

By maintaining a constant level of carb intake from day to day, you're more likely to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. But a range of 3 or 4 grams of Net Carbs from one day to the next should not create a problem as long as your average intake is consistent. If you do overindulge one day, simply return to your current level the next day.

Why can't I do Atkins during the week and then take the weekend off?

Doing so will mean that you're consistently returning to a primarily blood sugar metabolism for two days. It's a fact during Phase 1 that it takes several days to reignite your fat-burning engine. Stopping and starting, known as “carb cycling," will lessen the likelihood that you'll lose weight or keep it off.

Will drinking caffeinated beverages interfere with weight loss

Although the initial guidelines of Atkins advised individuals to eliminate caffeine without exception, the guideline has since been liberalized to advise avoiding excessive consumption and the guidelines include caffeine as desired and tolerated by each individual.


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