Rules of Induction: Achieve Ketosis with Low Carbs

The first phase of the Atkins diet, known as Induction, is designed to jumpstart weight loss and transform your body into a fat-burning machine. By limiting the amount of net carbohydrates you eat in this phase to 20-25 grams a day, your body will switch its main fuel source from carbs to fat through a metabolic shift known as ketogenesis. 1 When you maintain this level of carbohydrate intake for least two to three days, you’ll enter a state of ketosis, 2 helping you reach your weight loss goals in the most effective way.

Induction is a great place to start if you have more than 40 pounds to lose, have a waist of over 35” (women) or 40” (men), are prediabetic* or diabetic*, you’re inactive or have a slow metabolism, or you’ve regained the weight you once lost. But Phase 1 isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have that much weight to lose or if you are vegetarian, you’ll start in Phase 2 instead. Compare Atkins plans to find out which phase is best for you.

The Induction phase must be followed precisely to achieve success. Stick to the following low carb diet rules to make Atkins 20®, Phase 1 of Induction, the perfect weight loss plan for you.

1. Don’t Skip Meals!

The most important part of reaching your weight loss goals? Eating! Eating throughout the day will help keep you full and reduce the risk of overeating or choosing unhealthy foods. 3 Aim for either three regular-sized meals a day or four to five smaller meals. Do not skip meals or go more than six waking hours without eating.

2. Power Up on Protein at Every Meal

Protein plays a key role in weight loss and protects lean muscle mass, so you lose primarily fat. 4 During Induction, aim for at least three 4-6 ounce servings of protein each day in the form of poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, and red meat.

3. Be Carb Conscious

Eat no more than 25 grams a day of net carbohydrates, at least 12-15 grams of which must come in the form of salad greens and other vegetables. Use our Acceptable Foods List to guide you through Induction and the Atkins Carb Counter Tool to track your net carbs.

4. Fats Are Your Friend

Consuming fat is essential to slimming down on Atkins. Fat also heightens the flavor of foods and enables your body to absorb certain vitamins. 5 You can consume 3 tablespoons daily of pure, natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower, and other vegetable oils (preferably expeller-pressed or cold-pressed).

5. Stick to the Acceptable Foods List

Avoid eating anything that’s not included in the Acceptable Foods List. Do not eat fruit, bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables, or dairy products other than cheese, cream, or butter. And 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 also not permitted at this time.

If you feel you must eat bread or some other grain product, only high-fiber, low carb products with 3 grams of net carbs or less per serving are allowed, and you can eat only one serving a day. Note that even that amount may slow or stall your progress.

6. Adjust Your Appetite

Adjust the quantity you eat to suit your appetite, especially as it decreases. When you’re hungry, eat the amount that makes you feel satisfied, but not stuffed. If you don’t have a big appetite at mealtimes, have a small low carb snack instead of skipping a meal altogether. If you’re unsure, wait 10 minutes and have a glass of water to see if you’re still hungry.

7. Beware of Hidden Carbs

Check the carbs listed on every package label or use our Carb Counter Tool. Keep in mind that zero carbs on the label doesn’t mean “free of carbs.” The law allows manufacturers to round off if a product has fewer than 0.5 grams of any carbohydrate, which will show up as zero. 6 The only way to detect some fractional carbs is to look for them in the ingredients list, where they must be listed if they’re added to a product, regardless of the amount.

Enjoy a meal out at a restaurant 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.

8. Use Sugar Substitutes in Moderation

Use no more than three packets a day of sucralose, saccharin, and stevia as a sweetener/substitute for sugar. But because of the fillers and bulking agents that are added, be sure to count each packet of any of these as 1 gram of carbs.

9. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

The initial loss of water weight is typical during Induction, but it can lead to lightheadedness and zap you of your energy. To hydrate your body, avoid constipation and electrolyte imbalance, and flush out the by-products of burning fat, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Two of these can be replaced with coffee or tea. Another two cups can be replaced with beef, chicken, or vegetable broth (not low sodium types).

If you are constipated, mix a tablespoon of psyllium husks in a cup or more of water and drink daily. 7 8 You can also add ground flaxseed into a shake or sprinkle wheat bran on a salad or vegetables for added fiber.

10. Add a Daily Multivitamin

A well formulated low carb diet is not associated with vitamin or mineral deficiencies. 9 So, while not a requirement, you can take a daily iron-free multivitamin tablet and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to make sure you are getting all the nutrients and minerals you need such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. 10 

Following these rules of Induction will help you successfully achieve your weight loss goals. Register with us today to start transforming your body.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2020: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article

The ketogenic diet (KD) has gained immense popularity during the last decade, primarily because of its successful short-term effect on weight loss. In the United States, KD is utilized in a variety of patient populations for weight management, despite limited evidence regarding its efficacy and risks… This is where the process of ketogenesis becomes indispensable, and the formation of ketone bodies is then used as the primary energy source by cells with mitochondria and, most importantly, the brain.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2020: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article

The effectiveness of different types of diets based on different macronutrient restrictions has been a topic of debate for the past few years. Some researchers support restriction in carbohydrate (CHO), while others endorse cutting down protein or fats… Also, participants following a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (VLCKD) had a significantly greater increase in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels when compared to participants following a low-fat diet (LFD) (95% CI: 0.04 to 0.2; p=0.002). This increase in LDL-C may subsequently lead to the development of accelerated atherosclerosis and increases the risks associated with CVD.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2011: The role of snacking in energy balance: a biobehavioral approach

Snacking is often presumed to contribute to obesity, but to date, studies have not demonstrated such a causal relationship, probably because a clear definition of snacking is still elusive. The usual one, i.e. any intake between traditional meals, has no physiological basis. Moreover, because some evidence suggests that frequent meals may prevent overweight, any confusion between snacks and meals may mask the deleterious effect of snacks on energy balance…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2007: Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women

To examine the effects of dietary protein and obesity classification on energy-restriction-induced changes in weight, body composition, appetite, mood, and cardiovascular and kidney health…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2004: Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection

The amount of dietary fat required for optimal bioavailability of carotenoids in plant matrices is not clearly defined…

Evidence Based
Food And Drug Administration,
2013:  A Food Labeling Guide

L31.What are insignificant amounts of nutrients?
Answer: These are the amounts that are permitted to be shown as zero on the
Nutrition Facts label (e.g., less than 5 calories may be expressed as 0 calories)
except that for total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, and protein, it is the amount
that can be declared as “less than 1 g” on the Nutrition Facts label. 21 CFR

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2019: The Effect of Psyllium Husk on Intestinal Microbiota in Constipated Patients and Healthy Controls

Psyllium is a widely used treatment for constipation. It traps water in the intestine increasing stool water, easing defaecation and altering the colonic environment. We aimed to assess the impact of psyllium on faecal microbiota, whose key role in gut physiology is being increasingly recognised…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2003: Constipation and the preached trio: diet, fluid intake, exercise

A survey of 90 older community-dwelling people’s constipation experience is reported in part. The focus is the participants’ efforts to use diet, fluid intake and exercise as preventive strategies. Most feel that they have been preached to in this regard…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2018: Assessing the nutrient intake of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet: a hypothetical case study design

The low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet is becoming increasingly employed in clinical dietetic practice as a means to manage many health-related conditions. Yet, it continues to remain contentious in nutrition circles due to a belief that the diet is devoid of nutrients and concern around its saturated fat content.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2019: Impacts of carbohydrate-restricted diets on micronutrient intakes and status: A systematic review

A systematic review of published evidence on micronutrient intake/status with carbohydrate-restricted diets (CRD) was conducted in Web of Science, Medline, Embase, Scopus, CENTRAL, and up to October 2018. We identified 10 studies: seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (“Atkins”-style, n = 5; “Paleolithic” diets, n = 2), two Atkins-style noncontrolled trials and one cross-sectional study.

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