Starting the Atkins Diet: The Induction Phase

The Atkins diet is a popular one, essentially sparking the low-carb craze that's resulted in menus all over the country changing. The basis of the Atkins diet is that by reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates that a person takes in, the body will instead burn additional fat during the day, resulting in weight loss. The Atkins diet results in a process called ketosis, where the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates. Reaching this process is the first step in starting the Atkins diet, and the most important one. This process of starting the Atkins diet is known as the induction phase. Knowing how to properly enter the induction phase will be a big help in starting off on the right foot of the Atkins diet.

The Rules

The key feature of starting the Atkins diet is to reduce the total carbohydrates you eat in a day to less than 20 grams. This is achieved through eating low-carb vegetables, such as those found in most salads, as well as by eating meats, cheeses, nuts, and other low-carb foods. Any foods that contain sugar, even natural sugars such as fructose, should be avoided. This includes avoiding milk, pasta, potatoes, bread, carrots, and beans. In this stage of starting the Atkins diet, it is important to check the carb content of your foods so you can avoid anything with hidden carbs.


As mentioned, the purpose of the induction phase when starting the Atkins diet is to force the body into a state of ketosis, where the liver will start converting fat in the body to energy. Typically, it takes about two days after starting the Atkins diet for the body to reach this stage. Rather than guess at whether or not you're in ketosis, it helps to purchase some testing strips. These strips are held in your urine stream to test for chemicals that indicate this stage has been reached. Any positive result is what the Atkins dieter is looking for.

Side Effects

Common side effects of starting the Atkins diet include headaches, nausea, fatigue and soreness in the muscles, all resulting from your body trying to adjust to getting energy without using carbohydrates. Also, this diet tends to have a diuretic effect, which means you should make sure to drink plenty of water when starting the Atkins diet. In order to lessen the severity of these side effects, it's important to take multivitamins, which will ensure that your body is getting enough nutrients. With a little care to reduce these side effects, you will soon be well on your way to starting the Atkins diet and successfully losing weight.