Atkins Induction: Phase 1

Originally Published: by: Views: 39,707

Atkins induction / phase 1 list, I have included the basic Atkins induction rules and low carb food lists in a manner that is friendly for Australians and metric users as well.

Atkins Diet - An Introduction to Low Carb

Regarding low-carb salad and vegetables. In the 72 version of Atkins, you were allowed 2 salads a day consisting of less than 1 cup full of loosely packed salad greens, cucumber and radish. In later versions it became 3 cups of salad OR 2 cups of salad plus 3/4 cup of veggies a day. This again changed to 3 cups of salad or 2 cups of salad plus 1 cup of veggies. All salad and veggies have to be in the induction food-list. From what I can tell on their web site (I do not have their latest book) it has now changed again to 12-15g a day of salad and veggies.

Update: I now have their latest Atkins diet book New Atkins, for a New You - which I highly recommend. In this book the rules for vegetables are now 12-15 grams which they state is roughly equivalent to 175g/6oz of salad leaves and 200-300g/7-11oz of cooked veg, which of course will be dependent on the veggies you choose.

Personally, I just ate whatever green low-carb veggies I could fit into my 20g allowance, it certainly didn't do me any harm. I find this helps to ensure you get more than enough potassium, fibre etc I always suggest this to other people as well. By choosing very low carb veggies, I was able to fit heaps in, much more than those cup rules would allow. The reason I think the older Atkins books set a limit of 3/4 to 1 cup is because that includes more moderate carb veggies like pumpkin which are on the induction lists where as, if you just stick with the very low-carb vegetables, you can get more bang for your buck, so to speak. So, up to you... you could always start off with the cup rule then change to counting once you're in ketosis. If you choose to count or would just like to eyeball some counts to get a better idea, see my list of low carbohydrate food counts, you may be surprised by some of them!

See here: Carbohydrate Counts

Also remember, a lot of vegetables cook down significantly so when measuring always measure when raw to get accurate carbohydrate counts.

Atkins Induction Rules

You can eat liberal amounts of fresh meats, poultry, fish, shell fish as well as pure fats, oils and mayonnaise. No need to remove skin or fat from meat/poultry/seafood.

No fruits, grains, legumes and starchy vegetables.

No nuts, seeds or dairy other than cream, cheese and butter.

Eat either 3 meals per day or 6 small meals per day. Eat until your full but not stuffed.

Do not go longer then 6 hours without food. If not hungry then eat a small low carbohydrate snack from foods in the induction list.

No foods or drinks sweetened with aspartame (951) are allowed. Saccharin and sucralose (splenda) are allowed and are to be counted as 1 gram per packet (two teaspoons), I assume stevia is okay but I don't know for fact.

Avoid caffeinated beverages. Decaffeinated coffee or tea are allowed but coffee substitutes are not allowed. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed during Atkins induction at all.

Eat only what is on the induction lists below and also read labels. If eating out be wary of hidden carbohydrates in dressings, gravies and sauces.

You can make your own salad dressings consisting of oil, vinegar or lemon juice and herbs. However, avoid balsamic vinegar as it contains sugar. Store bought dressings are okay if no sugar has been added but you must follow the rule of no more than 2 carbs per tablespoon.

Avoid cooking with polyunsaturated oils instead, replace with more stable oils such as saturated fats for high heat cooking and mono saturated for low to moderate heat. Avoid margarine and replace with butter.

In the 2002 copy of DANDR, Atkins states: " I cannot stress strongly enough that trying to do a low-fat version of Atkins will interfere with fat burning and derail your weight loss".

Induction Low Carb Food Lists

Eat Liberally

All unprocessed meats and poultry are allowed but only four ounces (112grams) of organ meats are allowed each day as they contain carbohydrates plus other nutrients can be quite concentrated in them.

Processed meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, salami, sausages and others may be cured with sugar as well as including fillers and other undesirable ingredients (flours, soy, MSG etc). Also avoid meats and fish cured with nitrates which are very unhealthy.

All shellfish are allowed but oysters and mussels contain carbs so they are limited to four ounces (112g) a day. The same limitations with organs apply here as well.

All eggs.



Three to four ounces (84-112g) of the following cheeses are allowed:

Blue cheese Cream cheese Roquefort
Cheddar Gouda Swisse
Cow,sheep and goats cheese Mozzarella

All cheeses do contain carbohydrates so need to be counted. Atkins says the rule of thumb is 1g per ounce (28g) but keep in mind hard cheeses like cheddar are much lower than that. Other fresh cheeses like cottage and farmer's chesses are not allowed, nor are processed diet cheeses and cheese substitutes.


Beverages, 2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy or light cream, these are US tablespoons which hold 15ml not 20ml.

Special Category food, One ounce (28g) of sour cream or three ounces (84g) of heavy cream allowed. Like other special category foods which are listed further down, this may need to be avoided in the first two weeks for some people. In Australia, we refer to heavy cream as thickened cream. Pure cream is lower in carbohydrates again.


Eat butter liberally.

No other Dairy is allowed. See here for carbohydrate comparisons in various cheeses and cream: carbs in dairy.

Salad Vegetables

2 to 3 cups or 12-15g for ALL vegetables per day, see rules above for more information.

alfalfa sprouts daikon (chinese or white radish) mushroom
arugula (rocket) endive parsley
bok choy escarole (batavian endive?) peppers (capsicum)
celery fennel radicchio (Italian chicory)
chicory (curly endive?) jicama (mexican potato/turnip) radishes
chives lettuce romaine
cucumber mâche ( lamb's lettuce?) sorrel (spinach dock)

Other Vegetables

3/4 - 1 cup per day or 12-15g for ALL vegetables per day , see rules above for more information.

artichoke hearts collard greens scallions (spring onions)
asparagus dandelion greens snow peas
bamboo shoots eggplant spaghetti squash
bean sprouts hearts of palm (palmito) spinach
beet greens (beet?) kale string/wax beans
broccoli kohlrabi tomato
broccoli rabe (Rapini) leeks turnips
brussels sprouts okra water chestnuts
cabbage onion zucchini
cauliflower pumpkin summer squash (zucchini, button squash etc)
celery root (celeriac) rhubarb
chard (silverbeet) sauerkraut

Please also refer to our list of vegetables sorted by carbohydrate count to help you choose wisely: carbs in vegetables


All spices can be used provided they don't contain added sugar.


Allowed herbs during induction are:

basil garlic rosemary
cayenne ginger sage
cilantro oregano tarragon
dill pepper thyme

Special Foods or Extras

Some additional foods can be added if needed for variety, these are (amounts are per day):

  • 10-20 olives.
  • 1/2 avocado.
  • 1 ounce of sour cream or 3 ounces of unsweetened heavy cream.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice.
  • Atkins warns that these special category foods can slow down weight loss during induction for some people so may be best avoided if possible during the first 2 weeks if your weight loss is slow.


Allowed beverages, keep in mind american tablespoons are 15ml not 20ml.

  • clear broth/bouillon/stock but you need to check the label to be safe. Home made would be much, much better!
  • club soda (which I think is carbonated water with minerals?), non caffeinated diet soda sweetened with splenda. Essence flavoured seltzer that must not contain aspartame or calories
  • decaffeinated coffee or tea, herbal tea (without added barley and fruit sugars).
  • heavy or light cream within a maximum of 2 to 3 tablespoons (American) per day.
  • lemon or lime juice; limit to 2 -3 tablespoons (American). Atkins says they contain 2.8 grams per ounce (28ml).
  • water, mineral water and spring water.

Other Useful Pages

Our Atkins induction recipes thread may be helpful during Induction/phase 1: Atkins Induction Recipes

As well as that, you might find our getting started thread useful, it is more general but mostly stems from Atkins.

See also our Atkins diet page: Atkins Diet