What is the induction phase of the Atkins diet and how does it work?

The popular low-carb diet plan, the Atkins diet, is a program that contains four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss (OWL), pre-maintenance, and maintenance. The first phase, Induction, is the most difficult, but it is required for the body to start working the way it needs to for the Atkins diet to be successful.

The induction phase lasts for two weeks, although if you are responding well and not having difficulty, you can continue for longer, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose, as weight loss in this phase is generally more dramatic. than in the OWL phase that follows.

During induction, you can only eat 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, and all of these must come from green vegetables. This means that you cannot eat any other carbohydrates at all. The list of allowed foods during induction is (aside from these limited servings of green vegetables to get your 20 grams of carbs) all protein and fat. You can eat most types of meat, fish, shellfish, and eggs, and you can use butter and most types of cooking oil. You can also eat cheese, although since it contains a small amount of carbohydrates, you should count it in your 20 grams for the day you do so.

For drinks, you should avoid alcohol during induction (even non-carb alcohol, like vodka), because alcohol is another source of energy the body will use before using fat, and most people should avoid caffeine. although some can get away with drinking coffee, tea, or Diet Coke without affecting the diet. Water is the preferred drink, however you can also have decaffeinated coffee and sugar-free diet soft drinks, and if you want to sweeten any of your drinks you can use Splenda; Real sugar is completely prohibited.

The Induction Phase works by depriving your body of carbohydrates so that it enters a state called “benign ketosis.” This is where your body switches from using carbohydrates as its main source of fuel to using fat, both the fat you eat and the fat stored in your body.

The human body is designed to be able to run on carbohydrates or fats (or alcohol, which is why you can’t take any during Induction), and can be healthily managed on either. Benign ketosis is the state in which your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, and while it does so, a byproduct called ketones is released into your breath and urine. That’s why some people note “Atkins breath” with people following the plan, which smells sweet, like pear drops. To check that the diet is working, you can use Ketostix, a product commonly used by diabetics and available at all pharmacies, to test your urine. The darker the shade of pink or purple on the ketostix, the deeper you will be in ketosis.