Robert C. Atkins, MD, created his iconic diet in the 1960s and published his first book, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, in 1972. It wasn’t until two decades later that the Atkins Diet became revolutionary.

The Atkins Diet is based on the controversial concept that the body will burn fat for fuel when carbohydrates are significantly restricted. This allows individuals to reach their goal weight more quickly than if carbohydrate intake remained the same.There are four phases of the Atkins Diet: The first phase, Induction, severely restricts carbohydrates and focuses on protein, healthy fat, and vegetables to jump-start weight loss. The second phase, Ongoing Weight Loss, incorporates nuts, berries, and yogurt to add more variety and carbohydrates back into the diet. The third phase is Pre-Maintenance, which allows fruit and legumes. The fourth and last phase is Lifetime Maintenance, which allows bread and grain.The five principles of the Atkins Diet are high-protein, high fiber, low sugar, an emphasis on vitamins and minerals, and the elimination of trans fats.Foods to include:

  • Low-carb vegetables
  • Low-carb fruits
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Dairy
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils

Foods to avoid:

  • Refined grains
  • Whole grains
  • Sugar
  • Trans fats


  • Quick weight loss in some cases
  • Processed foods restricted
  • Encourages awareness of hunger cues and cravings
  • Focuses on long-term weight loss and maintenance


  • Can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Doesn’t promote a healthy balance of food groups
  • Condemns carbohydrates, required by some for proper function



Atkins Diet