by Robert C. Atkins, M.D.
January 2002 Paperback Edition
Summary Copyright © 2004 by
Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E. is NOT related to Robert C. Atkins, M.D.
The following summary is for fair use and educational purposes only.
This is a brief summary of some of the information from Dr. Atkins' book. It is NOT complete. It is NOT medical advice.
Dr. Atkins' first experiment with a carbohydrate controlled diet was in 1962 with 65 people. 64 of them achieved their original weight loss goals. The one person who didn't still lost 90 pounds. (p. 38)
Food is used by the body as fuel. The body uses glucose from the food to provide energy. Glucose comes from carbohydrates (not fats). Glucose is NOT related to calories. If we eat more carbohydrates than we need in a day, the extra is converted into FAT and stored on the body. If we consume fewer carbohydrates than we need each day, then our body automatically begins to burn our FAT to provide the fuel it requires. Counting carbohydrates and NOT calories is the answer to successful weight loss. If you control the number of carbohydrates you consume each day you will lose weight independently of the number of calories you eat.
If you have kidney problems or are taking insulin, consult a physician before attempting this diet. (p. 107-109)
If you are pregnant, do not use this diet to lose weight. (p. 107)
If you are taking medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, have your doctor monitor you as you do this diet because this diet automatically decreases a person's blood pressure and cholesterol and your doctor will probably gradually decrease your dosage so you do not overdose yourself. (p. 110)
Fish, tuna, chicken, turkey, duck, lobster, crab meat (not imitation), clams, shrimp, nitrate-free bacon (not sugar cured p. 131), ham, pork, beef, lamb, venison, eggs, mayonnaise, butter, olive oil, and many cheeses (read the label first). (Avoid margarine because it may have health side effects. Use real butter instead.)
Examples: Tuna Salad, Ham & Cheese Omelet, Boiled Shrimp, T-bone Steak fried in butter, Grilled Chicken, Ground Sirloin.
Celery, cucumber, green peppers, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes.
Eat vegetables throughout the day and not just at one meal.
Decaffeinated tea or coffee, decaffeinated diet soft drinks, water. (Note: Caffeine does not impact your weight loss. Dr. Atkins simply believes that a person will have a healthier body if they avoid caffeine in excess.)
Use saccharin or stevia (health food store) as a sweetener. (Avoid or minimize the use of nutrasweet and sucralose - both may have serious long-term health side effects.)
Drink 64 ounces of water per day (Eight 8-ounces glasses of water).
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc. do NOT count as water. (p. 153)
It's your choice. You can keep your fat or you can drink the water. Water will help keep you healthy as you lose weight and it will help flush the waste products from your body.
(Read pages 124 to 128 in the book for a more complete list of the foods you can eat, such as kale.)
Do NOT eat potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, flour products, sugar.
Take one multivitamin each day (with extra calcium, magnesium, potassium, B, C, but absolutely NO Iron). (p. 135-136, 140) (Note: If your doctor has prescribed Iron, then you should take a vitamin with Iron.)
Ultra Light Beer (2.6 g/12 oz.), Run, Vodka, Tequila (0 grams).
Always park at the far end of all parking lots and walk. (p. 191)
Phase One: Induction - 2 weeks. (Before you start Phase 1, weigh yourself and measure your chest, waist, butt, thighs, arms, and neck. Check your blood pressure twice at a self-test station. Record the results and the date.) Eat no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates (carbs) per day; 3 normal meals per day, or 4-5 small meals; eat at least once every six waking hours. (p. 122-124) After 48 hours the body suppresses hunger and appetite diminishes. (p. 61) Average weight loss can vary between 0.6 to 0.9 pounds per day. Read the label on everything before you eat it. Deduct the grams of Dietary Fiber from the Total Carbs to yield the Net Carbs. Multiply by the Number of Servings on the label. (p. 244) Count your Net Carbs each day. Ignore the calories. If your breath, urine, and/or stools smell different, then you are burning fat. (Weigh yourself at the end of 2 weeks. If you want to continue losing weight at that approximate rate, then stay in Phase 1 for up to 6 months. If you want to slow down your weight loss a little bit, then proceed to Phase 2.) (p. 160)
Phase Two: Ongoing Weight Loss or OWL. Set a total weight loss goal when you start this phase. (p. 166) You may now add another salad to your menu each day, or 1/4 cup cantaloupe or honeydew, or 4 ounces of cottage cheese, or one ounce of sunflower seeds, or twelve Macadamia nuts, or 13 strawberries or other berries. (p. 170-171, 174-175) Add a total of 5 grams of carbs per day (daily total of 25 grams). Stay at this level for 1 week and verify you are still losing weight and record how much. The next week add 5 more carbs per day (daily total of 30 grams). Verify your weight loss at the end of the week and record how much. Continue adding 5 carbs each week until your weight stabilizes. This is your Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL). At or above this level you will either stop losing weight or you will start gaining weight. (The average person can eat between 40-45 carbs per day and still lose some weight. Routine exercise will increase this number. ) (p. 170-171) Now reduce the number of carbs you eat each day to the number required to lose weight at the rate you desire. Continue in Phase 2 until you are within 5 to 10 pounds of the total weight loss goal which you set at the start of Phase 2 and then switch to Phase 3. (p. 178)
Phase Three: Pre-maintenance. The objective is help your body adjust from a fat burning machine to a food burning machine as you gradually level off at the weight you wish to remain at for the rest of your life so your body has the best chance of staying at that weight permanently. Being too thin or too fat is not healthy. Add 10 carbs and check your results at the end of the week. Continue adding 10 carbs until your weight loss stops. This is your Critical Carbohydrate Level for Maintenance (CCLM). Deduct 10 carbs and continue to lose one pound or less per week until you reach your target weight. Ideally you should be in this phase from 1 to 3 months. Add one new food per week. If a food adds weight, stop eating it. (p. 193-194,196)
10 Carbs = 1/4 cup of cooked potatoes, brown rice, pasta, or beans.
Phase Four: Lifetime Maintenance. Stay at or just a little below your CCLM. Weigh yourself once per week. It is okay for your weight to vary plus or minus 3 to 5 pounds from your target weight. If you add more than 5 pounds, deduct 10 Carbs per day and stay at that level until you return to your weight goal. As you get older your metabolism will slow down and you will need to lower your CCLM to maintain your weight. (p. 208-210, 214) Avoid trigger foods, which are ones you can't stop eating, such as peanuts, potato chips.
Weight Loss Plateaus: Did you start a new medication or birth control pills? Did you add a new food? Is your lifestyle now less active? Are you counting your daily carbs accurately? If you eat too much protein, your body will convert it to glucose. Reduce cheese to 3 ounces or less per day. Eat 5 carbs less per day. (p. 182-192)