The diet is based on the theory that overweight people eat too many carbohydrates. Our bodies burn both fat and carbohydrates for energy, but carbs are used first. By drastically reducing carbs and eating more protein and fat, our bodies naturally lose weight by burning stored body fat more efficiently.
If you're following the Atkins Diet, you may eat the following foods without concern for quantity. Eat until you are satisfied:
Meat: all unprocessed meats are allowed, including beef, pork, lamb, veal, mutton, venison, and ham. Bacon is allowed if it is not processed with sugar; if nitrite-free bacon is available, it is preferable.
Poultry: any unprocessed poultry is allowed, including chicken, turkey, goose, duck, Cornish hens, pheasant, quail, ostrich, or emu.
Fish: all unprocessed fish are allowed, including tuna, salmon, catfish, trout, snapper, sole, sardines, herring, and any other fish.
Shellfish: any unprocessed shellfish is allowed, including oysters, clams, crab, shrimp, calamari, lobster, mussels, and scallops. Note that imitation crab or other imitation shellfish products are forbidden, as they typically contain sugar and additives.
Eggs: any real eggs are allowed, including chicken, duck, quail, or goose.
VegetablesMany vegetables are allowed on the Atkins Diet. In fact, just about any vegetable you might wish to eat is permitted, with the exception of corn, potatoes, green (English) peas, and other sweet or starchy vegetables. Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution divides allowable vegetables into two groups: salad vegetables and other vegetables.
Salad vegetables: Any lettuce, including iceberg, romaine, Bibb, escarole, mache, raddichio, arugula, and endive. In addition to the lettuces, leafy herbs (such as dill, thyme, basil, oregano, and cilantro) and many other vegetables are listed as "salad vegetables." Bok choy, chives, cucumber, fennel (anise), parsley, celery, peppers (hot or sweet), radishes, daikon, sprouts, mushrooms, olives, and jicama are all considered salad vegetables.
Other vegetables: Among the other vegetables allowed on the Atkins plan are asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, tomatoes, onions, summer squashes (yellow, pattypan, and zucchini), okra, turnips, avocado, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens (mustard, turnip, beet, collards,) broccoli, celery, and artichokes.
DairySome dairy products are permitted on the Atkins Diet. Choose options that are full-fat and as low in carbohydrate as possible.
Cheese: Full-fat cow, goat, or sheep's milk cheeses, as well as soy cheese, are permitted, and they may be either hard or soft cheeses. No diet cheese, cheese spread, processed cheese food, or whey cheese is allowed.
Other permitted dairy: Heavy cream, light cream, sour cream, cream cheese, and butter are allowed; avoid fat-free or reduced fat options.
Condiments and SpicesIt is important to be careful when choosing condiments while following the Atkins plan. Sugar in any form is expressly forbidden, and most people are surprised to learn how many of their favorite condiments, dressings, and spice blends contain some form of sugar. For this reason, most salad dressings are not permissible on the plan, unless you make your own from scratch. The Atkins Diet food list includes the following:
Salad dressings: you can use oil and vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice, or sour cream. If using bottled dressings, ensure that they do not contain any form of sugar. Spices: you can use any individual spice, with the exception of sugar. If using spice blends, avoid those containing any form of sugar or maltodextrin. Other condiments: the diet allows sugar-free versions of mayonnaise, ketchup, and soy sauce. Sour cream is allowed, but yogurt is not