The Atkins diet is a protein-heavy diet that promotes weight loss through reduced carbohydrate and increased protein consumption. The Atkins theory is that in the absence of carbohydrates, your body will be forced to burn fats for energy. Sometimes called “the meat lover’s diet” because of its emphasis on proteins derived from meats, the Atkins diet largely shuns carbohydrates typically found in breads, cakes, pastries, pastas and burger buns 2.
Beef and Venison
All types of beef are permitted in the Atkins diet 3. As the main entrée in a meal, beef or venison is often served as a steak or roast, accompanied by cheese, mushrooms, onions, garlic and other low-carbohydrate foods. Meatloaf is still on the menu in the Atkins diet 3. Many dieters choose beef sausage to complement their breakfast eggs. For snackers, beef or venison jerky or a bowl of meatballs may provide a high-protein boost between meals. Burger lovers who often eat out can still enjoy their favorites on the Atkins diet by simply removing the bun before eating the meat.
- All types of beef are permitted in the Atkins diet 3.
- Burger lovers who often eat out can still enjoy their favorites on the Atkins diet by simply removing the bun before eating the meat.
Pork and Lamb
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Atkins dieters may eat pork in various cuts and preparations. Roasts and chops frequently appear on Atkins diet daily menus for lunches and dinners 3. Some dieters choose bacon, ham and pork sausage as their breakfast meats. For variety, some Atkins diet menus suggest pork medallions in a creamy garlic sauce or a snack of sliced roasted pork wrapped around cream cheese. The Atkins diet also permits dieters to eat roast lamb, leg of lamb and lamb chops.
- Atkins dieters may eat pork in various cuts and preparations.
- The Atkins diet also permits dieters to eat roast lamb, leg of lamb and lamb chops.
Poultry and Fowl
A wide range of poultry, fowl and game birds are permitted meats on the Atkins diet. Perennial favorites chicken and turkey are often served roasted, grilled, baked or in casseroles. Chicken stir-fry is a meal that combines the Atkins diet’s emphasis on meat with a few vegetables. Snackers may enjoy chicken wings with a creamy dipping sauce, or chicken fingers with a side of ranch style dressing. Turkey burgers, without the bun, are a popular menu item. Atkins dieters may also choose from among less typical fowl such as pheasant, Cornish game hen, quail, duck and goose.
- A wide range of poultry, fowl and game birds are permitted meats on the Atkins diet.
- Chicken stir-fry is a meal that combines the Atkins diet’s emphasis on meat with a few vegetables.
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- Atkins Diet Info: Atkins Diet Low Carb Food List
- CBS News: Atkins, A Meat-Lover’s Dream
- The Daily Mail: The All-New Atkins Diet Plan
- Anton SD, Hida A, Heekin K, et al. Effects of Popular Diets without Specific Calorie Targets on Weight Loss Outcomes: Systematic Review of Findings from Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):822. Published 2017 Jul 31. doi:10.3390/nu9080822
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.
- Shilpa J, Mohan V. Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane? Indian J Med Res. 2018;148(3):251–253. doi:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1666_18
- de Menezes EVA, Sampaio HAC, Carioca AAF, et al. Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr J. 2019;18(1):41. Published 2019 Jul 23. doi:10.1186/s12937-019-0457-z
- Goff SL, Foody JM, Inzucchi S, Katz D, Mayne ST, Krumholz HM. BRIEF REPORT: nutrition and weight loss information in a popular diet book: is it fact, fiction, or something in between? J Gen Intern Med. 2006;21(7):769–774. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00501.x
- Westman E, et al. A New Atkins for a New You. Touchstone Press. New York, New York. 2010.
Kate Sheridan is a freelance writer, researcher, blogger, reporter and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and trade publications for over 35 years. She attended Oakland University and The University of Michigan, beginning her journalism career as an intern at the "Rochester Eccentric." She's received honors from the Michigan Press Association, American Marketing Association and the State of Michigan Department of Commerce.