Phase 2 - Frequently Asked Questions

If I stay at 20 grams of carbs a day, why can't I have some in the form of a slice of whole grain bread which has 20 grams of carbs?

There are two reasons this approach won't work. For one, all carbohydrates are not created equal. The Atkins nutritional approach is designed to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and causing the overproduction of insulin - a hormone that helps convert carbohydrates to body fat. The first carbohydrates you need to add back to your diet when you move beyond Induction are more vegetables, then seeds and nuts, then berries and then - if you are still losing - pulses and grains. Even bread made from 100 per cent whole-wheat flour contains enough refined carbs to produce this insulin-raising, fat-storing effect in many people. Later, if your weight loss is progressing well and you have increased your daily carb intake, you may eat an occasional slice of whole grain bread.
Secondly, the New Atkins nutritional approach is not just about rapid weight loss; it's about learning to eat a variety of nutrient-dense carbohydrates for the rest of your life. These are foods that are packed with the most antioxidant vitamins and healthy phytochemicals relative to the amount of carbohydrates. Once you've reached your goal weight and established your personal New Atkins carbohydrate balance. Most people can enjoy whole-grain bread, fruit and even the occasional plate of chips.

Can I drink alcohol now that I am in Ongoing weight loss?


The body burns alcohol for fuel when alcohol is available. So when it is burning alcohol, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop weight loss, it simply postpones it. Since the alcohol does not get stored as glycogen, you immediately get back into lipolysis (fat burning mode) after the alcohol is used up. But keep in mind that alcohol consumption may increase yeast-related symptoms in some people and interfere with weight loss. If it does not slow your weight loss, an occasional glass of wine is acceptable once you are out of Induction so long as you count the carbohydrates in your daily carbs count. (A glass of wine contains about 4.3 grams of carbs.) Spirits such as Scotch, vodka and gin are acceptable, but do not mix with juice, tonic water or non-diet soda, all of which contain sugar. Diet tonic and diet mixers are permitted. If you have added alcohol to your eating plan and suddenly stop losing weight, discontinue your alcohol intake.

I lost weight on Induction and for the first few months in Phase 2 Ongoing weight loss, but now the scale just won't budge. How do I get off this plateau?

First, before you assume there is a problem, ask yourself some questions: Are you feeling better? Are your clothes fitting better? (You may be losing inches, not pounds, because muscle weighs more than fat.) Are you still losing weight, but at a slower rate? You may need to continue a bit longer, making slight modifications. These include:

• Decreasing the amount of carbohydrate you are consuming by 5 or 10 grams.
• Increasing the amount of fat and decreasing the amount of protein.
• Finding and eliminating ‘hidden’ carbs in the form of lemon juice or processed foods that may contain sugar.
• Increasing your activity level.
• Drinking at least eight 8 fluid ounces glasses of water daily.
• Cutting back on artificial sweeteners, cheese or excess protein.

What is carb creep and how can I avoid it?


When you start adding back carbohydrates as you move from Induction into the progressively less restrictive Phases of New Atkins, some people begin to lose track of how many grams of carbs they're eating. If that happens, you are likely to regain the pounds you've lost. That’s why it’s very important to increase your daily carb intake by only five grams each week and to introduce only one new food at a time. That way, you'll also immediately notice if a new food is causing you to experience cravings that lead to over-eating. Another way to stay in control is to keep a food diary so you can spot troublesome foods before they set up a pattern of cravings and gorging. For example, if you find that after eating nuts you are hungry again in a few hours, cut out the nuts and see if the hunger disappears.

When should I move from Phase 2 to Phase 3?

When you are within five (2.2kg) or 10 pounds (4.5kg) of your target weight, it is time to move to Pre-Maintenance. You will now be broadening your range of foods while learning what you can eat without regaining weight, adding 10 grams of carbs per day in weekly increments. So long as you continue to lose weight at a slow, almost imperceptible rate, you can begin to add starchy vegetables and whole grains, such as brown rice or whole wheat bread. However, if adding these foods results in cravings or make you gain weight, you should stop eating them immediately.