What happens after the induction phase of Atkins?
March 21, 2011 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Low carb dieters: What was your experience when you left the induction phase of Atkins? What foods did you introduce? Did it affect your weight loss? Did your cravings for sweets and bready foods increase?

After reading the Gary Taubes research, I switched to the Atkins diet and lost a significant (25 lbs) amount of weight by severely limiting my carbs. At this point I eat - or try to eat - less than 25 carbs a day, but I haven't been keeping track of my diet terribly closely for a couple months, with little weight loss. Now I'm interested in what happens when people follow the Atkins plan very strictly, which is when dieters first go through two weeks of induction and then graduate to eating more carbs. Did your weight loss significantly taper off? Did your cravings increase? What happens?
posted by Viola to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, my weight loss slowed to about half of what it was. My cravings only went up when I ate processed wheat type carbs like pasta and bread. Eating carbs in fruits and veggies did not increase my cravings. I have an addictive eating type personality so I have tried to remain as close to the induction phase as reasonably possible for as long as possible. I allow myself Friday evening for eating pasta or a bread meal. Knowing I get that reward once a week and that I can stop the rest of the week seems to work for me.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

If your weight loss has slowed, you need to start tracking your food. Every bit that goes into your mouth.

I think you'll find the answer there, rather than switching plans.
posted by unixrat at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2011

My cravings for sweets and bread did not increase or decrease and I didn't lose any weight. So... not super successful.
posted by neushoorn at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2011

In my opinion, Atkins is most useful not for the induction phase but for his recommendations about how to continue LC eating after that first major period of weight loss. His books (at least the earlier versions) include a "carb ladder" that lists groups of foods in the order in which you should reincorporate them into your diet, with the highest carb foods or the foods most likely to cause cravings (like, say, cashews) coming later in the "ongoing way of life" reincorporation process. He also recommends that you up your carb intake every two weeks, in 5g increments.

I found this a slow but really easy way to reincorporate foods, because it kept me aware of what I was eating and what was causing potential problems. For instance, when my cravings suddenly spiked one day, I was able to look back at what I had eaten and figure out that what had caused the craving was the peanut butter and apple I'd eaten, as it was the only "new" food I'd introduced recently.

I can eat PB and apples now without weight gain or cravings, but for a while I had to remove them from my diet. (I think I subbed Greek yogurt with sunflower seeds and blueberries. I really wanted to eat fruit again. Berries were lower in sugar content.)

Anyway, if this system of reintroduction appeals to you, you might want to pick up a copy of the Atkins book -- generally on sale for a quarter at the Salvation Army or library nearest you. :)

To answer your last question - yes, my weight loss tapered off, but I stalled out for about three months near the end, not dropping a single pound. Then one day I woke up and was suddenly four pounds lighter. "Fluke," I thought. But the weight loss continued steadily for another week until I hit goal. I've been maintaining, within about five pounds, for about four years now. I still avoid wheat and starch and I don't miss it a bit, but I've got six delicious apples sitting in my fridge, and a whole lot of strawberries and almond butter.
posted by artemisia at 12:54 PM on March 21, 2011

I never did strict induction i.e. I never limited veggies and fruit, with the exception of bananas which I still avoid. But I completely cut out all grains and potatoes and of course sugar. My weight loss was quite slow, and stopped after about 8 months. But since losing weight was not my goal, that was OK. I still went down about 3 dress sizes, without really trying and without ever having been overweight. More importantly, my health problems went away, so I stick with a low-carb plan that does not restrict veggies, pulses or fruit, and is high in the fat/protein department. Very manageable and yummy.

The only thing I noticed that tended to stop weight loss or lead to gains for me was large amounts of dairy like yoghurt, buttermilk or milk. Milk also tends to give me cravings if I drink more than 1 cup. No stalls/cravings with carby veggies like butternut squash, nuts, artificial sweeteners, pulses, sweet fruit or higher-fat/protein dairy products like cheese. But apparently this varies a lot from person to person - some people get cravings from apples and strawberries or grapes, others from nuts, or from pulses. I'd just try and observe what gives you cravings, and avoid that.
posted by The Toad at 2:58 PM on March 21, 2011

(To give you a rough idea of the numbers, I'd guess I had about 40 grams of carbs/day in the first few weeks - I did have the typical induction headache, but was probably never in ketosis? - and then went up to about 50-75 a day, at which point I maintain my weight and don't have to pay attention to my diet.)
posted by The Toad at 3:01 PM on March 21, 2011

I introduced carbs about a year and a half ago when I had been doing low-carb paleo (Atkins-ish). I went up to 50 grams of carbs a day and now I'm up to about 100. No weight gain so far. But I kept them to mostly "paleo" carbs: starchy roots, fruits, vegetables. Recently I have been trying rice and so far so good.
posted by melissam at 10:06 AM on March 22, 2011

Best answer: Just FYI since you mentioned Taubes - I've been on "New Atkins" for 3 weeks and noticed the book recommended staying on Induction until you're within 15lbs or so of your goal weight. That surprised me a bit. (It's been 8 years since my first real serious go at Atkins and I don't remember what my success was like back then after induction)
posted by getawaysticks at 1:08 PM on March 23, 2011

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