The Atkins Diet: Low Carb Foods List

A diet low in carb, such as the Atkins diet, will lower your blood sugar levels, while also helping you to lose weight. Since this diet is rather strict, and allows only 20 carbohydrates per day during the induction phase, you need to learn which foods qualify. 

Foods Rich in Protein

The majority of foods that are rich in protein contain insignificant carbohydrates, if any. Some of the recommended foods are:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs

However, not all types of meat are allowed, so you should avoid:

  • Breaded meats
  • Mussels and oysters
  • Beef liver and other organ meats
  • Hams and luncheon meats
  • Processed meats


Vegetables represent the main source of carbohydrates in the Atkins diet. Between 60 and 75 percent of the daily ratio of carbs should come from:

  • Avocado
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Sea vegetables
  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
  • Jicama
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Radicchio
  • Sprouts

As you can see, there are many low carb vegetables that you can choose from. In contrast, the vegetables that need to be avoided include:

  • Beets
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Plantains
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips

The reason why these are not recommended is because they are starchy vegetables, and hence, high in carbohydrates.


Since the majority of cheeses contain up to 1 carbohydrate per ounce, you are recommended to consume 3 to 4 ounces per day. Cream cheese is allowed, but you need to stay away from:

  • Fresh cheeses
  • Farmer’s cheese
  • Cottage cheese

Fat and Oil Sources

When following a low carb dietary plan, such as the Atkins diet, you need to carefully choose the sources of fat. Giving up on dietary fat is not recommended, as this substance is required by your body. However, you must make sure that trans fats are not included in your diet. Instead, you should try such fat and oil sources as:

  • Fish, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Olive oil for salads
  • Grapeseed, canola, and peanut oil for frying foods 

Butter and other foods that contain saturated fats are allowed in the Atkins diet, but need to be consumed in moderation. Regarding the fats that must be avoided, several examples include:

  • Soy, safflower, corn, and sunflower oil
  • Low fat mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings that contain sugar

Consuming regular full-fat mayonnaise is permitted, as long as it is made with healthy oils.


Water is the main beverage that you need to consume, according to the Atkins diet (and to many other dietary plans). Soda water and carbonated water are also recommended, unless they include sugar. You should stay away from juices and cider, as these contain sugar. The main goal when choosing a beverage that complies to the Atkins diet criteria is to make sure that it does not contain any sugar. Decaffeinated coffee and herbal teas, for example, are good choices. Clear broths tend to be low in carbs, but you have to check the labels in order to be sure.


Sugar needs to be completely avoided, but there are certain sweeteners that are allowed. These include:

  • Sucralose
  • Saccharine, but only in small amounts.

Most of these foods are recommended during the induction phase, and hence, are very low in carbs. When this phase is over, you can add several other foods to your meals and can create more complex recipes, as long as you remember to count the carbs.


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