Atkins Diet

Atkins Diet Food List

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Are you looking for a food list for the Atkins Diet? While many people associate this plan with a very limited diet, you can actually indulge in many of your favorites. You just might be pleasantly surprised to find out how many tasty foods you can enjoy when following this carbohydrate-controlled way of eating.

Atkins Diet Food List

You will be able to enjoy eating variety of many different types of foods when you are following the Atkins way of eating.

Free Foods

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.


Many 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.


Most fats are allowed in this way of eating. Cold-pressed vegetable oils are preferred, and it is important to include some source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as linseed oil or salmon. Butter is allowed; margarine is not. Olive oil, nut oils, seed oils, and vegetable oils are all permitted. You may also eat (or use for cooking) any fat that is part of your meat.


Some 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 Spices

It 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.


You can drink a wide variety of beverages while following the Atkins program. Three taboos for this category are sugar in any form, caffeine, and fruit juice.

  • Water, sparkling or still
  • No-calorie flavored seltzer
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Caffeine free tea
  • Caffeine free diet soda
  • Cream, but not milk
  • Club soda
  • Herbal tea
  • Bouillon
  • Lemon or lime juice


Any artificial, non-sugar sweetener is permitted on the Atkins food list. Some of the possibilities include sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal), saccharine (Sweet ‘n’ Low), and acesulfame potassium (or ace-K, usually found in conjunction with another artificial sweetener). If you prefer a natural sweetener, you may use Stevia– an intensely sweet herb that is available in both processed and unprocessed, in bulk and in packets, and in most health food and grocery stores. Sweeteners to avoid include sugar alcohols (maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol), natural sugars (fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, glucose), and such things as honey or corn syrup.

Enjoy a Variety of Foods on the Atkins Diet

Reviewing an Atkins Diet food list dispels the myths surrounding the diet and helps low-carb dieters find the best possible nutrition while they pursue their goal weight. Too many people have the misconception that the Atkins Diet is a no-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat, free-for-all. It isn’t. What the Atkins Diet does is teach you to eat the kind of carbs your body processes most efficiently–plant-based carbs. From day one, ample carbohydrates are allowed in the form of vegetables, which are one of the basic foods required for any healthy diet.

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