Monday, April 25, 2011

Atkins Induction Diet Plan: Which Version is Best?

Struggling to figure out which version of the Atkins Induction Diet is right for you? Today, Atkins offers many different Induction programs to choose from.  

Photo of Barbecued Chicken Wings
There are Different Versions of the Atkins Diet
However, when I returned to a low carb diet in 2007, I started with Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, 2002 version, due to its availability. When I bought the book, I didn’t know the diet had evolved into something different. Mainly because many Atkins followers I had run into on the web thought that particular program was the only “true” Atkins’ plan.

Problems with the 2002 Version of Atkins

A small group of us had problems with that particular plan. While our issues differed, it didn’t take very long to figure out that if we stuck to the current Atkins’ program, as written, the way most devoted to the cause demanded, we could chuck the goal of reaching target weight good-bye. We stalled, gained weight, or endured serious cravings on that plan.

That’s why I’ve always been a strong advocate for tweaking. Because after losing a mere 2 pounds on Induction, 2 more by the end of that first month, 5 total after 2 months, and nothing more  – I knew I had to do something different or I wasn’t going to make it to the finish line. With a 256-1/2 pound start, and still weighing in at a whopping 251-1/2 pounds on a very short, 5-ft frame three months later, something had to change.

Reason Why Dr. Atkins’ Original Diet Revolution was so Strict

For me, and a small group of online friends, that meant dropping most of those vegetables, and pulling in the reins on the gross amounts of cheese, sour cream, pork rinds, and low-carb products everyone else was eating. Why? Because in the 70s when Dr. Atkins invented The Diet Revolution, most of the patients who came to him had wheat and/or bowel problems. He believed that taking them off the fiber found in vegetables, as well as the sugar and starches, would allow their intestines to heal quicker.

That’s what he personally told the Listserve I belonged to in 1999 – when folks from that online group questioned his statement about allowing net carbs provided the dieter only deducted for soluble fiber. They also wanted to know if they needed to buy the new book; but Dr. Atkins told us no – that between 1992 and 1999 his statement on fiber and net carbs was the only change to the diet he’d made. And it wasn’t a rule; it was optional.

Low Carb Induction Plan Changes in 1992

In 1992, Dr. Atkins did change the Induction plan in his original diet from the version in the 70s when he discovered many of his patients cheating, yet still losing weight. So he introduced some of what his patients were doing into his 1992 plan.

Bowl of cut up broccoli
While Dr. Atkins designed his original diet to ensure that even the most stubborn of metabolic resistant individuals could get into Ketosis within a couple of days, in 1992 he relaxed some of the strictness. You could choose between 2/3 of a cup of cooked vegetables or a loosely-packed 2-cup salad at lunch and dinner.

Or better yet, you could just chuck that whole idea of him telling you what to eat, and design your own plan by counting a daily total of 20 carbs – but with no deduction for fiber. This was the plan most of us followed, because it allowed more variety and the ability to make that diet our own.

2002 Brought More Changes to the Induction Diet

In 2002, when rules returned with a specific carb ladder attached and higher volumes of heavy cream and vegetables, many began to have trouble finding success. Especially when Atkins’ Nutritionals took over the steering wheel and tweaked the plan to raise vegetable consumption to an even higher amount of 12 to 15 net carbs.

Most problems stemmed from a program that was no longer individualized. It had evolved into a diet for the general population, what they could get away with and still enter Ketosis in a matter of days – not for those with specific metabolic and/or health issues that needed something less. Dr. Atkins make that very clear in several interviews; yet followers still held the 2002 book up as the bible of low carb.

The New Atkins for a New You

While the newest Induction plan attempts to correct some misunderstandings regarding fat consumption, and gives examples of what a proper serving of fat is, it also raises the bar for even more vegetables – making the Atkins Nutritionals’ requirement easier to reach if you want to count veggies by the cupful.

Sorting Out the Induction Programs – Finding What Works for You

Platter of Salad
Sorting Out the Induction Programs
Many individuals brought up with the 2002 version have refused to make the move to The New Atkins for a New You, just like many of us refused to travel from 1992 to 2002. Which begs the question: which version of the Atkins Diet is best?

Those who believe in the 2002 version will vote for that book, and those who believe in the 1992 version will tell you that one is. Those who haven’t been able to lose without reverting back to Atkins 72 will stand up for that plan being best. So which is it?

The correct answer, of course, is – it depends. That’s because there are so many variables that come into play:

  • degree of metabolic resistance
  • amount of intestinal inflammation
  • overall insulin levels
  • speed of metabolism
  • body’s reaction to vegetables
  • individual carbohydrate level for losing
  • calorie consumption
  • ability to digest/absorb dietary fats properly

And probably many more. A low carb diet, as written, isn’t a single shoe that fits everybody. Dr. Atkins used to state that, how he formed the diet to fit the lifestyle and personality of his patients. How he tweaked some of the restrictions and requirements to fit their health issues and preferences. But few remember that today. Most fight to stay back in 2002.

The best form of Induction is whatever works for you; because no one knows your body better than you do. So take some time to get to know the different Induction programs. Think about what each plan offers; especially your individual health problems and degree of metabolic syndrome, before deciding. And don't look at your choice as non-negotiable. Be ready to do whatever is necessary to make your dream of thinness come true.


  1. I absolutely agree with you! I have tried the New Diet Revolution and was unable to lose any weight at all, even on induction. I have recently reverted back to the original success I had back in the 70's and the pounds are coming off. I am of course 40 years older, post menopausal (yikes) and am losing slower than I didl, but I'm steadily losing. I couldn't do that counting net carbs. I also could not do that eating any of the Atkins sweets they have out there now even if I kept it to one a day and didn't go over 20.

  2. Anonymous,
    Thanks so much for sharing your insights and comments. It does get much harder and more restrictive each time to go back to a low-carb diet. From watching others, I've seen that the older we get, the more important Atkins 72 seems to be for us.

  3. Hi vickie where can I get the original atkins diet from the 70's as I too lost a lot on that particular Atkins diet but not in the new ones.

    1. Hi did you ever get a reply as to where we can get a copy? That is the diet that worked best for me and i have lost my 72 copy

  4. The only place I know of to get the 1972 book is at Amazon. They have used copies for sale there. Search for "Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution 1972," and whatever copies are available will come up. The book itself is out of print.