Atkins: List of Approved and Banned Foods

The famous Atkins diet, developed by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, is based on following a high protein diet that is nearly void of carbohydrates. Only 20 grams of carbohydrates are allowed each day. Though it is a very controversial diet, the Atkins weight loss plan works for everyone and anyone who sticks with it. It is often not recommended for long term weight loss since it is rather extreme. However, it should be noted that some people have reported improved overall health from following the Atkins diet.

The idea behind the diet is such: when a body is fueled only by protein, the body’s metabolic rate changes. This phase is called, ‘ketosis’ and it is why and how people lose weight when eating mostly proteins. The body is forced to use its own fat for fuel since there is little to no fat entering the body through food. Carbohydrates equal fuel for the body.

When a person does not eat carbs, they can feel tired and sluggish. Although a person’s metabolism is racing, they may feel sleepy due to the body working so hard trying to digest the proteins. If able to overcome this fatigue and continue taking in no more than 20 grams of carbs a day, they will enter the state of ketosis and will burn fat quite rapidly. Unfortunately, caffeinated coffee and sodas are not allowed on the diet so one must tough it out during the low energy times.

The following two lists are the allowed foods and the banned foods from the Atkins Diet. Most of the foods listed on the ‘allowed’ list are allowed in unlimited amounts. All the foods on the ‘banned’ list are never allowed while on the Atkins diet. Though foods such as sausage and cheese are allowed, remember they are very high in fat and cholesterol and are thus unhealthy.



  • Steak
  • Hamburger beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Veal Steak
  • Bacon
  • Cornish Game Hen
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Ham
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Kielbasa
  • Sausage
  • Bratwurst
  • Quail
  • Chicken Cordon Blue


  • Clams
  • Crabs
  • Squid
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Lobster
  • Scallops
  • Snapper
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Catfish
  • Flounder
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Scrod
  • Salmon


  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Mayonnaise


  • Diet Caffeine-free soda
  • Caffeine-free Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Mineral water
  • Half & half


  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Arugula
  • Bok Choy
  • Sorrel
  • Romaine
  • Radishes
  • Radiccio
  • Boston Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Jicama
  • Mache
  • Morels
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Posse pied
  • Eggplant
  • Hearts of palm
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Pumpkin
  • Rhubarb
  • Sauerkraut
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beet greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Scallions
  • Snow peas
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Spinach
  • String or wax beans
  • Summer squash
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery root
  • Chard
  • Christophene
  • Collard creens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Zucchini


  • mayonnaise
  • Most salad dressings
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • vinegar

(limited portions are allowed)

  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Peanuts
  • Sugar-free Popsicles
  • Dill Pickles
  • Almonds
  • Strawberries
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Pigskins
  • Fortune cookies
  • Shortbread cookies
  • Sugar-free pudding
  • 1 slice cherry pie
  • 1 slice blueberry pie
  • 1 slice blackberry pie

One reason this diet is controversial is that many high fat meats and cheeses are allowed in unlimited amounts in the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet professionals all maintain the importance of avoiding high quantities of fatty oils, cheeses and meats even though the consumption of which will cause the body to remain in ketosis mode. Remember that just because a food item is allowed, you must also consider if the consumption of it will promote heart disease, high cholesterol or clogged arteries.

The Atkins diet is very simple and straightforward and is guaranteed to work. However, since the diet relies on the body going into a ketosis phase, there is absolutely no room for ‘cheating’ by eating any of the foods on the following list. The reason the following foods will not work is because though some foods are healthy, they all contain sugar.

Sugar intake will cause the body to fall out of the fat-burning mode of ketosis. The body will instead use the sugars found in the following foods for energy and will neglect the body’s fat for fuel. Fat content in food is of little concern to people on the Atkins diet. The following foods are banned from the Atkins diet:



  • Deep fried chicken
  • Breaded chicken/beef/liver
  • Corn dogs
  • Beef Wellington
  • Country Fried Steak
  • Meatballs
  • Veal parmesan


  • Beans
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Crepes
  • Pita pocket
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Chocolate
  • Cakes
  • Puddings
  • Fruits (though some fruit may slowly be added after ‘ketosis’ mode has been obtained)


  • Any breaded vegetables are off limits


  • alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Fruit juice
  • Soda
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies


  • Potato chips
  • Veggie chips
  • Rice cakes
  • Cookies
  • Sugar candy
  • Ice cream
  • Muffins
  • Bagels
  • Cupcakes
  • Crackers
  • Hummus
  • Processed snacks of any kind
  • Fruit chips
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  1. Penny
    Posted December 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


    In the banned foods list it says that Bread is a banned food. Can I have one slice of Wholemeal bread under 20g Carb??


  2. diane stanton
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Started a week ago, induction phase, not sure exactly what I am doing.(but the scale is goind down already) Can someone email me as I am not great at computer and will be suprised if this comment actually appears. Why no Caffeine???, That is my only cheating Been a tea drinker for 35 years need my caffeine. Cant believe I stopped dring my milk and dont really miss it. thanks

    • Nettelite
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Caffine can slow the weight loss process, that is why they recommend you stay away from it.

  3. wanda noney
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Is it okay to eat mustard ?

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