The Atkins diet eliminates foods made from grains, food with added sugar, fruits and fruit juices, most dairy products, starchy vegetables, beans, peas, alcohol and nuts. As a dieter approaches his maintenance weight, he can add small amounts of nuts, fresh cheeses, starchy vegetables and fruits.
The Atkins diet restricts carbohydrates to get the body to enter ketosis, a fat-burning metabolic state that reduces hunger. So long as he restricts carbohydrates, the dieter can eat as much as he pleases of meats, fish, shellfish, eggs and cheese. Dieters using the Atkins plan do not need to restrict calories or portions but do need to keep track of the net grams of carbohydrate consumed, calculated by subtracting a food's fiber content in grams from its carbohydrate content in grams.
Some dieters on the Atkins plan lose substantial weight, and some with Type 2 diabetes show improved insulin sensitivity. The drawbacks of this diet are its restrictions on food choices, its potential for vitamin deficiencies and its tendency to put extra stress on the kidneys. The Mayo Clinic advises that people with severe kidney disease should not go on the Atkins diet, and that people who take diuretics, insulin or oral diabetes medications should consult with a doctor first.