Healthy Eating Guidelines : How to Use a Dr. Atkins Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan

Healthy Eating Guidelines : How to Use a Dr. Atkins Diet as a Vegetarian or Vegan


My name is Christine Marquette and I’m a registered
dietitian with the Austin Regional Clinic and I have had some questions of how to use
the Atkins’ Diet as a vegetarian or a vegan. Now truly if you are a vegan you really can’t
do the Atkins’ Diet. This is a low carbohydrate high protein, high fat diet and as such in
the very first phase of the program you are limited to only 20 grams net carbs. For somebody
who is vegan they won’t be able to eat enough calories or feel full because they have such
limited options. They’re not getting fat from cheese, they’re not getting fat from eggs
or any source of dairy. The only fat that they would be able to consume would be from
avocados, olives and nuts and even though those items are all still fats they do still
have some carbohydrates so again because you have to limit your carbs to only 20 per day
there is no way a vegan could eat enough to actually consume enough calories to sustain
themselves on a daily basis so truly a vegan cannot do the Atkins’ diet. A vegetarian who
is still using some dairy products, they actually have a possibility that they can follow the
Atkins’ because they could get a lot of their protein and fat from eggs, from cheese, from
whole milk but it still would be difficult again because you have to limit that carbohydrate
so much. Vegetarians usually eat a lot of fruit, they eat a lot of vegetables, they
eat a lot of whole grains so you cut all of that out, you cut it down so much it does
make it very difficult. There would be very little variety in somebody who is vegetarian.
They would be eating primarily eggs, cheese, and drinking whole milk and even whole milk
still has some carbohydrates so if you are having to limit again to 20 just to give you
an example an 8 ounce cup of whole milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates in it. So that is
already more than half of your carbs that you can consume on the Atkins’ Diet in that
first phase, so not really able to do this if you are vegetarian or vegan. You just can’t
do the Atkins’ Diet, at least not the traditional method, not those first couple of phases.
The vegetarian may be able to get away with that third or fourth phase that already includes
more carbs but they would not be able to follow the Atkins’ as it is described in the book.