Atkins Induction is the first stage of Atkins, designed to break addictions to sugary foods and reset your metabolism. As is the case with any addiction, the only way to wean yourself off sugar is to stop taking it.
This is an essential phase of the diet, but also the toughest one – carb cravings are common during Induction, especially if you are trying Atkins for the very first time.
Although sugar and starchy foods are definitely off-limits, some artificial sweeteners are permitted on Atkins Induction. Combined with some other permitted foods, it is possible to create Induction-friendly desserts, to help you beat those cravings.
But isn’t it better to avoid sweeteners anyway?
Some people argue that it is best to stay off all sweet foods, regardless of whether they affect your blood glucose (as real sugar does) or not (as is the case with artificial sweeteners), as this will help get over the cravings faster.
I agree with this opinion to a point. If you have the willpower to stay off all sugar and sweet foods, then it is certainly best to do that. However, if you find yourself unable to fight the cravings, it would be better to satisfy them with a dessert based on permitted foods, than to fall off the wagon and have something sugary, or to give up the diet altogether!
What are we allowed to use in making desserts on Induction?
The following ingredients are permitted on Atkins Induction, and can be combined to create desserts:
- Cream cheese (limited to 3-4 oz a day)
- Cream (limited to 2-3 tbsp a day)
- Avocado (half a small one) – yes, there is a way to make it into a dessert!
- Sweeteners – Splenda (or sucralose) is the recommended one. Stevia, saccharine and erythritol are also allowed as they have no effect on blood glucose. As always, watch out for fillers and bulking agents, as those can be high in carbs. Truvia is a good brand to try – erythritol and Stevia mix, suitable for making desserts.
- Spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves work well in desserts
The following foods are not explicitly mentioned on the list of permitted foods, but mentioned elsewhere in the books and on the official website, as part of recipes.
- flaxseeds – this is not on the list of permitted foods, but is mentioned as a permitted fibre supplement. It is very low in carbs.
- sugar-free cocoa powder – unsweetened cocoa powder is permitted in small quantities
- sugar-free vanilla extract – unsweetened variety is permitted in “spice” quantities
Remember to count the carbs in each of these ingredients, and add it to your daily total!
You can experiment with mixing these permitted foods with sweeteners almost in any way. It can be as simple as whipping up some cream with a bit of sweetener. I have put together some of my favourite recipes based on the ingredients listed above.
Five dessert recipes for Atkins Induction
All of the recipes below contain up to about 5g of net carbs, however, the exact count may vary depending on specific brands and products you choose. It is important to keep a very precise count on Atkins Induction, so I will not attempt to include carb counts with these recipes. Please ensure to count it up yourself based on the actual ingredients you choose.
1) Mock cream cheese “Danish”
Ingredients: 2oz cream cheese, 1 large egg, sweetener to taste, ½ tsp unsweetened vanilla extract, pinch of cinnamon
Method: Put cream cheese in a small dish and microwave on High until softened. Lightly beat the egg and stir it in, add sweetener and vanilla extract. Microwave on High for 2 more minutes.
Note: This mixture is actually quite nice when “raw” – i.e. without microwaving. You would have to be very confident about the equality of your eggs though as obviously there are potential health hazards when eating raw eggs.
2) Chocolate cream
Ingredients: 2 tbsp whipping cream, 1/2 tbsp butter (softened), sweetener to taste, 1 tsp cocoa powder
Method: Mix all ingredients together until blended well, spoon into a bowl or a glass and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3) Avocado chocolate mousse
Ingredients: ½ avocado, 2 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp unsweetened vanilla extract, sweetener to taste
Method: scoop out avocado flesh, mix with all other ingredients and blend well.
4) Flax microwave “muffin”
Ingredients: 2 tbsp flax meal, 1 large egg (beaten), 2 tsp sweetener, ¼ tsp baking powder, 1 tsp double cream
Method: Mix all ingredients together in a tea mug, microwave on High for 3 minutes.
5) Vanilla flan
Ingredients: 1 large egg, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup double cream, 1/2 cup water, 3 tbsp sweetener, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 pinch of each salt, nutmeg, cinnamon
Method: Lightly beat the egg and yolk. Add all other ingredients except nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour into ramekins and sprinkle spices on top. Place the ramekins in a pan with about an inch of water added. Bake at 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 for about 30 minutes or until set.
Update – January 2014
Here are some further suitable Atkins Induction dessert recipes I posted in 2013:
Flourless chocolate biscuits (using butter, cream cheese, eggs, unsweetened cocoa and Truvia)
Keto mousse (similar to chocolate cream above, but with cream cheese for denser texture)
Atkins Nutritionals bars and shakes
Atkins Nutritionals produce a whole range of Atkins Advantage bars and shakes suitable on Induction. In the UK, they are available on the High Street from Boots and Superdrug.
Sugar-free jelly contains virtually zero carbs and so wouldn’t interfere with your Induction. If your chosen brand includes sweetener, make sure it is a permitted one – many brands include aspartame, which is not permitted.
Atkins recipes booksAtkins for Life Low-Carb Cookbook
Atkins diet support websites
If you crave sugar all the time, try supplementation
Dr Atkins strongly recommended using supplements to support Atkins diet and curb sugar cravings, especially during the initial stages. In his original book, he dedicated a whole chapter to supplements, and also wrote a separate book on the subject. In addition to vitamins and minerals, he advised taking chromium and L-Carnitine to speed up transition to ketosis.
Check out our multivitamin/multimineral formula, which was designed specifically to support low-carb dieters, and includes chromium and L-Carnitine.