Do you need supplements to support your Atkins Diet? According to Dr Atkins himself – yes, you do.
Sr Atkins dedicated a whole chapter of his original book to this subject. The chapter’s title was: “Nutritional Supplements – Don’t Even Think of Getting Along Without Them”. He also wrote a whole separate book about supplements.
However, his reasons for advocating supplementation are not what you might think.
His critics would claim that’s because a low-carb diet like Atkins is not balanced or sustainable without supplementation. But this is definitely not true!
It’s possible (and actually not even that hard) to get all the nutrients you need from low-carb foods. Actual vitamin deficiencies are unlikely on Atkins, especially if you follow his recommendations and eat mostly natural wholefoods like meat, fish and salad vegetables.
So why did Dr Atkins recommend supplements? He viewed supplements as a tool to amplify the benefits of a low-carb diet. They can boost your energy, productivity and well-being. And they can also make a big difference for Atkins Diet beginners, while your body is still adjusting to its new lifestyle.
The point of taking supplements is not to survive but to thrive.
Let’s go through Dr Atkins recommendations one by one.
Atkins Diet Multivitamins and Atkins Basic Three Formulation
Did you know that vitamin supplements can do a lot more for you than simply prevent deficiencies?
For example, extra-strong B-vitamins can help to reduce fatigue and improve your energy levels while vitamin C protects your cells from oxidative stress and boosts your immune system.
Dr Atkins created his own multivitamin formulation for Atkins dieters – “Atkins Basic Three”. It was designed to maximise all of the vitamins benefits for dieters, for example, helping to reduce tiredness and sugar cravings during your transition period. In the long run, it would help to support your long-term health.
The formulation was further boosted with extra-strong chromium and green tea extract which are traditionally taken by dieters to assist weight loss.
Unfortunately, Atkins Basic Three has been discontinued decades ago. After Dr Atkins death, his company Atkins Nutritionals changed hands many times and is no longer manufacturing supplements.
There are multiple similar products on the market. Look for the following features in a multivitamins product:
- Sugar-free, zero-carb and free from junk fillers
- Nutrient quantities to match low-carb nutritional profile
- Extra-strong B-vitamins
- Boosted with extra diet-friendly ingredients like chromium or green tea
Nutri-Align Multivit ticks all of these boxes. It’s been very popular with Atkins dieters for over ten years since its launch in 2012.
Electrolyte supplements for Atkins Diet
Many people feel tired and a bit unwell during the first phase of Atkins, before ketosis kicks in.
This is the infamous “Atkins flu”, also sometimes referred to as “Induction Flu” or “Keto Flu”. You may get fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps and heart palpitations.
Most of these symptoms are related to electrolyte deficiency which occurs as a result of water balance shift. Water stored in your body is bound together with glycogen and electrolytes. Rapid depletion of stored glycogen on ketogenic diets causes an equally rapid loss of stored water and electrolytes.
Electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium) supplements can help you beat this condition quickly.
Most people choose to continue electrolyte supplementation for maintenance even after they are completely adapted to ketosis.
Ketosis aids recommended by Dr Atkins
Some people struggle to break into ketosis even after following all of the guidelines.
Dr Atkins called this “metabolic resistance”. A lot more research has been done into this subject after his death. It has been confirmed that our metabolisms can vary a great deal at the cellular and hormonal level.
If your metabolic resistance is high, Dr Atkins recommended Co-Enzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine to boost fat-burning metabolism to make it easier for your body’s cells to use fat for fuel.
This combination helps to speed up your transition to ketosis. It can also help you break through a weight-loss plateau if you hit one later in your diet.
Nutri-Align Keto Catalyst provides both nutrients in the recommended quantities.
BHB Ketones weren’t as widely available during Dr Atkins life. They can be useful in the beginning of Atkins diet to help adaptation and provide an energy boost. But ultimately, they are not a substitute for your own natural ketosis that can only be induced by sticking to ketogenic food macros.
Fibre supplements on Atkins diet
Some of us struggle with constipation after going low-carb due to reduced amount of fibre. Most natural sources of fibre are high-carb foods like grains and fruit.
This problem can be alleviated to some extent by electrolytes that have a laxative effect, for example magnesium citrate. Eating more fat can also help.
However, lack of fibre continues to be an issue, consider taking a fibre supplement.
Dr Atkins recommended psyllium husks and flaxseeds for this purpose which are both super-high in fibre and naturally very low in digestible carbs.
Omega oils on Atkins diet
Dr Atkins also mentions omega oils as being essential for heart health.
In the last few decades, this has become widely accepted. So most people now watch their omega oils intake whether on a diet or not.
Supplements are not necessary if you make an effort to include foods rich in omega oils to your diet. Fatty fish, flaxseeds and certain nuts are all very rich in omega oils.
Supplements for sugar cravings on Atkins Diet
Sugar cravings are common in the beginning of Atkins diet while your body is adjusting to functioning primarily on fat rather than carbs.
Dr Atkins recommended Chromium Picolinate to help normalise blood glucose levels which can in turn help to manage sugar cravings. It also aids body recomposition and helps to lower cholesterol levels.
Taking an extra-strong multivitamin can also help to reduce sugar cravings. They might be partially attributed to a different micronutrient composition of a low-carb diet compared to standard Western diet.
Nutri-Align Supplements for Atkins Diet
Atkins Diet is linked to the origin story of Nutri-Align.
Our founder, Megan McManners, started the company back in 2011 because she was unable to find a multivitamin supplement that would match all of Dr Atkins recommendations. Atkins Basic Three was long discontinued at that point. So she started her own company to fill the gap.
We incorporated Dr Atkins’ wisdom and advice shared in his books when developing formulations for our products.
In the two decades since his death, ketogenic diets exploded in popularity. There’s been a tonne of new research into ketogenic diets and supplements which have confirmed many of his opinions. This enabled us to go further, using the new research to evolve Dr Atkins original concepts into more advanced targeted formulations.
The following three products are especially popular with Atkins dieters:
Nutri-Align Multivit – a targeted multivitamin with chromium and green tea extract – a great alternative to Atkins Basic Three
Nutri-Align Electrolytes – electrolyte formulation designed especially for ketogenic diets
Keto Catalyst – CoQ10 and L-Carnitine to overcome metabolic resistance and stimulate ketosis at cellular level
Atkins, Robert C., M.D. Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution. 2003., p.301
Atkins, Robert C., M.D. Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature’s Answer to Drugs. Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Disclaimer: Nutri-Align is a completely independent business, not in any way related to Atkins Nutritionals. Information contained herein regarding any specific person, commercial product process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement or recommendation by Atkins Nutritionals or Dr Atkins. Supplements are not a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.