What Are the Atkins Diet Side Effects?

There are Atkins Diet side effects, just like with any diet. And like with most diets, some of the effects are good while others can be troubling. Being aware of what to expect and what you can do to lessen any uncomfortable side effects will help you stick with the diet. Any positive side effects of the Atkins diet are a bonus you’ll want to keep.

There is a lot of Atkins diet criticism regarding these unpleasant side effects. However, these side effects are usually seen during the Induction Phase, when your food options are the most limited. You will be eating foods that are different in type than what you are used to, and this can temporarily upset your system. It usually lasts no more than a few days and can be easily remedied.

Negative Atkins Diet Side Effects


Atkins Diet Side Effects - Drink plenty of water to avoid constipation

Constipation is a common Atkins diet side effect because you aren’t eating as many carbohydrates that are high in fiber and are eating more protein. This shouldn’t last more than a few days. Eating plenty of the recommended vegetables and salads greens and drinking lots of water helps. If you still have problems, take a fiber supplement to stay regular. Look for one without added sugar so that you can stay within your target carb range.


Dizziness or a light-headed feeling is also a sign of your body adjusting to your new eating habits. This is sometimes accompanied by a mild headache. Both of these are a sign that you are going through sugar and/or caffeine withdrawal and will stop after you’ve been on the diet for several days.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be caused by the high protein levels you are eating. This is easy to eliminate with frequent brushing or chewing on mint leaves or parsley. As you move into the stages beyond Induction, this will also fade.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are rare, but some people have reported having them. This is a sign that you are temporarily low on some essential minerals like potassium or magnesium. A vitamin supplement containing these minerals will quickly get rid of the cramping (and the Atkins program recommends taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement anyway to make sure you stay healthy).

Positive Side Effects

There are also very good side effects to the Atkins Diet that you should keep in mind. After all, you should way your options carefully and understand that temporary side effects that are merely irritating may be worth the advantages to you.

Renewed Energy

Renewed energy is a great side effect of the Atkins diet! Although you might feel tired the first few days, as your body adjusts to the lack of carbs you may, like many people, find that you actually have more energy on the Atkins Diet. I slept better and lost that “I need a nap” feeling I used to get after a carbohydrate-rich mid-day meal.

The longer you stay on the Atkins Diet plan, the less you will crave sweets and carbohydrate-rich foods. I no longer crave cookies and baked potatoes like I used to, and it’s because my insulin and blood sugar levels have stabilized.

Lower Blood Pressure

Lower triglycerides and lower bad cholesterol are both Atkins Diet side effects that can significantly improve your health by lowering your chance of heart disease. You may also end up with lower blood pressure on the Atkins diet plan.

You’ll have to judge for yourself if any of these Atkins diet side effects trouble you at all. You may get none of them or you may get only one or two. In most cases, the unpleasant side effects don’t last long, but the long-term benefits can last for years.

Share this page: