Diet atkins the ultimate low carb high protein diet phase 3 pre-maintenance

Published on March 10th, 2013 | by George Conte


Atkins diet phase 3: Pre-Maintenance

This is the fourth article of the Atkins diet series.

You can find the first article here: Atkins – The ultimate low carb high protein diet

You can find the second article here:  Atkins diet phase 1: Introduction

You can find the third article here: Atkins diet phase 2 – Ongoing Weight Loss

You can find the fifth article here: Atkins diet phase 4: Lifelong Maintenance

At the Atkins diet phase 3, add 10 grams of carbohydrates per week, and continue doing so until you lose less than half a kilogram (about a pound) per week. The carbohydrate intake at this point is the amount that the body needs to maintain its weight. The aim of the third phase is to find the ideal balance between your target weight and the quantity of carbohydrate consumed.

Carbohydrate Equilibrium

 During the Pre-Maintenance Phase you continue to add “good” carbohydrates (with low glycemic index) every week while you still lose weight until you reach the equilibrium point-the point where you don’t lose or add weight. This point is called the “Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium” or ACE. If you only have few pounds to lose, the slower this is done the better. It may take months to achieve a balance of carbohydrates and this is positive because this slow rate sends the message to your body that this is a perfectly natural process.

When should you start the process of Pre-Maintenance? 

This phase can be initiated when the previous “Ongoing Weight Loss phase” is completed and the person is ready to reach his target. If someone has not started from the start of this program and just wants to lose about 5 kilograms (11 pounds), he can also choose to start directly at this phase. If you do that, be sure to receive instructions about the first and the second phase, in order to understand the basic principles of the program.

How to start the Pre-Maintenance

Every week increase the net carbohydrate amount you consume by 10 grams (daily). For example let’s say that you have completed the “Ongoing Weight Loss” with 45 grams of net carbs per day, Pre-Maintenance can start with 55 grams of net carbs (added 10 grams). Then, next week, this amount will be increased to 65 grams if you continue to successfully lose weight. If you stop losing weight it is required to reduce the amount of net carbohydrates by 10 grams.

Determine your Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE)

The ultimate goal of Atkins diet is to identify the highest amount of net carbohydrates you may consume without affecting your weight balance. This very personal number is called Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE). Everyone will find their own ACE by adding net carbs back into their diet.

List of acceptable foods in Third Phase

In this phase you will continue eating enough lean protein (chicken, lean beef, fish, lamb, pork, beef, shellfish, eggs) and a variety of vegetable proteins.

You continue to add a variety of carbohydrate fore example fruits such as apples, peaches, strawberries and bananas. You can also add foods such as whole grains rich in fiber, brown rice, oatmeal and starchy vegetables.

Starchy vegetables

Starchy vegetables that can be consumed in the Third Phase of Atkins diet and their amounts of net carbohydrates are presented below:

starchy vegetables   serving Size   Net Carbs (gr)
zucchini 84 grams 10.0
carrots 140 grams 10.2
White potatoes 84 grams  11.3
Sweet potatoes cooked 84 grams  9.6


Legumes that may be consumed in the Third Phase of the Atkins diet and their carbohydrate content are presented below (cooked):

legumes serving Size Net Carbs (gr)
chickpeas  84 grams 16.2
Gt Northern Beans  84 grams 12.5
Red beans  84 grams 11.6
lentils  84 grams 10.3
Beans  84 grams 14.2
Navy beans  84 grams 15.5
Pinto beans  84 grams 13.5


Fruits that may be eaten in the third phase of the Atkins diet and their content presented in net carbohydrates:

Fruits Serving Size Net Carbs (gr)
apple ½ 8.7
banana 1 small 21.2
cherries 84 grams 4.2
grapefruit ½ 7.9
Seedless grapes 56 grams 9.9
guava 1 moderate 5.8
 kiwi 1 whole  8.7
Mangoes 56 grams 8.2
peach  1 whole 8.9
plum  1 whole 7.6
watermelon  56 grams 5.2

Whole grain products

The whole grains that may be consumed in the third Phase of the Atkins diet and their level of net carbohydrates are presented below (cooked):

whole grain products Serving Size   Net Carbs (gr)
Oatmeal 112 grams 10.6
Pasta 28 grams  8.3
Brown rice  56 grams 11.6

Tags: , ,

About the Author

George Conte is a student of Nutrition and Dietetics, a fitness and healthy living enthusiast. After seven years of personal experience with weight loss, exercise and a total body transformation where he managed to burn 121+ pounds of fat he became the founder of A website dedicated to help you overcome obesity and transform your life the same way he did!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Back to Top ↑