The Atkins Diet Review

The Atkins Diet Review


Update: Jun 01, 2022



  • No calorie counting.
  • Healthy carbs in moderation are allowed, so it’s not a complete taboo.
  • Less sugar and unsaturated fats can drop cholesterol levels along with the pounds.
  • The books are updated regularly, with new and emerging options.
  • If you need a comfort food fix—or simply don’t care to cook—the range of pre-made products is wide.
  • Your body does eventually adjust if you stick with it.
  • Compared with many plans out there, it’s relatively affordable to do.


  • Getting started when an entire food group is all but eliminated can set up the potential for binges.
  • A cold-turkey approach to simple carbs can leave users lethargic and rather grouchy until the body adjusts.
  • Eating out can be problematic, which can affect your social life (though a lot of restaurants have low-carb options now).
  • Reintroducing carbs, even complex carbs, too quickly can result in regaining the weight, which can be discouraging.
  • You cannot go back to even half the donut-and-white-bread consumption you once had—it’s a lifetime of commitment.
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The Bottom Line On The ATKINS DIET

With a fifty-year legacy, Atkins isn’t going anywhere—or at least low-carb diets aren’t. It’s a diet that transitions to a lifestyle, and not everyone makes that transition. Done without the extra food items, the program costs little more than the $25-each books the food item costs are within reason in the world of diet products. Followed properly, it’s safe. And it does allow for some carbs, which the body needs to function smoothly, though most of us would probably consider the amount the Atkins diet allows to be a bit of deprivation.

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How Does The ATKINS DIET Work?

Bells and whistles aside, the Atkins Diet boils down to a pretty basic set of rules: drastically reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates—sugars, white flour, processed carbohydrate foods—you eat. Dr. Atkins believed such foods lead to high blood sugar (diabetes), heart problems, and weight gain. But it’s not starvation by any means; simple refined carbohydrates are replaced with copious amounts of vegetables and protein, moderate fat intakes, and small portions of low-sugar fruits and whole, high-fiber grains. No calories to count. No points á la Weight Watchers. [5] There is one item the Atkins dieter keeps track of: net carbs. Which is easy to figure out:

Net carbs (grams) = Total carbs (g) – Fiber (g).

Fiber doesn’t break down as it’s digested; other carbohydrates break down into sugars which are then absorbed by the body. Fiber just keeps right on going through the digestive tract. But while it’s in the body, it keeps the body feeling full. We need at least 20-30 grams of fiber a day for good health, but most of us barely get 15 grams.

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The Atkins diet has four phases: Induction, Balancing, Pre-Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance. The Induction phase allows 20 net carbs and 1,500 calories per day. This phase typically lasts around 2 weeks or until you are about 15 pounds away from your goal weight. It’s a strict program; 15 of those 20 net carbs come from super low-sugar vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, and green beans. According to the website there are two different programs:

With Atkins 20, your starting point (Phase 1, Induction) is 20 grams of net carbs a day. With Atkins 40, your starting point is 40 grams of net carbs a day. Both plans allow you to increase your carbs, but one adds food one at a time and the other adds to your carbohydrate portion size as you approach weight loss goals. [6]

The Balancing Phase allows 12-15 net carbs from vegetables, until you are around 10 pounds away from your goal. The Pre-Maintenance and Lifestyle phases both slowly introduce complex carbohydrates back into your diet, in a way that will not negatively affect your waistline.

What About the Atkins Food Items In the Grocery Store?

Because many of us just don’t want to give up familiar comfort foods, the company created a line of food items all low in net carbs so they can be eaten while on the diet. For example, their Caramel Nut Chew bar only has 2 net carbs and 1 gram of sugar. There are frozen food items as well, such as a pepperoni pizza with 11 net carbs and 23 grams of protein. But just because these foods are program-approved, does that mean they’re healthy?

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The low-carbohydrate diet has been around since the mid-18th century, when it was literally the only treatment available for diabetes (insulin wasn’t discovered until 1922). [1] It was introduced for weight loss in 1862—the story of William Banting is well worth a glance. [2] But no plan brought low-carbing so brightly into the spotlight as The Atkins Diet, introduced in the early 1970s. Dr. Robert Atkins’ initial diet book, Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, took the fitness world by storm and changed the way many people thought about dieting. Atkins ousted the idea that low-fat foods can help you lose weight, encouraging dieters to eat high-fat foods instead (though the idea is really high-healthy-fat foods) and drop the sugar and refined flours. We now know that the entire modern low-fat craze was started in the 1960s by the sugar industry, who paid scientists to taint their research results, which had confirmed the dangers of too much sugar in the diet—“Blame fat instead!” [3] From an August 2014 report from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today [2014], the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week!

Nutritionists suggest that Americans should get only 10% of their calories from sugar. This equals 13.3 teaspoons of sugar per day (based on 2,000 calories per day). The current average is 42.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. [4]

But back to Atkins. He was one of the first people to really challenge the whole low-fat/high-sugar narrative, opening up the dieting world to new ideas. But the damage has been done, and the concepts surrounding low-carb/high-fat diets feel extreme in a time when America is almost literally drowning in sugar. The idea that you should cut out carbohydrates altogether seems a lot to ask of someone, and there is debate about the healthy/not-healthy aspects of this lifestyle. But nearly fifty years after Atkins’ first publication, some dieters still use it to help themselves lose weight. The premise is fairly straightforward: eating foods higher in protein and fat allegedly help eliminate cravings for simple sugars and empty carbohydrates that encourage fat storage. And what started as a single book has now morphed into a full-on industry of its own, with apps, food items, and online programs to follow. So let’s break it down.

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The diet products that Atkins offers—shakes, bars, and frozen meals—may push your comfort buttons, but they’re not better than eating whole foods. Full of preservatives, sugar alcohols, and a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, “low net carb” doesn’t equal “good for you,” in my opinion. But processed goodies aside, the Atkins program itself has been around awhile and is relatively safe. Dr. Atkins does not promote any type of exercise in the program for weight loss, though most health professionals do recommend at least some body movement for overall health if not for direct weight loss. The Mayo Clinic offers a typical Atkins-style menu in its review of the program:

Breakfast. Scrambled eggs with sautéed onions and cheddar cheese. Acceptable beverages include coffee, tea, water, diet soda and herbal tea.

Lunch. Chef salad with chicken, bacon and avocado dressing, along with an allowed beverage.

Dinner. Baked salmon steak, asparagus, and arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, along with an allowed beverage.

Snacks. You typically can have two snacks a day. Snacks may include an Atkins Diet product, such as a chocolate shake or granola bar, or a simple snack like celery and cheddar cheese. [7]


Question 1: Can you take a multi-vitamin while on the Atkins Diet? Answer 1: Yes, they promote this on their website hereHow do I contact the company?E-mail: None provided Website: Atkins.comPhone Number: 1-800-6-ATKINS Address: 1050 17th Street, Suite 1500 Denver, CO 80265

6.3 Total Score
The Atkins Diet Scorecard

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  1. Hi I have been on Atkins diet for 11 weeks at first the weight fell off fast but now its about 1 lb per week. I started at 212lbs yesterday I went to weigh and im down to 183. I started with a 43in waist now im a 35in waist. It works and its not that hard to stay on it you are limited to what you can eat. lots of omelets with any carb free meet carb free cheese green olives. I make pams of quiche with eggs any carb free meat heavy cream broccoli spinach. Most vegs have lots of carbs you cant even eat a can of green beans I eat a lot of can collard greens and I get the chicken thats all ready cooked at WalMart or any store and shred it up and make omelets or any other time you can eat all you want. I cant believe I have not cheated if you go on this diet no cheating if you just eat one peice of candy it will mess your diet up. You eat no carbs and your body takes yours in your body and burns them. It works but you can all so go on a no fat and just eat carbs all depends on you. I think I can lose what I want in 3 more months 155 is right around the corner good luck everyone you can do it look at the carbs on everything you eat get almond milk with sugar free pudding helps your sweet tooth when you craving something sweet the almond milk has 8 carbs in a half gallon oh the unsweet almond milk it sucks by itself but makes great pudding 2 cups of pudding is only 2 grans of carbs. One more thing I have not exercised at all i’m going to join a gym now but you dont have to it will help out big time but some people just dont have extra time or money in this crazy world.

  2. I have been in ketios for 2 weeks (dark shade of purple) but NOT loseing weight…What am I doing wrong..very low carb diet… drinking water…I go to water arobics 3 x a week…I no longer have cravings for sweets….But shoulden’t I be losing weghtas well????

  3. Odd, then that Newsweek did a study of 38 diet plans and rated Atkins as #1 in weight loss. The so-called dietary deficiencies of Atkins are only the fulminations of vegans who insist you fill up on veggies and hate the idea of eating meat–any meat. The simple secret to how Atkins works is that if you eat a lot of protein and fats, you don’t get nearly as hungry as by eating the same caloric value of carbohydrates, Thus, you can eat less without feeling hungry. Finally, Atkins is superb as lowering your A1c if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

  4. I still have my Stillman book (1969). I just recently went low carb, under 50 carbs/day and lost 13 painless pounds in four months. (Took me two weeks to get used to in the beginning.) Will keep on eating this way. No carb sucks. Low carb rocks! Why eat six meals a day? Keeps food on my mind. I eat 3 substantial meals, including avocatdo and EVOO, and maybe a snack if hungry at bedtime. Low carb keeps blood sugar steady. Love it!

  5. Any diet that go to extremes in any direction can’t be good for you. The best way to loose weight is to examine your current diet, remove things that are either bad for you such as processed foods and high sugars, replace them with things that are healthier such as fresh meat, vegetables and fruits. Then curb the portions. Most of us eat much more than we need. We tend to eat until we are full instead of satisfied. I have found that when I feel the need to splurge, if I choose things with a stronger flavor such as sharp cheese or dark chocolate, it takes less to satisfy my craving.

  6. Actually The Stillman diet was the first to come up with the low carb diet. Atkins came along and tweeted the first one. But he was not the originator of that concept.:
    The Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss Diet (The Stillman Diet) was created by Irwin Maxwell Stillman, M.D., in 1967.
    The diet includes lean beef, veal, chicken, turkey and fish. Eggs and non-fat cottage cheese are also included as are spices, tabasco sauce, herbs, salt, and pepper. Condiments, butter, dressings and any kind of fat or oil are not permitted. Tea, coffee, and non-caloric soft drinks can be consumed, but only in addition to the 8 daily glasses of water required. It’s also recommended that dieters eat 6 small meals per day instead of 3 large ones.[1]
    According to WebMD the diet is a “warmed-over” version of the Atkins Diet. In actuality, Dr Stillman published 5 years before Atkins……

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more! You can eat healthy following an Atkins type program. I make my own mayo etc., use real food like butter, cream. The truth is, not eating meat makes you weak! No soy oils or corn oils in my diet. I stay away from the New “Atkins” pre-made stuff and bars. Might have had a headache in the beginning from detoxing all the fake diet and junk foods and toxins out of my body. Big deal!, The “bad odor” thing is ridiculous. I lost weight and keep it off. I’m 63, walk every day I can. Never sick, have tons of energy.

  8. I’ve lost weight on Atkins and if you follow the program, it will stay off. You only incorporate more carbs gradually and back off when you see a weight gain. As far as being difficult and time consuming, I agree. I have meat with vegetables and salad… purchase or cook. I did not find it at all difficult to follow since it is all regular food…not diet food or just liquids. And as far as liquid diets, I gained weight. I plateaued early on Jenny Craig, saw no results with Volumetrics (hated most of the recipes), lost on Weight Watchers the first time, gained it back plus some and didn’t lose on WW the second time. Thanks to Dr Atkins’ diet, I discovered after almost twenty years of suffering that my doctor was wrong. I never had IBS. I had a gluten sensitivity. All symptoms disappeared after 24 hours of eliminating it and I haven’t been sick a day since then. I don’t know about the cholesterol issue but I will find out soon with my new doctor, I’m sure.

  9. Atkins Is the best! It changed my life and got me to eat less. I haven’t lost weight but I feel full. I would definitely recommend it. A low carb diet. Just be carful of snacking. 8/10

  10. SAYS HERE TO LEAVE A REVIEW but looks like a “reply” to already posted???
    Anyway: I rate the value low – was dismayed to see that Atkins is doing what wine companies do with their bottles; put big bumps and in the packaging! My Chili Con Carne container had a concave section in it covering half the bottom – making it appear you get what your eyes are telling you (but you don’t) – deceptive packaging which is common, but we consumers should speak up about it. I’m sure they justify it with their business/ production figures and rising costs as all companies do for “puffed up” packaging; however, I would venture to guess that the difference in doing this or not might equal the cost of another vacation home or luxury car for shareholders! And I would think retailers would want to do something about this – such an acceptance of this requires more of their shelf space for AIR!

  11. I loved the Atkins diet! I had great success from March through July. The they changed their mobile app. It’s horrible. Even my programmer-husband says it’s horrible. I’m out.

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