The Atkins Diet, from Dr Atkins, based on low-carbohydrate, high protein and high fat intake, has been around for many years.
It has also had bad press since it started. Visit Atkins Exposed for a blasting from the American College of Nutrition. Or Atkins Diet Alert.
It restricts carbohydrates so that your body tries to break down fat to provide energy. Unfortunately, without carbohydrates, fats may not burn correctly, and toxic ketones may form in your body. This can lead to weakness, nausea, headaches and bad-breath.
The reason the Atkins Diet is still so popular is that it focusses on the low-carb nature of the diet, which is currently popular. Eliminating bread, potatoes, pasta, sweets doesn’t seem too hard to many people. Most of us can do with less sugar in our diets.
The fact that you are allowed to eat lots of meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, oil, butter, margarine, bacon and sausages should trigger a warning to people. Appealing and filling though they may be, these are generally high-saturated-fat foods. Most Health Organisations these days warn against a high-saturated-fat diet. (There are nice fats, like virgin olive oil, or fish oils).
Nutrition Australia also expresses concern that the low carb emphasis causes a lack of foods of plant origin and therefore may not provide suffucient quantities of dietary fibre and some vitamins and minerals. They don’t recommend the Atkins Diet for long-term use.
Most weight loss probably occurs due to the reduced calorie intake of people on the Atkins Diet. They simply eat less than they used to, because they are watching what they eat.
But beware of the fat.
Update: 3 Aug 2005. Atkins Nutritionals filed for bankruptcy in NY after recording a loss of $US340 million last year. In the SMH article, they mentioned that when Dr Atkins died in 2003, he weighed more than 115kg and was suffering from heart disease at the time. Not a good rap for a diet.