Atkins Diet Review

by The Diet Critic on August 17, 2019

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The Atkins Diet has drawn a tremendous amount of attention to itself within the last decade and tends to stand for a more modern perspective on losing weight. However, what most people want to know is whether or not it is actually effective and if so, how hard it is to stick with it.

Atkins Still Exists but was a Fad of the late 1990’s

The Atkins Diet still exists today and remains one of the more well-known and popular diets for weight loss. However, it is no longer the raved about fad diet that it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s when several celebrities swore by it during that time, including Jenifer Aniston and Alyssa Milano.

Today, the Atkins Diet is not all that unique anymore. That being said, it was the first major diet of its nature to receive tremendous media attention. Until then, most of the diets that had received media focus consisted only of counting calories or reducing fat.

Atkins, on the other hand, concentrates on a different micronutrient: carbohydrates. Equally, it encourages the consumption of proteins instead of carbs. The popularity of the Atkins Diet led to not only this common dieting practice, but also the development of many products to complement it, such as books, supplements, bars, shakes, and other food products.

Atkins Has Been Around for Many Years

Though it is considered to be a rather modern diet, it was actually created as a low-carb eating plan back in 1972 by Dr. Robert Atkins (who died in 2005). Unlike what people commonly believe, the diet does not attempt to cut all carbohydrates from the daily diet. Instead, it aims to reduce “bad” carbs, such as refined sugar; a process that has shown in scientific tests to lead to fat loss in the body.

This diet plan has evolved significantly over the years as studies have improved the knowledge of how various macronutrients are processed by the body and how that impacts weight loss or weight gain. Today’s Atkins Diet is geared toward both women and men and encourages them to avoid simple sugar carbohydrates and eat more proteins, which are a slow-release energy that allow the dieter to feel full for a longer period of time without rapid weight gain.

A Basic Rundown of the Diet’s Four Phases

While there is more than one version of this diet, they all essentially function on the same basic principle: Your diet should be high in proteins, high-fiber vegetables and healthy fats, such as:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Oil

While very low in carbs, so avoid foods like:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Candy

That being said, there are four phases to the standard Atkins diet, also known as the Atkins 20.

Phase 1 – You switch your body from burning carbs to fat by eating protein, fat and only 20 grams of carbs in vegetable form daily. During this phase, you’ll put your body into a state of ketosis and will likely see rapid fat loss.

Phase 2 – During this phase you’ll gradually add foods back into your diet, until you learn how many carbs you can eat while still losing weight.

Phase 3 – This phase will start only once you have about 10 pounds left to lose. Once you’ve reached this point, you’ll learn how to maintain weight loss and lose the last remaining pounds.

Phase 4 – Once you’ve hit this phase, it’s all about maintaining for the rest of your life to ensure you don’t gain the weight back.

Atkins Diet Pros

The following are some benefits associated with this diet:

  • Increased energy – Since Atkins Dieters eat lots of protein and fewer simple carbs, the body has the energy it needs for increased activity levels, while assisting in effective muscle repair and building.
  • You don’t need to rely on diet pills – No pills or appetite suppressants are required in order to make the Atkins Diet effective.
  • This diet is cost-effective – No specific products need to be purchased after the initial book has been bought and normal food products can be consumed as long as they meet the Atkins Diet requirements.

Atkins Diet Cons

Some of the drawbacks of Atkins include:

  • Atkins has never been clinically proven effective – There have yet to be any studies to prove that the Atkins Diet’s specific diet plan is effective.
  • This is not an easy diet to follow – Many people struggle with the foods that must be given up for the Atkins Diet, such as baked goods (like cakes and muffins) as well as foods made from potatoes, breads, and sweets. The first phase of the diet may be particularly challenging.
  • Fast weight gain – While this diet is known for causing fast weight loss, equally it can lead to fast weight gain if a follower makes the mistake of eating too many carbs or stops following the diet’s rules.

Though this is not the diet for everyone, some individuals who do not struggle to stop eating simple carbohydrates can find that they have greater successes in losing weight when they stick to the plan.

Of course, as is the case with any major dietary change, if you are considering trying the Atkins Diet, be sure to run you plans by your doctor to make sure it is a safe and viable option for you.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack July 7, 2011 at 1:55 am

Atkins diet has been a life saver for me, after the induction phase, I began to study it like I was going to present a paper on the topic and now my whole family eats the Atkins way and we are truly healthy.

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Julia November 16, 2011 at 6:36 am

Atkins Diet really work, but one problem with it is that one has to be consistent while taking this Diet. I have to follow a tight schedule to get the desired result.

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EBesset March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I think this diet can really work, if you are very committed to it. I was willing to give it a try even though all my favorite foods are bread, rice and pasta. I did lose 70 lbs in 6 months, but I don’t think this diet is right for everyone. If it is not done absolutely correctly, it can be a dangerous diet and I think that is why a lot of Drs are against it. Make sure read the book in it’s entirety first.

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Gina March 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm

No matter what I do, I can’t seem to stick to this diet. I’ve tried it twice and it works for a short while, but then I can’t seem to help but cheat because my cravings for bread and sweets is so strong. This is far too hard!

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rae March 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Does anyone know if this diet is good for diabetics? I have type 2 diabetes and looking for the best diet.

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EBesset March 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Yes this is an excellent choice for type 2 diabetes. This diet will actually help get your blood sugar in a normal range without taking medication.

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Matthew February 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

You might want to ask your doctor before making this kind of change when you have type 2. It is typically alright, but it really will mess around with your levels, so it’s best to confirm with your doc.

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ken March 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I cannot seem to get into ketosis no matter what I do even without any carbohydrates. Wondering what I should be doing?

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EBesset March 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

If you are eating less then 100 grams of carbs per day then you are in ketosis. Are you losing any weight? If you are then who cares if you are in “ketosis” or not lol

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randy March 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Just wondering if anyone knows if Atkins is similar to Dukens at all? I am just starting to read up on this Duken diet but I have tried Atkins and did not get very far so am wondering if I am wasting my time with Dukens. Thanks

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Elizabeth March 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm

The first phase of Dukens (Attack) is similar the Atkins in that it promotes an initial phase of high protiens and no carbs. This gets your body into ketoisis, where it is burning fats. Unlike atkins, with Dukens you are only allowed to eat lean meats, fat free dairy, and nothing else. Unlike Atkins, Dukens believes an unlimited amount of fat is unhealthy. This phase only lasts for 5-7 days and then vegetables are introduced. By the end (there are 4 phases I think) All other foods are introduced and the idea is that you can eat what you like but you have to spend one day each week back on the phase one solid protein diet. By sticking to protein one day a week, you can lose 1.5lb to 2lb instantly and, in so doing, correct any excess that may have occurred during the rest of the week.

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Tracy April 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Atkins worked great for my sister who then gave up on it because she couldn’t stand the cravings for carbs. So she gave me her copy of the book and I’ve now been on it for over a month and it’s working terrific for me. It was hard at first but it doesn’t take long to get over the cravings. A few challenging days are worth all this weight loss

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Karen May 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I love this diet. I’ve been on it for almost eight weeks and it’s great. It’s easy to understand the rules, it doesn’t force you to starve yourself, and it really does get the weight off. I found it a little bit hard at first, but I don’t think it was because of cravings but just because I had to get used to it. It was just a bit of a struggle but then after that, it became a part of my regular routine. It’s just a matter of getting your brain wrapped around it so that you think in terms of the rules when you’re choosing your foods. I also like that there aren’t a lot of gray areas that would make you wonder which foods are right. A lot of diets are like that.

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