Atkins Diet

latest-akins-dietDr. Robert Atkins first wrote about the Atkins diet in the 1981, in his book The New Diet Revolution.

Over the last 2 decades, the Atkins diet plan has become one of the most popular diet plans – with Time Magazine naming it “The most popular diet program”.

In response to the negative press some aspects of the Atkins program received, the people at Atkins have revamped their program in 2010 so that it lined up with a healthier way of eating called  The New Atkins for a New You. At the end of 2013 Atkins revamped their diet once again with their new book, The New Atkins Made Easy.

Original Atkins Diet (1981)


Atkins has four phases – all with a carefully controlled level of carbohydrate intake.

Phase 1

The restrictive induction phases lasts for a minimum of two weeks and calls for a maximum of 20 grams of carbohydrate intake (no starchy vegetables, fruits, grains, bread).

Weight loss on the Atkins diet is based on the process of Ketosis:

“First, the main source of energy for our bodies is carbohydrates. When we have fewer carbs in our body, it must look elsewhere for another source of energy. Next in line is stored body fat. So reducing carbs forces the body to burn fat. This process is called Ketosis. Secondly, carbs stimulate the creation of insulin. Insulin is what converts excess carbs to fat. So when you have less carbs you have less insulin and therefore create less new fat.”

Phase 2

The Ongoing Weight Loss phase involves adding more fibrous vegetables (carbohydrates) until the “Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing” is reached. The small increases in carbohydrates are carefully managed on a week-by-week basis.

Phase 3 and 4

These phases are maintenance phases – where carbohydrate intake can be increased – but only until the point that weight is maintained (Critical Carbohydrate Level for Maintenance). Any food that may lead to weight gain should be avoided.

Atkins recommends choosing unrefined or unprocessed carbohydrates.

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The New Atkins For a New You (2010)

The New Atkins For a New You is designed to reflect a greater emphasis on healthy, nutritionally dense foods along with portion control. Atkins has recently strengthened their online diet program and is in the process of making their services international.

The New Atkins for a New You differs from the original in the following ways:

  • More of an emphasis on wholesome foods.
  • Stresses the importance of healthy fats.
  • More focused on nutrition from fresh vegetables, lean protein, fruits, and whole grains.
  • More flexible to appeal to people with busy lifestyles.
  • More emphasis on portion and Calorie control.
  • Special attention given to those who are diabetic as well as vegetarians.
  • More emphasis on being active and exercise.

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New Atkins Made Easy (2013)

new-atkins-made-easyOne of the problems with the older versions of the Atkins Diet was all the guess work involved in following the plan. The New Atkins Made Easy seeks to remove all of the guess work.

It gives dieters step by step instructions on exactly how to follow the diet in the easiest way possible, including how and when to reintroduce carbs, which has often been a difficulty with previous versions.

Also Included in The New Atkins Made Easy in the following features:

  • Shopping lists including exactly which foods to buy for each phase.
  • New and improved recipes, plus quick snack ideas and quick meal options.
  • Diet tracking, meal planning, and carb counting apps to remove the guess work.
  • Backed by now decades of research regarding low carb diets and how to make Atkins the most effective.

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New Atkins Made Easy was written by Atkins Vice President of Nutrition & Education, Colette Heimowitz.


  • Many have experienced success following the Atkins Plan.
  • Quick results can be experienced.
  • Many restaurants have adopted low-carb options on their menus.
  • The New Atkins has been adapted to a broader range of dieters with special dietary considerations.
  • Many Atkins approved snacks are available in the grocery store.


  • One of the most controversial issues with Atkins is that it is high-fat diet. Most government health agencies recommend no more than 30% fat in our diet – yet with Atkins you can easily consume more fat than this. However, the new Atkins has lined up with this percentage and recommends healthy fats.
  • One must question how healthy the process of Ketosis is. In the short term it may have the desired effect – but in the long term? Some suggest that certain organs may be overworked to sustain the process of Ketosis.
  • Promotion of their own line of processed meals and snacks.

Low Carb Diets Do Work

Atkins has been very successful for many people and has resulted in not only significant weight loss – but also health improvement.

Many people do find the diet demanding at first and need to make significant behavior modification to get the best out of Atkins.

If you are thinking of beginning this diet, we strongly encourage you to research and read as much as possible before beginning the diet and consult with your health professional.

See Also:

The official Atkin’s website

Check here for healthy high protein recipes.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Astrup, A., Larsen, T. M., & Harper, A. (2004). Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss?. The Lancet, 364(9437), 897-899. link
  • Beisswenger, B. G., Delucia, E. M., Lapoint, N., Sanford, R. J., & Beisswenger, P. J. (2005). Ketosis leads to increased methylglyoxal production on the Atkins diet. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1043(1), 201-210. link
  • Stephenson, J. (2003). Low-carb, low-fat diet gurus face off. JAMA, 289(14), 1767-1773. link


  1. claud

    now now now… trust me ppl, this diet works wonders. lost 15kg in 3 months!!!!! beats 7 day diet, 3 day diet AND liquid. just give it a shot. least u dnt have to starve!

  2. teen queen

    bein 16 and big, my motivation was obvious! boys! i lost abt 15 kilo’s in 3 months and by prom, a year later, i was below my goal weight and feelin great! its been two years since then, and the weight is still off. make carbs ur enemy, but dnt worry to indulge every nw n then. i dnt!

  3. if i can do it anyone can.

    i have only been on it for 6 days but i have already lost 3.2kg (7 lbs 0.8 oz). all you need to do is stick to it. dont cheat and it will drop off of you. get to the weight you want to be at then maintaine it. and then treat yourself. but just dont go mad. cause it will go back on.but just keep jummping on the scales to check your weight after your treat and if you have gone up a few lbs. then do phase one again till its off, then maintain again.

  4. bee

    This diet definitely works, but if you love bread, rice, potatoes, and sweets like me, then it will be a little difficult

  5. mike

    i lost 40 lbs in 2 months it was easy to follow and really showed

  6. sam

    im trying this diet and i defiantly feel no hunger im calorie counting aswell with the aktins high protien low carb idea and i can say no hunger pangs and no mood swings threw being so hungrey it defiantly numbs your appetite i also find im not so bloated all the time and feel lighter from water retention the aktins shakes r nice but exsepensive good short time havent weighed myself yet but defiantly loseing weight my clothes r looser and no hunger on a low calorie low carb high protien diet give it a try its easy

  7. lauren

    i love this i came in huge[fat] and came out ver little i lost 100 pounds

  8. Denyse from Australia

    On day 7 of Atkins and its the first time in 8 years that I have managed to lose any weight. i had breast cancer 9 years ago and after chemo and radio and tamoxifen I had put on 7 kilos which I just couldnt lose – tried weight watchers and a couple of others. Bought the Atkins book on ebay and have lost 4 kilos already. I dont feel hungry and I like the idea of working out just how much carb you need to maintain your weight and sticking to it – very scientific and practical. So far so good!!!

  9. cookie!!

    i love tootsie rolls… and this diet made me hate them. i am now skinnyer than i ever was… thanks!

  10. Leila

    I did try atkins for 2 months and the results were tremendous. I lost a whopping 21 lbs in 2 weeks. I felt weak and hungry but it payed off seeing that i can wear almost anything and it looked good! The curves were all in the right places. Its kinda hard to STICK TO IT but im going to try my best to do Atkins again before december.

  11. Julia

    Fantastic eating plan FOR LIFE

  12. Researcher

    Do not just go on Atkins thinking it’s a “quick fix” about eating meat all the time. That is *not* what this diet is. I did months of research before going on Atkins, consulted with doctors and people who had successes and failures on the diet, **and you have to READ THE BOOK**. This isn’t a fad diet to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks (although you can). It’s about changing the way you eat for a lifetime. Everyone focuses on the first 2 weeks of Induction, but the plan is far, far more complex. Even if you decide Atkins is not right for you, let me tell you there isn’t a doctor alive who will say that cutting out fast food, candy, soda and refined sugars is bad for you, and that’s 80% of this diet anyway.

    Personally I hate dieting, but Atkins works. 2 years on it, my blood pressure is perfect, my cholesterol is fine, and I’m down 50 pounds and I keep dropping a little each month. I still treat myself to cake & ice cream on special occasions, and even allow myself a sandwich or pasta on rare occasions. Yes, you have to give up *some* foods, for a short period of time, but you get to reincorporate many/most of them back into your life as time moves forward.

    Atkins can also help women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). I would not recommend the diet while pregnant. Also, for a month or so, it can play havoc with your cycle. It’s fine and will pass but for some women (my girlfriend included) it was a turn off. She does Weight Watchers instead and has great success.

    Finally, to Kerry above who can’t do research: The 6-foot tall Dr Atkins slipped and hit his head, causing massive trauma. When admitted into the hospital he weighed 195 pounds. He was 258 at the time of his death due to his internal organs shutting down and fluid retention while in the hospital. He was overweight at the time of his death certainly, but not because of his diet – because he was DYING. Up until that point, he was active, healthy, and an avid tennis player.

  13. Allyson

    I have to do a recearch paper on this and i think its easy to do.looking at all the other comments it looks easy on that too. you should try it 🙂

  14. Ali

    Have used Atkins and seen a lot of success. Particularly for those of us who consider ourselves carnivores. If I haven’t eaten meat in a meal, I feel I haven’t eaten at all. And I’ll graze around and graze around until I get some. Counterproductive really. If you read “Eat Right for your Blood Type” apparently O-Positives are the only ones who really should eat any red meat… lucky for me… I’m O-pos. There is also all sorts of research about how quickly your body breaks down your food–if you are a fast burner (like me) fruits and carbs break down so fast, that you are VERY hungry again very shortly–fats and meats slow us down a bit. So for us, Atkins is often less difficult to follow.

    To address a few concerns that people above have mentioned:

    constipation: add more fibrous vegetables, or a fibre supplement in the first few weeks. If you feel you want to add a carb… try All Bran Buds (not the regular all-bran) the buds taste better and provide about 50% of a day’s requirement of fibre.

    achy/crampy legs: your not getting enough calcium, magnesium and potassium. Apparently this is very common in Phase One, especially if (like me) you don’t like a wide variety of vegetables (like broccoli) and so are not getting enough of these minerals. As soon as I added some extra in, problem went right away.

    That said…EVERYTHING IN MODERATION FOLKS!!! Take that in the many many ways it is meant. Moderate food groups, moderate exercise and moderate your bad self talk!!!

  15. ugh.

    the only reason you would put on weight, is if you tried the diet, stopped and then you get hungry fast and you stuff your face.

  16. Teresa

    I am on the 9th day of my diet and have lost 5lb, but running out of ideas on food. [pease email me to give me ideas

  17. worked for me!

    Its a fantastic diet if you get yourself to commit. I was diagnosed with PCOS and as a side effect, I started gaining weight like crazy. regular diets didn’t work well for me (seemed like maintaining the gained weight rather than losing it!).. I saw a doctor and he suggested I give it a try and I did. I’ve lost 60lbs in a little over two months (about 10 weeks). I followed the book and used the suggested amount of everything (yes, the fat is controlled and people seem to always miss this point!) .. the downside is that you have to fit it in your lifestyle otherwise you’d gain the weight back.. its not a diet, its a lifestyle change.

  18. Gerald Spencer

    Atkins is a fine diet, when you factor calories against carbohydrates you will find yourself doing what you are supposed to do in a diet. Let’s face it, we gain weight when we overeat in regard to our exercise or lack thereof. We can only blame ourselves and hope we can better handle our problems; we are human, people, not a problem with acting like it.
    Really, count calories or count carbohydrates, learn what your safe level is and try not to go over that; just don’t over do the sugar (whatever the source).

  19. paramedic

    I lost a lot of weight w/ this diet and kept it off for a few years, but due to stress & a few other issues, I gained a good part of it back. My fault for not eating healthy. I went back on it, and lost 30 pounds & if I don’t go back to stress eating junk food, I’ll keep it off. The first week takes extreme dedication. Not only do I feel better but my cholesterol has dropped tremendously.

  20. edmund

    is this atkins stuff real, i’m on it now. i started 6days ago but i’m wondering if i’m not the victim of incredibly good marketing. maybe i’m just being paranoid

  21. Jessica Lucy

    I actually never try the Atkins diet but by hearing all this great stop it motivate me to try it out becuse its sound like a suitable diet to take.

  22. Steve Parker, M.D.

    The Atkins diet is increasingly respected in the medical community. Concerns about the adverse effects of ketosis years ago were over-blown. Wider acceptance in the medical/nutritional community is hampered by the relatively high intake of saturated fats on the Atkins program. Many think this may contribute to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and eventually heart attacks and strokes. Nevertheless, I’ve seen the diet work in many people. And it often helps control glucose levels in overweight type 2 diabetics.


  23. King_a

    I am from the country where we eat bread and potatos every day. I start gaining weight after I got married. I wanted to show my husband how good I can cook .After a year he was send to Iraq and I wanted to look great when he come back. Time go by so fast and 10 months were behind us .So I had to use my last 2 months to do something with my 60 over pounds. Did research and I found Atkins Diet. First week I was angry all the time…I missed my bread and fried potatos 🙁 but reward was coming quickly at 5-6 pounds loss a week. When my honey come back and he didn’t recognize me (he walked right beside me…looking for me). I had to jump on him so he can see that this good looking girl it’s me! Thank you Atkins Diet!

  24. Lori

    I have used the Atkin’s diet now for 4 years. I lost 74 pounds and four dress sizes in 8 months. I agree with all of you that you have to stay away from fast foods and do your own prep and cooking. I also have had nothing but skeptical doctors tell me that I’m going to kill myself yet all of the tests they run come out fantastic. Most of the doctors shake their heads and say they don’t understand this. I have battled my weight since childhood and Atkins is the first diet I have ever been able to use successfully for the long term. This diet is not for everyone but it works for me and obviously there are many other people it works for too! The person who commented on Dr Atkin’s dying of heart problems because of his weight needs to understand just how difficult a weight problem can be and I take pity that Dr Atkins couldn’t successfully use his own plan to conquer his battle with weight. But I am grateful that his plan works for me when nothing else has ever worked so well! Thank You Dr Atkins.

  25. denise

    I have used this diet very succesfully. I lost 21kg in 7 weeks and kept it off for 16 years. Did exercise tho. I go on the diet every now and again 2 control my weight. It takes more dedication as u get older. I think it works well 4 me.

  26. SeaGreg

    This diet works. Read what it instructs you to do “to the nth-degree” & if you do not stray you will drop the weight. I’ve used it successfully for better than 7 years now and maintained my weight very well (lost about 35 lbs & kept it off). My blood work continues to amaze my doc who wanted me on bp & cholestrol meds 7 yrs ago but I went on this diet instead. By simply staying the heck away from simple (& bad) carbs like sodas, candy, & pasteries & with modest exercise, & maintaining a healthy diet with lots of fiber almost anyone can maintain the weight loss after you’ve lost it on this diet. Everyone in my family has experienced cardiovascular & sugar issues in their 40’s. I’m in my mid-50’s & still no sign of trouble. I place a lot of credit with the eating habits I got from the Atkins program in 2001. I works for me!

  27. Meghan

    i went on this diet and lost 14 punds in a little less then a month and it was amazing i kept the weight off because i didnt want to put it back on it u immediatly start eating millions of carbs a day ur going to gain the weight back just like any other diet and if you are extremely obese then u need to slowly undergo this diet because obese people consume so many carbs a day their body may shut down with out them so take it slow. Teh atkins diet is great u just need willpower and motivation

  28. jaymie

    i hate that diet i put on 26kilos its sucks dont go on it

    • anthony perry 41 mins ago

      idiot didn,t do it right obviously

  29. Venus

    I did this diet about 7 years ago. I only lasted two weeks and lost an amazing 10lbs. I didn’t go hungry, BUT I did feel sick, light headed and grumpy! I was craving toast and doughnuts and ate 5 in one go. The diet works but it makes you so miserable, so it depends on what you’d rather be, happy or thin?

    • anthony perry 34 mins ago

      i have known many people who had experienced sugar withdrawals causing headaches and other symptoms , stick with it they will go away. GIVE IT TIME AND YOU WILL NEVER TOUCH SUGAR AGAIN!

  30. stella

    I found the diet works great in the summer – salads are easy to prepare and appreciated in warm weather, and you will drink more water. I did this diet last year and lost almost 2 stone. BUT, as soon as I stopped, or even cheated for one day, I gained (up to 7lb in a day) which did come off immediately when I went back to it. Through the winter, the diet didn’t work at all (well, I didn’t lose weight), and I had awful achy muscles in my legs and no energy. Totally different to the summer.

    It could be psychological, I guess.

    I’m now on weight watchers, but I’m thinking about going back to atkin’s – it gets rid of a bloated tummy straight away, for one thing.

  31. nikki

    I almost died when I was on this diet and I have the BP readings to prove it. The American Heart Association does NOT recommend this diet due to the high fat and protein content.

  32. the man

    i think the diet works but is so hard to stay on but i lost weight.

  33. momof4

    I have used the atkins diet for years to get rid of baby weight after childbirth. This diet if followed properly is very effective. If you already have no will power don’t even bother you have to really be dedicated! I have been able to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 115-120lbs. after each baby and maintain that weight for 5 years now…..

  34. Ski

    While I was serving in the military, many of us would go atkins. We never had any problems and gained lots of snergy. It is my opinion that a person should exercise during the diet. If you don’t, you could feel depressed because of all the extra oils that could be in your body, depending on which meets you intake.

  35. masanori yoshida

    What is the third word in the phrase “ruler dog garage seizure”?:

  36. Dan

    This diet worked well for me, but is difficult to maintain as a lifestyle. I have gone up and down several times using the Atkins diet. The effectiveness of the diet lessens each time I have gone on it. Kerry … you are the one who needs to do your research … Dr. Atkins died of a head injury and helped many diabetics with his diet. It has a great premise, just needs to be done with moderation … just like anything.

  37. Jessie

    Dr Atkins died of head injuries from a fall Kerry.

  38. lupe

    how can’t I find out if THIs diet works.

  39. KC

    It worked for me, but i didn’t have the willpower to do that all again when i gained all the weight back, plus more.

  40. Kerry

    Total Wellness, I can assure you that this diet is NOT the healthiest of all the low carb diets. I think you need to work on your research skills a little more before you make claims like that. There are plenty of low carb diets that dont cut out essential food groups as the Atkins diet does. Wasn’t doctor Atkins himself obese when he died of heart problems? The diet didnt do his blood lipid/cholesterol, or his waist line much good did it? 😀

    • anthony perry 25 mins ago


  41. Total Wellness

    The Atkins diet is one of the best and healthiest of all the low carb diets. Not only does weight just roll off of you.. but blood lipid/cholesterol will nose dive. I was a skeptic but after gaining 40 pounds in college and staying overweight half way through med school, i did the research, realized all the health benefits to maintaining a low grain/carb diet and the transformation began. I lost 50 pounds last year and have kept it off for over a year. Its easy if you can cook your own meals and avoid processed foods.

  42. jo

    this diet worked for my mum she lost 4 dress sizes in 3 months and she is much happier now. she did suffer with a few side effects though ie head aches bad breath ect but i suppose if there is no pain then there is no gain

  43. Anonymous

    you spelt carbohydrates wrong in phase 1

    • anthony perry 20 mins ago

      SPELLED ,what is spelt ?

  44. nick kinder

    this is a great diet . im not a fat lard anymore

  45. aktins believer

    Aktins worked for me twice, but when I met my goal weight, I stopped everything, diet/exercise. First time, started at 180, I regained the weight, -30 lbs +10, 2nd time -30 lbs +20. I believe it works but it is also my belief at 43, it is about a life style change of food portions, calories, and exercise. Good Luck!

  46. john jean

    this diet is a stupid diet and it does’nt work and it suchs and if will never use it agin

  47. z harris

    the atkins diet worked for me and made me extremely skinny. now i seem to think i am much cooler than i actually am.

  48. Healthy Eater

    I think that if we would just eat organic and all natural foods, not only will we lose weight, we will be healthy…… you can lose weight and still not be healthy. I did Atkins for 9 days and lost 6 pounds but I felt bad everyday. I had headaches, nausa, and constipation the whole time. It was easy to follow but it wasnt worth it for me. Fruits and veggies along with all natural products (only) are found at your grocery store. A little exercise helps too. Its not that expensive to eat what is healthy, its more expensive to feel bad and be on medicine.

  49. baber

    atkins is good but you need a specific taste for certain foods, i personally follow the fruit and water diet, i have lost 8 pounds in 9 days, and that is no lie.

  50. Jess

    Atkins is too difficult to follow.

Last Reviewed: January 11, 2018