The Atkins Diet

Popular diet plans assessed

With a wide choice of diets out there to help with weight loss, choosing the right diet plan is not an easy task. Here we put the Atkins Diet under the microscope so you can decide whether it is the right diet to aid your weight loss.

The Atkins diet is a high protein diet

The theory about the Atkins diet

By eating high protein foods (meat, poultry, fish and eggs) and high-fat foods (cream, butter, cheese) you eat fewer calories. Carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice, chocolate, chips, cereals and sugar are severely restricted.

Our opinion on the Atkins Diet — marked out of 10.

Satisfying hunger 5
Good for health 1
Ease to follow 6
Expense 8
Overall rating 3

Overall verdict on the Atkins Diet

The liberal use of fat really is a health hazard; the overall recommendations that are made in this diet are completely different from the recommendations made by registered dietitians for healthy weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

There is published evidence to show that most people do lose weight on low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins plan, and that weight lost will help blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels of individuals. The problem is that weight lost by any means (not just on the Atkins plan) will improve all of the health measures mentioned above. As the diet is not nutritionally adequate, supplements of vitamins and minerals are needed. There is little evidence to know what effect the Atkins plan has on health in the long-term.

Pros of the Atkins Diet

  • Reduces the number of calories consumed and therefore promotes weight loss.

Cons of the Atkins Diet

  • Long-term effects unknown.
  • Nutritionally unbalanced.
  • Not suitable for pregnant women or people with kidney disease or gout.
  • High saturated (health harming) fat intake.
  • Expensive.
  • Can cause constipation.
  • Long-term maintenance of weight lost would be hard due to the restrictive nature of the plan.
Alcohol — no.
Suitable for vegetarians — it would be possible but very to follow this plan as a vegetarian.
Suitable for vegans — no.
Suitable for coeliacs — yes, always adhere to advice given by your registered dietitian.
Need to buy specialist foods — no.
Restaurant friendly — no, you may have to order differently from everyone else.

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