Atkins Diet: Most Weight Loss

By Jim F


A randomized trial has compared Atkins, Zone Diet, Ornish, and LEARN. Over a period of 12 months weight loss on Atkins was significantly greater than the other three diets. Those using Atkins also “experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects”.This study has hit all media outlets like a storm. To those who currently follow the Atkins diet it will come as no surprise. Those who have completely bagged Atkins will be forced to do some soul-searching and/or a very critical analysis of the trial (see abstract here).

The sad thing is, that on this trial – the average weight loss over a year was just 2.8kg (6lbs.) Even on Atkins, the mean weight loss was just 10.3 pounds.

For me, the take home message is this: If Atkins works for you and your lifestyle – then you can quite happily ignore all the nay-sayers and people who are telling you you are about to have a heart attack. To all others – pursue what works for you.

The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.

History and controversy surrounding the Atkins Diet

Low-carb diets have grown in popularity since 1972 when Dr. Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, a new approach to weight-loss advocating consuming foods high in saturated fat, which is in direct opposition to the traditional diet norm of minimizing fat intake.

While initially viewed as a radical and dangerous weight-loss plan, in recent years the American Heart Association has acknowledged that low-carbohydrate diets offer some benefit for treating conditions like metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions known to lead to heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure.

However, shortly after Dr. Atkins died in 2003, reportedly from head injuries he sustained when falling outside his New York clinic, a medical examiners report revealed Dr. Atkins suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure prior to his death. This has led to continued speculation of the health benefits of a diet so heavy in saturated fats.


  1. erin

    I have 3 days under my belt and I don’t feel like anything is happening. I hear about feeling bad and sick so maybe I am not doing this right. I am following induction to the tee but I am drinking 2 diet pepsi’s a day. they are sugar free, aspartame free and carb free. is this bad that I am drinking these? I keep hearing about getting sick and dizzy and I’m not at all. what I am I doing wrong?

    • Ted

      Anytime you start a new diet regimen it can take a few days for your body to respond. Not everyone experiences the symptoms. Did you eat a lot of sugar/carbs prior?

  2. Dave

    I’ve only lost 5 lbs in 10 days, but time will tell how well this works.
    Even if I lose nothing more, as long as my triglycerides drop (from 348) is all that counts.
    By the way, to those who imply Dr Atkins died from his own diet, none of us really knows if he personally was sticking to his diet…

    • Sam

      Hey man, average safe weight loss is 2 pounds a week. 5 pounds in 10 days is not slow. As with all diets, consistency and sustainability will be the deciding factors for success.

  3. mandy

    Hi everyone I’m at day 4 and now feel amazing but on day 2 I was ready for quitting! I was being sick, running the toilet, headaches, dizziness, shaky, struggling to speak correctly and at one point I was convinced i was goning to die!! Now I feel great, no hunger, lots of energy and at day 4 I’ve lost 8lbs!!! Im 5’5 and now weigh 11st! You do get over the hellish start! x

  4. Courtney J

    how long did it take you to lose the 50 pounds

  5. Dalia

    WOW!! That was the comment I was looking for. I’m definitely trying it now. I joined the gym a few months ago, even had a personal trainer, but did not lose any weight. My numbers improved, but no weightloss. I love food so the thought of having restrictions is difficult. I think I could do good on Atkins

  6. Kristen

    Also, I stick to 30-35 net carbs daily on Atkins. Some weeks pounds will come off and other weeks I lose nothing even though I’m eating the same.

    New Atkins dieters: Let your body lose when it wants to lose and stall when it wants to stall. Your body is not like a bank account where you can just do a withdrawal. If you stick to it, the weight will come off.

  7. Kristen

    I have lost 43 lbs and I’ve been on the Atkins diet for almost 10 months. I am totally happy with this weight loss, which means that this year, 2011, I will reach my goal weight! I’ve been on so many diets and now that I found what works for ME I am totally faithful to this diet.

    I’ve given up diet soda and coffee by choice because the diet gives me plenty of energy. The biggest key for me on the Atkins diet is to find substitutes for your favorite foods. I buy low-carb ice cream bars when I’m craving ice cream. I buy sugar free gelatin, sugar free whipped cream, low-carb chocolate chips, low carb pita bread and tortillas, or whatever it is I need to get me through my cravings. I still eat plenty of meat, eggs, cheese, veggies, and some fruits.

    I take a chewable multi-vitamin everyday plus Vitamin D3, B-12, calcium citrate, and a baby aspirin every day.

    Before Atkins I had high blood pressure and GERD. Now those are cured.

    This is probably my third or fourth time attempting Atkins, and it is harder to lose the weight when you diet cycle, but this time I’m totally committed and I tell everyone I know how this has changed my life.

    I stumbled upon this page when looking for “average” one year weight loss on Atkins. I have heard of people losing over 100 lbs and felt almost bad that I’ll lose only maybe 50 lbs in my first year, but it doesn’t matter.. the point is I’m losing and getting healthier every day.

  8. lola

    Yeah, im on my 16th day, lost 2 inches off my waiste, any ways you have to set short term goals, for example, my first goal was the first 3 days, then after i accomplished that my goal was four days to make it one week, my next goal was to do it for another week. Now i just began my third and i feel great, i cant wait to reach my goal!

  9. burner

    I lost 60 lbs in 6 months last time I did Atkins around ten years ago . I started again 2 weeks ago and have lost 0 lbs on induction phase . I think this diet is much more difficult the older you get .

  10. Raven

    I am on day 3 does it get easier as you go along

  11. Charles

    I have heard that if you you are on the Atkins Diet for a couple of weeks and then eat a high carb meal, that all of the weight that you have lost will literally come back over night, plus even more weight.
    Is this true?

    • Sam

      My guess here is that the original weight lost was actually just water weight. I would think that if you burnt pure fat, and not just water that you wouldn’t gain it all back overnight, since roughly 3500 calories equals a pound of fat.

  12. Ale Adams

    I admit to being a carboholic. Mostly because I’m a cook/baker. I’ve been into kickboxing and such since the birth of my son (and lost 130lbs mind you! Putting me at 145 at 5’7), but recently I’m suffering from a tear in my abdominal walls, so I can’t exercise ANYTHING like I used to, which means I can’t eat like I did either. After saying I’ll never diet again, here I am with no choice but to diet to keep that weight off (cause I can only walk now). I guess you can say my question is, once I have surgery and heal, and i’m off atkin’s is it written in stone I’ll gain my weight back? Even if I go back to my “carbs in moderation, lots of veggies meat here or there (not so carnivorous)” normal diet? Lemme know please. Because if that’s the case, my eating habits weren’t so bad to begin with, I’ll lose the weight later then to deny myself of the foods and beverages I DO love.

  13. Style 85

    I also would like to know where I can find the Eco Atkins diet plan. Is it written out anywhere? Is there a book I can buy?

  14. amanda

    UPDATE! I would like to share with you that in the past 2 1/2 weeks that I have been on this diet I have lost 15 lbs and I feel wonderful. I have to admit that I have been exercising, too, which was never in my vocabulary. I get up in the morning and speed walk around the park, then I turn on the fitness channel and try to do whatever is on at that moment. I love it and I feel like I am taking control of my health in a way I haven’t done since I was 15. Now I am looking forward to buying a treadmill and a bike so I can exercise in ways that I enjoy. Wish me luck!

  15. amanda

    I just started the Atkins diet about a week ago and I can already tell a difference. I need to lose about 70 lbs and when my parents were on this plan they did extremely well so I decided to try it. I can already look in the mirror and tell the difference in my waste and my face. My cheeks are thinning out and my waste is narrowing. Not to mention my post-baby jiggly belly is getting smaller. I feel like I have so much more energy, I am sleeping more soundly at night, and I am in a much better mood. Anyone can discount this as me convincing myself that I am getting thinner, but when I put my favorite pair of jeans on I am quickly reassured that my mind is not playing tricks on me. I don’t feel bad about giving up the foods I usually eat, as a matter of fact when I think about the burgers and fries and pastas I remind myself that a lot of it is garbage that my body doesn’t need.
    I am proud of myself for sticking to it, and I have to give credit to the diet because it makes it easy for someone to know what they should eat and what they shouldn’t and you’re not stuck in the grocery store for hours reading boxes and counting on your fingers. Atkins makes a wonderful list that I go by and I plan out my meal for the day with no hassle. I am glad I thought of doing this because I feel with this diet and some exercise I can go a very long way. I am shooting to lose at least 20 lbs a month for the next four months! Wish me luck!

    • Rahul

      Lucks, Lucks, Lucks, Amanda! Glad to see your success and many others. I am sure you get to your target.

      I am very new to Atkins, but trying reducing my carb gradually instead of giving up straightaway! But, to me it all makes sense esp after reading Gary Taubes.

      I am also planning to run marathon and before my exhaustive session days coming up, I want to familiarize myself with the diet and also to lose extra kilos (At least 10).

  16. Donna

    I started doing Atkins again in Jan. ’09. I did Atkins back in ’04-’05 and lost about 62 lbs. Well, gained that all back and then some too:-( (boo hoo). Well, I am trying to do Atkins again. I have lost about 21 lbs thus far (as of Feb. 26th), but I haven’t lost a single lb. in the past 2-3 weeks probably. I haven’t changed anything about my diet either…definitely no cheating. Just haven’t been losing any more weight and it’s beginning to be frustrating for me. I was wondering if anyone on this website has had this experience and if so, I’d appreciate if if you could reply to me with some suggestions or tips. I would be so grateful because I need to lose about 80 more lbs to get back to where I was back in ’05. Any help you can offer would be great. I am not sure if I’m even eating my 20 grams of carbs daily so I’m wondering if that could be the problem or just what? I am in ketosis, I use the urine test strips, but the test strip doesn’t turn a deep purple…just dark pink or moderate signs of ketones. I really don’t know what else to do. I like this diet because I don’t get the hunger pains and don’t feel like I’m dieting because I get to eat good tasting food (just no carbs much) & I’m doing well with it but just not seeing the weight come off in the past 2-3 weeks. Seems to be stalled, really stalled and I need to jump start it again. If I only knew what my problem might be then I could work to correct it or try to make it better. Any experienced Atkins dieter might be able to help–at least that is what I was hoping for. Please help if you have any ideas that might work or has worked for you in the past. Thanks so much!

    • Rahul

      Hi Dona – You might want to reduce your carb further. No matter what, there are some carb in most of the veggies and/or fruits or any diary products (higher). Is it possible for you to live ONLY JUST on meat, eggs, fish and butter for a week and see how you go?

      Lucks and Wishes!

  17. Jr

    Where can I find more information on the eco-atkins diet?

  18. Aqu/Pis

    I need to lose the 15 pounds I gained in four months since going off Atkins. I started eating bread, pasta,cake etc… I lost 20 pounds prior on this diet,so I will tell you how I can lose this fat in 5 weeks. First of all get over your cravings. Second think about your goal weight. Third look at someone or a celebrity that you would want to look like and think about them eating junk food. I dont think they do! Fourth enjoy the feeling of having power over your taste buds. Fifth drink a gallon of water per day. sixth drink green tea w lemon .Seventh thing take yor measurements . Eighth know you can lose 3.5 pounds per week.Lastly ,junk food or over eating is not what our bodies needs. Think positive and don’t give up. I have three boys and I have all kinds of treats in the house so I know its tempting to eat treats just because their there. But I think about how big my butt got and I Wear my size 5 jeans that I cant button up to remind me daily that I gained 15 pounds. I hope my personal advice helps someone whos close to their ideal weight. I did gain 90 pounds with my twins and lost it all in five months doing all the above. I weigh 135 and my goal is 120.
    Later Aqu/Pis

  19. laura

    I am going to go on the “atkins” diet next month after my birthday. My dad would not approve however so i’m going to do it myself, i bought the book and it is very helpful. As i am at school, the walking i do each day will also help.
    I will eat string cheese + tomato or cucumber in the morning because its quick.
    At lunch i will have a green salad with peppers, sometimes with tuna or chicken.
    For dinner i shall be eating eggs in different ways each day, ie. Scrambled, poached, hardboiled, normal.
    I do not wish to stay on atkins for too long as i’m not too overweight. I am 5’9 and weigh 12 stone, 168 lbs.
    i want to get to 10stone/ 140lbs. Any useful tips, or an average of how long im going to have to stay on it?

  20. Nazir, (mozambique,Africa)

    Pse give me more details regarding your diet. U can email me directly on :

  21. mg

    you need to read a book called the hunger years it really put things into perspective for me and the industries attitudes to carbs and how they keep advertising how bad low fat diets are and how good carbs are, but carbs are addictive and the more you eat the more you want thus making you weigh more in the end, if the world stopped eating carbs then the food industry would lose money-big style!!
    then goes on to say that for years before carbs were even farmed we used to only eat veg and meat and we were find and lived to see old age, it also has facts like millers put more white flour into brown bread to make it addictive and mccain leave there fries for days to produce more sugar thus making them more addictive
    it really opens your eyes to the marketing world and how it makes sense to bad mouth the atkins diet as the marketing industry would lose out if we all got slim and didnt want carbs anymore and they pay people to bad mouth atkins so we dont follow it
    you can miss out the carbs and be healthy and you dont need to eat mounds of cheese of lakes of cream or fry your food in butter and fat but the atkins plan does make a lot of sense
    and a calorie from a carb is different to a calorie from meat and cheese it goes down a totally different tube in the body and the tube carrying the meat is longer and more complex this is why you stay fuller longer on meat and with carbs the tube is short and simple thus leaving you wanting more in 30mins time (making you fatter)
    sorry for the rant but the book is amazing its not even pro atkins its about one mans struggle with binging