The New New Atkins Diet

By Jim F

new atkins diet

The Atkins Diet is legendary. It is one of the few diets that caused a kind of mass hysteria. Food manufacturers lined up to bring new lines of low-carb food, and everyone was talking about Atkins.

Dr Robert Atkins passed away in 2003, and since then the super-fad of Atkins has slowly ebbed away. This hasn’t stopped numerous versions of the Atkins diet appearing on the shelves.

Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution was published in 2002. The All-New Atkins Advantage appeared in late 2007.

In between these dates a myriad of variations on the low-carb theme have appeared.

New Atkins for a New You

Finally, we have The New Atkins for A New You by Dr Eric Westman.

While it seems odd to keep calling the same diet “new” — it demonstrates that nutrition is a field that is constantly changing as new research comes to hand.

What’s so “New” About It”

atkins-pyramidOne of the biggest criticisms of the original was the allowance of large amounts of saturated fats.

People were losing weight, but many had out of control blood lipid levels in the process.

Healthy Fats

The new atkins diet still promotes eating a high percentage of fats in the diet to promote ketosis, but it now stresses the importance of eating healthy fats.

Saturated fat isn’t cut out completely, but “Atkinites” are instructed to consume fats like olive oil, omega 3 rich oils, while to avoid trans fat.

Exercise

Exercise guidelines have also changed a bit. In the past many dieters complained about being weak and light headed during exercise while on Atkins.

Now dieters are instructed to increase their daily net carb intake as their exercise levels increase to avoid potential undesired symptoms.

The latest Atkins revision includes information from over 80 references that make up the body of research undertaken in the field of low-carbohydrate diets.

Criticisms

While the new Atkins diet seems like a healthier approach to low carb dieting it still has some drawbacks.

I think the biggest is the addition and promotion of their huge line of processed food products with everything from frozen meals and snack bars to desserts.

Notice that their pyramid doesn’t show a single processed product, but their website and retails stores are full of Atkins Advantage products.

I understand that they are trying to make money, but there seems to be a bit of a double standard.

Low carb diets will always have their place, and there is ample evidence to show that a restricted carbohydrate approach leads to weight loss.

However, it seems that (like many restrictive diets) the fall-off rate is high. It’s hard to stick to, and long-term results are varied.

60 Comments

  1. este si que me gusta

    Thanks for some other fantastic article. Where else may anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal method of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such info.

    Reply
  2. Gary

    The energy component of calories are carbs. Calories on a low carb diet barely count unless your constantly eating in excess of 5,000+ calories a day.

    Reply
  3. Bournemouth UK

    in the end the question we should be asking is; what drives people to go on a diet that is strict and requires a certain amount of discipline or even diet at all. Most people who want to loose weight will do so not because they have been told to by a doctor but will do so because society has made them feel they are inadequate in who they are, simply put they have low self esteem, a secondary factor may well be wanting to feel healthy but deep down most people who want to diet, want to do so to look better in the eyes of their peers, so instead of concentrating on what diet is best, maybe we should concentrate on trying to improve peoples self esteem and when they feel happy, the weight loss will follow as many people will try to diet and fail resulting in lower self esteem and subsequent failure when trying to diet in the future. (please note, I am not saying this is so for every single person out there but a vast majority)

    Reply
  4. Ryan

    On what basis do you say they are the worst? Also, to keep this conversation focused, let’s not confuse palm oil and palm kernel oil.

    Reply
  5. User

    I recommend a South Beach diet, basically a low-fat Atkins which is heart friendly.

    Reply
  6. User

    “Avoid plant-based oils except coconut or palm kernel. Use grass-fed animal fat if you can get/afford it” – is that a joke? Coconut and palm oil is the worst possible oils one can use.

    Reply
    • Sara

      while I can agree about palm kernnel oils being not a very good health choice, I’d have to correct you on coconut oil, perhaps if you researched you’d discover contrary evidence based info. Coconut oil is one of the best sources of saturated fats we can get, it has many uses both internally, topically and has incredible health benefits

      Reply
  7. guess again

    High protein/lower carb intake has not been shown to cause diabetes or raise cholesterol, in fact, it is the opposite. People who eat high carb diets can lower their triglycerides and ldl and raise their hdl (good cholesterol) by decreasing their carbs. As far as the diabetes goes, protein actually stabilizes blood sugar which means less work on the pancreas. If you examine any “metabolic syndrome” or “pre-diabetic” patient you will find their meals consist of low proteins and high simple carbs.

    Reply
  8. Openminded

    Ignorance is what causes people to believe that the Atkins diet isn’t well balanced. It contains whole grains, good fats, and except for the first two weeks, every single food group… what about this isn’t well balanced?
    Just because your balance is toward carbs doesn’t make it my balance- try to keep an open mind please.

    Reply
  9. JB Healthy

    I work as a Health Coach and in all my years, not a single client of mine has counted a calorie. Looking at foods just as calories is a very mechanical way to understand nutrition and it’s not very accurate. The quality of food and how food is balanced is what’s paramount; likewise so is understanding thyroid and digestive health.

    Reply
  10. JB Healthy

    Ryan, I suggest reading Annemarie Colbin’s book Food and Healing. It has some anti-animal product bias (which is why I gave it 4 stars out of 5), but all in all it’s a good read. Colbin goes over acid/alkaline, expansive/contractive, and the Chinese 5-phase theory.

    Reply
  11. JB Healthy

    Studies have shown that it’s much better to consume full-fat products than their reduced fat alternatives. When the body consumes reduced fat products, it then craves the missing fat that it expects to be there. Studies have shown the same thing with diet products using aspartame and splenda.

    Reply
  12. Ryan

    Carbs are not essential to our diet. Useful, perhaps, but you can survive perfectly well without them. Plus, Atkins only suggested severe restriction of carbohydrates for the few people out there whose metabolisms had been very severely damaged. Your approach is pretty much exactly what he recommended for most people.

    Reply
  13. Jessica

    Well, I personally don’t agree with the Atkins diet. Carbs are essential to our diet. What we should be cutting back on is sugar, bad fats/processed foods. We need to eat what God has given us. This is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

    Reply
  14. Ryan

    Show us this overwhelming evidence. There was a 20-year study comparing a “low-carb” diet against a “normal” diet and the low-carb diet came out just fine, perhaps even better, but I’d have to find the study again.

    The acid-alkaline thing is mostly considered to be BS, but if you can show me proof of it, I’d like to see it. I’ve seen the case for protein leeching calcium from bones, but the evidence was more a starting point for real research than actual proof. I don’t exactly support high-protein diets either, in case you’re wondering. Protein may not leech calcium, but it does leech retinol (Vitamin A).

    The case for saturated fat/cholesterol consumption causing heart disease has been destroyed. More accurately, there wasn’t any strong evidence for it in the first place, hence the name “Lipid Hypothesis“. I’m interested in your cancer/diabetes proof though.

    The Chinese diet varies greatly by region and social class. Also, the American diet has been shifting away from beef, butter, lard, etc but the disease rates are still climbing. In the early 1900s, each American was eating about 16 lbs of butter and 16 lbs of lard per year. Now, we eat about 5 lbs of butter and no lard. Heart disease is much higher now.

    Reply
  15. thpeppermntleaf

    The normal question people ask in reference to any form of Atkins diet, in other words a diet promoting the consumption of high-protein high fat foods while limiting carbohydrates, is will it help me to lose weight? However, I feel that the most important and often overlooked question actually is How will this type of diet effect my overall health? i.e. Is this a harmful diet?

    In regards to the Atkins diet, I believe that there is an OVERWHELMING amount of evidence that this diet, although it may help with short term weight loss, has serious effects on long term health.

    High protein diets leach many nutrients from your body, including calcium. (To read more about this, look up information on alkaline ash and acid ash- animal protein usually has an ACIDIC effect on the body). In addition, if you are consuming a high protein diet based primarily on animal based foods, you are probably consuming around 30%total calories in fat, as well as a LOT of cholesterol. This type of diet is proven to cause many diseases including heart disease, forms of cancer, and promote diabetes.

    Have you ever wondered why Americans, who consume an overwhelming of protein and fat when compared to countries such as China, have disease rates from 1-200 times greater than other areas of the world! And while you may believe that this is due to genetics, there have been many dietary intervention programs which have completely reversed the progression of disease (for example heart disease) by implementing a plant-based, whole foods diet,~~ and there is much evidence that this type of diet is also the best for long term, healthy weight loss.

    Reply
  16. Ryan

    Ok, first off, are we talking about fructose found in HFCS or modern agave products or the fructose found in fruit or honey? These are of different chemical structure, and it’s an important difference.

    Reply
  17. Ryan

    I don’t think ketosis is necessary either.

    Reply
  18. Ryan

    You’ve misunderstood me, Mike. I actually bake sourdough spelt bread as my staple in my diet. Sourdough fermentation destroys the toxins in grains. Carbohydrates don’t necessarily cause endocrine disruption.

    Once leptin resistance has set in, insulin resistance follows and then carbohydrate restriction becomes helpful. But, otherwise, certain carbohydrates are just fine.

    Reply
  19. Mike Howard

    With respect Ryan, HUMAN data paints a different picture. What’s missing in most of these debates is context. Fear is a bestseller and people have created a fear of sugar and carbs the same way a fear of fat was foist on us in the 80’s.

    If you review the literature on fructose, you’ll see that its consumption is only problematic in 1) unrealistically high doses and 2) in a caloric surplus.

    Reply