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Atkins Diet

The classic low-carb diet, revamped with the Atkins 40 approach.

BACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

More than 40 years ago, Dr. Robert Atkins introduced his low-carb diet, now popularly known as the Atkins Diet. The Atkins Diet is credited with starting the low-carb revolution. Although the buzz about low-carb diets has fizzled some, and mostly replaced by the increasingly popular Paleo Diet, the Atkins Diet is still around and there is a legion of people who still follow it.

The Atkins Diet has recently received a much needed update, releasing in early 2015 as Atkins 40. The updated Atkins program is a research-supported eating plan that still features the low-carb, high-protein principles of the original Atkins Diet, but with more leniency, simplicity, and variety. It seems very similar to The New Atkins for a New You launch a few years ago, but is targeted to promote sustainability and prevent participants from falling off the bandwagon due to excessive restriction.

Atkins 40 is marketed as more sustainable and more empowering, and ideal for those with 40 or fewer pounds to lose. The goal is to eat delicious and healthy food, like a variety of lean protein, leafy greens and other vegetables, nuts, fruits, and whole grains. In addition, tips and suggestions are perfect for those with busy lifestyles ensuring you that you can stick with Atkins at work, at home, on vacation, or when you're eating out.

Atkins 40 no longer includes the four basic Atkins phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance. Previously, many traditional Atkins participants wouldn’t go past Induction or Ongoing Weight Loss which caused them to fall off track due to excessive restriction. Atkins 40 targets more of a lifestyle shift creating a plan that someone could eat and follow for their whole life: no stages, no excessive restriction.

  • Encourages eating a proper combination of foods
  • Large weight loss the first couple of weeks
  • Program is thoroughly covered on the web site
  • More sustainable format than previous Atkins programs
  • Encourages eating more vegetables
  • Allows frequent eating to reduce hunger
  • You decide when to start your fitness program
  • Carb counting tools
  • Program updates focus as much on maintenance as weight loss
  • New plan offers more leniency than previous Atkins plan
  • Atkins Community web site available for free
  • Many find it extremely difficult to cut out breads and grains
  • Promotes excessive consumption of dairy, processed sweeteners, and packaged snacks
  • High caloric restriction, high need for tracking and counting
  • May overeat or include too much of the wrong type of protein
  • Can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat
  • Still may be too restrictive to create true lifestyle change
  • Difficult for vegetarians or vegans to follow their principles

Unlike previous Atkins programs, there are no longer four phases to follow. This means there is only one “plan” and lifestyle to build and maintain through Atkins 40. Principles remain the same with a focus on high-protein, low-carb food choices.

Through the Atkins Community online, you can customize your own meal plan, with Atkins 40 allowing you to use the 40-net grams of carbs however you like. Based on your choices, Atkins will share a one-week meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks each day.

You don’t have to count any calories or carbs because all of that work is done for you. For exact measurements and recipes, simply click on the meal and you will be taken to the recipe for that meal.

You also have the chance to print out a grocery list for the week for your convenience. The total carb count for the day is shown at the bottom of each day’s meals. Below is an example meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Red Bell Pepper Rings Filled with Eggs and Mozzarella
  • Snack: Mushrooms Stuffed with Sausage and Mozzarella
  • Lunch: Spicy Meat Rolls
  • Snack: Atkins Day Break Creamy Chocolate Shake
  • Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Mixed Greens

Exercise is not a huge focus for the Atkins Diet. It is mentioned on the web site as a great way to maximize your chances of success. Exercise is a great complement for your nutrition plan and will help boost your energy. If you are not currently exercising, it is recommended that you wait a couple of weeks before starting an exercise regimen. Some of the exercises that are mentioned with the Atkins Diet include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics

Traditionally, Atkins was created for pre-diabetics or diabetics with over 40 pounds to lose, where it may have been impossible for them to start exercising right away. Atkins believes that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand, but that diet must come first and gentle exercise can be added later as a supplementary tool to build muscle and boost metabolism.


When you look at the Atkins Diet, there are some benefits as well as some drawbacks. It does help you lose weight quickly and it is important to notice that there are intense caloric restrictions involved, in addition to dramatic food choice changes. By reducing the amount of carbs you eat, you will be reducing blood sugar levels but you must also be careful that you don’t take in too much cholesterol or saturated fat, or an overabundance of processed snacks, dairy, sugar substitutes, and animal protein. Eliminating an entire food group such as carbohydrates may not work for everyone, but the diet does offer some benefits for those that can stick with it.

The online Atkins community may help to provide support when the guidelines seem too hard to maintain, and the addition of more on-the-go snack options may make it easier for those with a busy lifestyle looking to follow all Atkins principles. Hopefully the newer more lenient carbohydrate allowances will prevent excessive restriction and promote balance and sustainability for its followers.

Common Misspellings

Atkin Diet, AtkinsDiet, Aktins, Atkns, Atkins Deit, Akins Diet, Adkins Diet, Atkins Low Carb Diet, Dr. Atkins Diet, The Atkins Diet, Adkins Advantage, Atkins40, Atkins Forty

Related Diets: Atkins Advantage, South Beach Diet, South Beach Diet Supercharged, Low-Carb Diet, The Paleo Diet, The New Atkins for a New You, The Ketogenic Diet

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(Page 5 of 5, 85 total comments)


In 2003 Dr. Atkins slipped on some ice outside his office and the head injuries put him into a coma. He never recovered and died of kidney failure 2 weeks later. He was 72 years old.


The commentary is right on, well done! I love this diet and it works for me!


I've always thought it was ironic that he died of a heart attack, but at the same time people rave about the results. Atkins couldn't have been this successful for nothing- worth a shot!


I've kissed the bread goodbye and loving my new look.


I have a hard time following a diet of a Dr. who died so young, yet I know the atkins diet had a lot of followers - hmm, what do we think, favorable diet or no?


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