Is Atkins Diet Fazing Out?

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

August 1, 2005

The company that started the low-carb craze is going through financial trouble. Atkins Nutritionals Inc. seems to be slimming down, as more people move away from low-carb diets.

"I was looking for a quick way to lose the weight," said former Atkins dieter, Mark Savage.

Savage was on Atkins for about 2 1/2 years. During the first 3 months, he shed about 25 pounds. However, he never dropped anymore weight and eventually started inching back up in size. Somewhat frustrated, Savage decided to ditch the low-carb diet.

"It grows tiresome over time. The limited diet that you're allowed. Cheese, bacon and steaks are good for a while, but there can be too much of a good thing," said Savage.

It seems that more people are doing the same. Atkins Nutritionals Inc., founded by the late Dr. Robert Atkins, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. According to court documents, the company lost 340 million dollars in 2004. Some experts believe it was just a matter of time.

"Dr. Atkins' diet kind of took a life of its own over the past few years but I think it's like many of the fad diets--they come and they go," said nutritionist at Martha Jefferson Hospital, Rita Smith.

In 2004, consumers had their pick of over 1,000 low-carb foods. Now, less than half of those are still on the shelves. Smith believes more people may be catching on to the fact that it takes more than just cutting out carbs to lose unwanted weight.

"[I think] for a short time it was okay to follow that, maybe for several weeks and even a few months, but I think long term, those starches need to be back into the diet," she said.

Even though Savage did opt for other eating habits, he is somewhat surprised at the bankruptcy filing. "It was so popular just a few years ago... I guess all fads pass."

Atkins Nutritionals says they are working out a new payment structure with their lenders and its day-to-day operations should not be affected.

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