The famous Atkins diet has been in the public eye for over 40 years. But does the diet plan work? And are there any important Atkins statistics we should know about?   

The Atkins diet is just one of many variants of low carb diets that have gained popularity and taken the weight loss industry by storm over the years. This diet is one of the most well-known, having been devised in the 1960s and brought in and out of the spotlight by various celebrities who say they follow the Atkins diet plan. 

Over the years the Atkins diet has received much criticism from nutritional experts and other healthcare professionals with regards to its safety. Atkins restricts certain foods and even eliminates whole food groups from your diet during some phases, which can have detrimental effects on your health. 

In this article, we delve into the risks and benefits of the Atkins diet, as well as revealing some of the latest Atkins diet statistics and answering frequently asked questions such as ‘How many carbs can you eat a day on Atkins?’ and ‘What can I eat on the Atkins diet?’. 

Atkins Diet Statistics 2020

In this section, we take a look at some of the latest Atkins diet statistics to find out how popular this diet really is, how many people have tried Atkins and what times of year people are most interested in the diet. 

When did the Atkins diet originate?

The Atkins diet plan was devised by Dr. Robert C. Atkins in 1963 when he found studies that showed that low carb diets could promote weight loss without leaving the dieter feeling as hungry as they would on a low-calorie diet. He tested this theory on both himself and 65 executives, all of whom lost a significant amount of weight. 

In 1972, Dr. Atkins published the book ‘Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution’ to explain the diet in full. The book’s release kick-started various investigations and debate surrounding which diet type is best: low carb or low fat

This debate has since continued and the diet has sparked much controversy within the medical industry, particularly since its rise in popularity in the early 2000s. 

How popular is the Atkins diet? 

  • 23,500 online searches a month are made for ‘Atkins diet’ in the UK.   
  • Searches for ‘Atkins diet’ tend to peak in January of every year. As you can see from the search volume chart below, interest in this search term peaks just after New Year, which could be an indication that Atkins is one of the many weight loss related New Year's Resolutions made in the UK each year. 

Atkins diet searches

  • In 2003 when the Atkins diet was at its peak, a poll was carried out to discover just how many people in the UK have tried the diet. The results found that approximately 3 million people have tried the Atkins plan (10% of women and 7% of men). 

What is the Atkins Diet? 

The Atkins diet plan has changed somewhat over the last few decades, but the premise of the diet has remained the same; it restricts carbohydrates and promotes the consumption of fat and protein

There are various differences between the Original Atkins diet (devised by Dr. Atkins), and the more recent versions of the diet plan. For instance, there are now 3 different variations of the Atkins diet plan you can choose from when starting the diet, whereas when Atkins was introduced it was based on more of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. Dieters can now choose between Atkins 20, 40 and 100 depending on their current weight and goals.

Atkins 20 is recommended for those who are diabetic or want to lose 40 pounds or more, Atkins 40 is for those who aim to lose less than 40 pounds and Atkins 100 for people who want to maintain their current weight.  

Another key difference between the original Atkins plan and the most recent adaptation is the number of carbs allowed in phase 1 of the diet. In the original Atkins model, dieters had to restrict their intake dramatically down to less than 5g of net carbohydrates a day. Now, during phase 1 of the diet, you may eat up to 20 or 40 grams of net carbs per day

How does the Atkins diet work? 

One of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this diet is ‘How many carbs can you eat per day on Atkins?’. In this section, we explain what kind of macro ratios you should be aiming for on the Atkins diet. 

If you choose either of the Atkins 20 or Atkins 40 plans, you will follow the following 4 phases: 

Phase 1: Induction

The first phase of the diet is the most strict, and the part that a lot of people find the hardest. During this phase, you should limit your carb intake to less than 20g or 40g a day depending on the plan you choose to follow. In this phase your daily macro breakdown should be as follows: 

  • Protein: Three servings of 4 - 6oz portions of protein a day 
  • Healthy Fats: Three servings of added healthy fats per day
  • Carbohydrates: 
    • Atkins 20: Most carbs should come from vegetables and some should come from dairy products that are high in fat and low in carbohydrates
    • Atkins 40: Approximately a third of carbs should come from vegetables, with the remaining allowance coming from fruits, nuts, and whole grains

Phase 2: Balancing 

The second stage of the Atkins diet consists of gradually adding carbohydrates back into your diet. If you’re on the Atkins 20 diet, you should increase your net carbs in 5g increments starting with lower carb foods and gradually progressing onto those with higher carbohydrate values. This will allow you to work out how many carbs you can eat while still losing weight. If you’re on the Atkins 40 diet, you should add 10g of net carbs when you’re 10 pounds away from your target weight. The official Atkins website says that you can add in 10g of net carbs each week as long as you continue to lose weight. 

Phase 3: Fine-tuning 

At the end of phase 2, as you approach your goal weight, it’s likely that your weight loss will slow down. At this point, it’s recommended that you tweak your nutritional intake to help you to stop at your target weight. 

Phase 4: Maintenance 

The final stage of the Atkins diet plan is learning about how to maintain your goal weight for the rest of your life. For those on the Atkins 20 diet, this involves progressively reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet using the Atkins Carb Ladder. If you’re on the Atkins 40 diet, all food groups on the accepted food lists can be eaten at this stage.  

Does Atkins work for weight loss? 

The Atkins diet has been shown to help you lose weight when the plan is fully adhered to. However, this is often easier said than done, as Atkins encourages you to cut out and restrict a wide variety of filling and nutritious foods, as well as those deemed unhealthy. This can be a real challenge for dieters and can often mean that they are not able to maintain the diet plan for long periods of time, meaning that even if you lose a lot of weight on this plan, it may be very easy to gain the weight back quickly if you stop the diet. 

Is the Atkins diet safe? 

As we mentioned earlier, much controversy has surrounded this diet over previous years. The diet has received much criticism for promoting the consumption of saturated fats, particularly those from fatty meats and full-fat dairy products. Experts also suggest that the first phase of this diet can result in dieters not getting enough calcium, vitamin D and fiber, which poses a variety of health risks. 

If you’ve tried diets in the past and have struggled to stick to them, not enjoyed them or not seen the results you wanted, then weight loss medication may be a better alternative for you. The regulated online pharmacy Doctor 4 U offers a wide variety of MHRA approved weight loss medications that are prescribed by a team of specialist online doctors who can help you to achieve your weight loss goals. For more information about these options, head to the Doctor 4 U website and chat with a member of the team. 

Before starting any new diet, particularly one that restricts or cuts out food groups, you should contact your doctor for advice. We hope this article has been useful in providing you with the most up-to-date Atkins diet statistics of 2020.