Food Culture: Dieting - The Atkins Diet

In this new food series, we will explore what people regard as the top diets to undertake to lose that clinging holiday weight. Dieting seems not only to be seen as sensible but is now a fashionable thing to be known to do which has promoted a world of weird and wonderful ways to lose weight. There is much skepticism still amongst many people as to whether these diets actually work or whether they are simply ‘fads. Your doctor may tell you to have a varied diet and to do 30 minutes exercise everyday and he might not be wrong but we want to educate you on each of these diets so you can try to make your own informed decision.


Actually written by Dr. Robert Atkins back in 1972 with a series of books, Dr Atkins was one of the original methodologists behind the low carb diet. Throughout the 90’s the diet had a strong revival and experienced a short craze with the book being a best-selling and everyone appearing to be taking on the ‘Atkins challenge’.

While the main over arching theme of the diet is to reduce carbohydrate intake, there is four crucial ingredients within this category which Dr Atkins is trying to reduce, which include refined carbs, especially sugar, high fructose corn syrup and flour which are used in many of our daily meals. This means you can say goodbye to a lot of fruits, bread and biscuits.

So what can you eat? Well, to any meat eating male this is when we make the Atkins diet seem like the dream option. Steak, fry-ups they are all on the list! High protein and often high fat foods make up the bulk of the food you can eat and whilst this might seem a great thing, it can be limited to what you can eat and certainly add to a single plate.


The four stages of the diet:

Induction - 2 weeks

Calorie consumption from carbs limited to 20g a day - sources include salad and vegetables.

OWL (Ongoing Weight Loss) - 2 weeks

Nutrient dense and fibre rich foods added to carb sources increasing rate of 25g during first week, 30g the second. When your weight stops going down, reduce by another 5g.


Increase your carb intake by 10g each week until your weight loss is very gradual

Lifetime Maintanence

Start adding a wider variety of carb sources, while carefully monitoring your weight. As soon as it starts to go up, reduce the intake slight. Make sure you exercise as normal throughout.


It has been seen that many people who have taken on the diet have lost quite dramatic amounts of weight however like many diets, there are still quite a few critics who question how long the effects are of the Atkins diet last especially when you first return back to eating carbs. The scientific jury are still out on the good or bad the diet does for you body but they would say that the diet flies in the face of traditional healthy eating with typical increases in saturated fats and with the lack of choice, often a completely unbalance mix of foods.

Next week we will explore another fashionable diet of the moment.