Is Atkins dead (again)?

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2004 Apr;14(2):61-5. doi: 10.1016/s0939-4753(04)80011-5.


Despite consistent epidemiological evidence that weight gain is linked to higher fat and lower carbohydrate consumption, supported by animal evidence and the inescapable truth that fat supplies 9 kcal/g compared to 3.75 kcal/g from carbohydrates, low-carbohydrate "Atkins" style diets are heavily promoted for obesity control. The randomised controlled trial evidence is very small. The totality of the evidence continues to show that low-carbohydrate diets are marginally disadvantageous for long-term health and for weight maintenance. People can lose weight equally well on low-carbohydrate ("Atkins-style") diets, and some groups of obese patients tend to lose a little more than on high-carbohydrate groups. This small difference (1-2 kg) may be explained by rapid loss of (glycogen-associated) body water, or by the influence of extraordinary media coverage leading to elevation of expectation and compliance with low-carbohydrate diets in the short term.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Patient Compliance
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats