Atkins Diet Pros and Cons

Atkins diet pros and cons
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The Atkins diet plan has gone through many changes over the years. The strict eating plan has many unique factors that you should consider before you attempt to follow it. Atkins provides several benefits that may make it the perfect diet for some. But the drawbacks might rule it out for others. If you're considering using this diet to lose weight for good, be sure that you evaluate all of Atkins pros and cons before you start the diet.


The Atkins diet works for people who prefer a structured eating plan. These are some reasons that Atkins might work for you:

  • Hearty eating plan. Some people like the fact that you can eat more food on the Atkins diet plan. For example, many men prefer this diet because hearty foods like steaks and burgers can stay on your menu.
  • Learn to eat healthy carbs. The Atkins diet eliminates refined carbohydrates such as baked goods like cake and white bread and encourages your intake of healthy carbohydrates, especially in the later stages of the plan. So you learn the difference between good carbs and bad carbs.
  • No calorie counting. Hate to count calories? Then this is the diet for you. You count net carbs to lose weight, but you don't have to worry about calories. In addition, you are able to find your ideal carbohydrate intake level while following this plan.
  • Significant weight loss. Many people have lost a lot of weight on this plan. Some Atkins dieters lose 80 pounds or more on the plan. During the earliest stage of the diet, called induction, rapid weight loss is common. This early weight loss can provide a boost of confidence and motivation.
  • Improved health. Despite the diet's higher fat content, some Atkins dieters see improvements in their cholesterol levels. In addition, you're likely to reduce your sugar intake on this plan which may lead to improvements in your health.
  • Manufactured foods available. If you don't like to prepare your own food all the time, Atkins snack bars and other meal replacements are conveniently available in many markets and discount stores.
  • Atkins resources are widely available. You'll find most of what you need to follow the Atkins plan online. Food lists and other guides are provided on their website. You'll also find Atkins books and guides in bookstores and online.

Atkins Diet Cons

While some dieters enjoy the diet's benefits, others struggle to stick to Atkins' strict eating plan. These cons may work against you if you start the Atkins diet.

  • Decreased energy. The diet does not provide a lot of energy in the form of carbohydrate. In fact, if you are a typical American eater before you start the diet, you'll significantly decrease your intake of carbs. For many dieters, this causes fatigue.
  • Reduced fruit and grain intake. If you're a dieter who loves fruit, you might struggle on the Atkins plan. Eventually, you can add fruits and grains into your diet, but in the early stages of the diet, your intake is limited.
  • Too strict for many dieters. Low-carb diets such as Atkins can be hard to follow because they require you to make too many changes from the start. Those dieters may enjoy an eating plan that starts with small changes.
  • Separation from common foods. Going low carb on the Atkins plan means avoiding many common and popular foods, like chips, bread, and pasta. You're likely to be surrounded by these foods during induction and it may make the plan harder to follow.
  • Possible food binges. Some diets backfire when they are too strict. In some cases, the restriction leads to food binges, guilt, and weight gain.
  • Discomfort. There are some Atkins dieters who have experienced constipation, halitosis, and sometimes, dehydration as a result of the dietary changes in the eating plan.
  • Counting net carbs can be tedious. You don't count calories, but for some dieters, counting net carbs is just as complicated and tedious, particularly when you eat out.
  • Possible weight regain. Those who return to eating carbs again usually regain all of the weight they lost during the diet, and maybe even more.

A Word From Verywell

The Atkins diet works for many dieters. But not for everyone. These Atkin diet pros and cons should help you decide if the plan is right for you. Compare it to other popular diet plans, like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, The South Beach Diet, and Nutrisystem to see how different plans might work in your life. But remember that you don't have to pay for a plan to lose weight. You can cut portion size or count calories on your own to slim down. If you're not sure about the best plan for you, talk to a registered dietitian or your health care provider for guidance.

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