Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is The Atkins Diet Bad For You?

Also Known As: Atkins nutritional approach



Short answer

The Atkins Diet does not cause any severe negative health effects, but it is not very effective in helping users lose weight for an extended period of time.



Long answer

The Atkins Diet is a diet which advocates eating almost no carbohydrates and high amounts of protein and fat to facilitate rapid weight loss. This diet has gained increasing popularity since its creation in 1972 by Robert C. Atkins, a renowned cardiologist. Despite numerous celebrity spokespeople and success stories, there is no scientific evidence to support the Atkins diet is a safe method of weight loss. 

There are few health risks associated with the Atkins Diet. Those who have used it have reported mild side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and constipation. Some of these side effects are related to fiber deficiencies which tend to develop in those following very low-carb diets. The diet is also fairly restrictive of fruit, and some people develop deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals as a result. Furthermore, researchers are wary as to whether the Atkins Diet is successful in helping users lose weight and keep it off for any extended period of time. Many studies show that after a short period of time, the diuretic effects of the Atkins diet wear off, and no significant weight loss occurs. 

While the Atkins diet may not be as effective in the long run for weight loss, essentially any diet which helps overweight individuals lose weight helps reduce the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. There are also some studies which claim the type of diet advocated by Dr. Atkins may have cardiovascular benefits. These studies suggest that the diet lowers blood pressure and thereby reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

All in all, the Atkins diet may not be particularly harmful, but its long-term weight loss results are not promising. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, you're probably better off finding a diet that emphasizes healthy habits, exercise, and a balanced diet instead.

Possible short-term side effects

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • constipation
  • headache

Possible long-term side effects

  • fiber deficiency
  • vitamin deficiency

Big is the atkins diet bad for you 2


  • possible decreased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • possible decreased blood pressure and risk of heart disease
  • weight loss (not long-term)

Healthier alternatives

  • exercise and a well-balanced diet

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Written by Shaylie F | 01-28-2016

Written by Shaylie F
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