The company that drove the low-carb craze may be getting a taste of its own medicine.
Atkins Nutritionals Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday. But the popularity of the diet, which eschews bread products, had set off a consumer trend that has been blamed for the bankruptcies of pasta companies and bakeries.
Instead of carbs, people on the Atkins diet are supposed to eat eggs, bacon, and other fatty, high-protein foods. They do lose weight, says Maryland dietitian Noralyn Mills, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. For that reason, she says dietitians sometimes recommend the diet for people who are morbidly obese and need to lose weight faster than would usually be considered safe. (Safe weight loss, she says, goes at the rate of a pound or two a week.)
But the Atkins diet isn't for everyone, Mills says. Avoiding carbs means missing out on nutrients found in whole grains.
"You're talking about folates, B vitamins, significant levels of fiber," she says. Mills recommends eating from all the food groups, since all contribute some vitamins and minerals to the diet. Some doctors worry that the diet may even promote heart disease.
Anyway, the basic advice for weight loss remains the same: Eat fewer calories and get more exercise. The Food and Drug Administration gives suggestions on weight loss.