How does it work?
The Atkins diet was developed initially in 1972 by Dr Robert Atkins, a US cardiologist. It was re-launched in 1992 and became a worldwide craze.
"At that time it was all about eating eggs and bacon and cream," says Karen. "But it has been refined since then."
However, Atkins is still a low carbohydrate diet. "In the first two weeks you cut out all carbs, even fruit," adds Karen. "The emphasis is on eating high protein and high fat. You can stay on that for up to six months or you can move onto phase two. In the second phase you gradually increase the amount and type of carbs and they tell you how to do that."
- People on the Atkins diet will lose weight very quickly up to three kilos a week.
- According to Karen you won't feel hungry because you're producing ketones, which act as an appetite suppressant.
- Some people find Atkins easy to follow, because by cutting out carbs they cut out all the cakes, biscuits, pastries, lollies, chocolate and ice-cream.
- Karen predicts not everyone will go the distance. "We might see a higher dropout rate on this one, probably in the first two weeks because people are on negligible carbs."
- Atkins has some unpleasant physical side effects. "Some people will feel quite lethargic, might be constipated, have bad breath and lack energy," says Karen.
- It's an American book so food might be harder to source.
"We could see some dramatic results in this group if they stick with it."
"It's best for people who have a lot of weight to lose and need fast weight loss for a motivating boost," says Inge. "But it is very strict."
(For induction phase)
- Eat no more than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day, at least 12-15g of which must come from salad greens and other vegetables.
- Eat liberally of combinations of fats and proteins such as poultry, shellfish, eggs and red meat as well as pure natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower and other vegetable oils.
- Eat absolutely no fruit, bread, pasta grains, starchy vegetables or dairy products other than cheese, cream or butter.
You'll find more information about the Atkins diet in Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution book, published by HarperCollins, RRP $22.95