The truth about... the Atkins Diet

Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution has been one of the biggest selling diet books in history, and it's easy to see why: its rules state you can and should eat as much meat, cream, butter and cheese as you like and you'll still lose weight! But does it really work? And how?

The Atkins diet

The theory

Developed in the Seventies by Dr Robert Atkins, the controversial Atkins diet advocates limiting carbohydrates and sugars and filling up on pure protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and pure fats such as olive oil, butter and mayonnaise. In the first stage of the diet, the body is forced into a fasting state called "ketosis" and burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates, resulting in rapid weight loss.

The upside

You get to have eggs and bacon for breakfast and steak fried in butter for dinner making Atkins one of the few diets that most men fancy, as it doesn't really feel like a diet.

The downside: It's very difficult to stick to. Many dieters find themselves craving bread and steaming bowls of pasta within days of starting it. Breakfast can get particularly nauseating after your umpteenth omelette. The Atkins diet takes rigorous planning, can be very expensive and doesn't allow you any alcohol!

So does it work?

Compared to a standard low-fat diet, you see super-fast results which is very motivating. But once you come off the diet, the pounds pile back on just as quickly. Can you really say "no" to French bread forever?