Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is the Atkin's diet just a fad diet?"

ZocdocAnswersIs the Atkin's diet just a fad diet?


Didn't the guy who made it up die? Is it safe to try?


The inventor of the Atkin's diet is deceased, but the cause of death was an accident and was unrelated to the diet. Nevertheless the Atkin's diet is a fad diet and, like most other fad diets, it is not a good way to achieve a healthy weight long term. The Atkin's diet's basic principle is to increase the amount of fat and protein in the diet and eliminate carbohydrates as a path to weight loss. This illustrates the main problem of fad diets, which is that the replace one set of unhealthy eating habits with another (in this case, whatever your current eating habits are with an extreme "no carbohydrate" diet). Therefore, fad diets are not helping you learn how to create balanced, nourishing meals that you can eat for the rest of your life. Most people who use fad diets lose some weight quickly initially but then gain it back because they are unable to sustain the diet long term. The high protein diet also may pose certain medical risks to certain people. It results in high levels of a chemical called ketones in the blood. This may be very dangerous to people who have liver or kidney problems.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.