A question we sometimes encounter in the Atkins Community is what is the difference between the original Atkins plan and the new Atkins plan. To tell you the truth, not much has changed. The original Atkins plan continues to be highly effective. In fact, thanks to this movement started by Dr. Atkins in 1972, nearly three out of four adults are actively managing their carb intake. What is different is the concept of Net Carbs, which Dr. Atkins introduced in Atkins for Life in 2002, the last book he worked on before he died. Since then, Net Carbs (where fiber grams are subtracted from total carbohydrate grams) has become an accepted part of the Atkins program. And in The New Atkins for a New You, we introduced the concept of Foundation Vegetables, with the recommendation that the majority of carbs in Induction come in the form of Foundation Vegetables (12 to 15 grams of Net Carbs a day).
Keeping abreast of the latest developments in clinical research as they occur and communicating that to you is important to us. When it comes to the introduction of Net Carbs and Foundation Vegetables, since fiber has been confirmed as having a minimal impact on blood sugar, there was no need to limit you to only 3 cups of vegetables. The vast majority of nutrition experts agree that the real challenge in the war against obesity is not weight loss, but maintenance of a healthy weight and a healthy way of eating. If eating more vegetables helps a lot of people comply better, helps avoid dehydration, helps avoid constipation and helps people feel fuller, there was no reason to keep an outdated recommendation.
Each new Atkins book, as in our newest book, Eat Right, Not Less, continues to build upon the content of our previous editions, so nothing in the earlier books is wrong or that much different. However, each new book addresses current concerns and updates the research behind Atkins. With Eat Right, Not Less, we have also made it easier to do Atkins, by including significantly greater detail on the phases beyond Induction, and the introduction of Atkins 40 and Atkins 100.
One other advancement over the years is Atkins products, which simply make it more convenient to follow a low carb lifestyle. There have been “rumors” that Atkins products interfere with weight loss, but we tested this theory in a study where participants consumed Atkins products with a side salad (to meet Foundation Vegetable requirements). And these participants lost weight and experienced the same health benefits just like anyone who follows a whole-food low carb diet.
However, when it comes to Atkins and embracing a low carb lifestyle, I am a firm believer that one size does not fit all, and you can make some adjustments depending on your taste, lifestyle, personal preferences and individual metabolism. All of that is fine as long as it does not interfere with the success of the program, where you achieve your weight loss goals, side effects are still minimized, blood results are all going in the right direction, your energy levels remain optimal and you’re able to stick with Atkins and maintain your results for life.