As many of us have heard, Atkins Nutritionals Inc filed for bankruptcy on Aug 1, 2005. This is not about low carb diets failing - it is about a particular company failing.
Several news agencies have lept on this news to announce "the low carb craze is over". I find it incredibly amusing that those exact same news agencies are reporting - on the exact same page - that schools are working to cut out the cookies and candies, that kids are becoming obese because of the high volumes of soda they drink. Reports swarm in that people are looking to eat higher fiber breads and to take in more nutritious oils each day. Isn't this all exactly what the low carb diet plans have been telling people to do?
What really has happened hear is that most of the key instructions of low carb dieting have "mainstreamed" - they are now normal. A few years ago, if you went into a restaurant and told them you didn't want french fries, they would have thought you were crazy. If you'd told them you wanted broccoli instead of those fries they would have KNOWN you were crazy. It took the low carb diet movement to remind people how healthy vegetables are, and how insidious the soda, potato chip, french fry, high sugar lifestyle had become.
In modern times, I routinely ask for veggies as my side and the waitress brings it without a blink. My diet soda options have multiplied ten-fold, as have my diet waters. I can get pretty much any condiment without sugar. There are hundreds of choices for sugar-free candies. Low carb brought this to us.
Yes, Atkins is having money problems. That comes as no surprise to me. While their products have been high quality, they have been incredibly high priced, too. As other low carb product makers have come on the scene, we rarely if ever bought Atkin products any more. If you look at Atkins vitamins, for example, the ingredients are great. They give you very high quality vitamins -but they charge through the nose for it. You can search around and get bargain vitamins with the same ingredients for less. So we did.
Capitalism works because people buy what they can afford, choosing from products that meet their needs. It is a huge kudos to the low carb movement that there are now a great number of choices when it comes to sugar free syrup, sugar free candy, sugar free chocolate, even sugar free jello. None of those products existed a few years ago. It is thanks to Atkins, South Beach, etc. that people are finally becoming more healthy in what they eat.
If one sad result is that Atkins can no longer charge high prices, and has to realign themselves to create more budgeted products, I don't personally see that as a huge issue. I am simply happy to keep enjoying the wide variety of low carb, low sugar items out there in the world - and to continue to watch daily news reports that prove just how "normal" the low carb message is in today's world. If only the news reporters would wake up and realize the contradictions in some of the things they report. Some still believe the wildly incorrect notion that low carb dieting is about "no veggies, all fatty steak, all the time". It's time for all of us to understand that our joint mission is to eat more healthily, to eat until we're full (not stuffed), and to promote healthy products in the marketplace.
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books