Blog: Atkins hits the headlines...again

Catherine Sleep | 24 March 2005

Never far from the public eye, the Atkins diet was back in the news this week. In the UK, there have been press reports claiming that the UK unit of Atkins Nutritionals is taking steps to enter administration after being hit by disappointing sales of its low-carb diet products. The low-carb craze has certainly not taken off quite as dramatically here in the UK as it did in the US, but more than three million Brits are thought to have tried the diet. After the news about Atkins’ UK problems emerged, Retail Brands, UK licence owner of low-carb brand Carbolite, was quick to reassure that the UK market for low-carb foods remains strong.

Meanwhile in the US, Atkins Nutritionals is apparently adjusting its labelling to take advantage of the popularity of the glycemic index (GI), an approach to dieting that ranks carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have low glycemic indexes. Eating foods with a low GI results in a smaller rise in blood glucose levels after meals. The GI diet is seen by many as a more nutritionally balanced approach to low-carb eating than the Atkins diet.

And now, Atkins is altering its labelling to show a “net Atkins count” rather than its traditional “net carbs” measurement. According to Reuters, the company says the new method of rating foods more accurately measures a person’s blood sugar response to foods and is more precise than the net carbs method.

The GI diet approach is currently taking Europe by storm, with UK retail giant Tesco taking the unprecedented step of introducing its own GI guide and relabelling some of its products to show their GI value.

Although GI is still relatively new to the public consciousness, by 2010 it is predicted that 66% of US consumers and 75% of UK consumers will be aware of GI and its relation to blood sugar levels and weight management. This is according to just-food.com’s latest research report, a review of the global GI diet industry, with useful forecasts to 2010.

Find out more about this new report


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