The UK operation of the company behind the Atkins diet is about to close, according to the BBC.

Administrators are expected to be appointed after Atkins Nutritionals UK, which sells diet products, was hit by disappointing sales, the broadcaster said in a report on its website.

More than three million Britons are thought to have tried the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. No-one was available for comment at Atkins' head office in Slough, Berks, the BBC said.

Jeremy Willmont, of chartered accountants Moore Stephens, is expected to be appointed administrator. "Atkins Nutritionals UK are taking steps to place the company into liquidation," he said. "They are in the process of making an approach to the High Court for an administrator to be appointed."

The decision to close Atkins Nutritionals UK could leave manufacturers of its products being owed huge sums for unpaid bills. One company which dealt with marketing for Atkins Nutritionals UK said it was owed £150,000 for work it had carried out, the BBC said.

"The trouble was they tried to grow too quickly but their sales never reached the levels they expected and competitors have done a much better job," a member of staff said.

"Product sales have been bad for some time but they had been putting a bit of a spin on it."