Atkins advocated his diet for more than 30 years and stated that more than 60,000 patients treated at his center had used his diet as their primary protocol. However, he never published any study in which people who used his program were monitored over a period of several years. It would not have been difficult for him to compile simple data, but I have seen no evidence that did so.
Recent studies of up to two years have found that low-carbohydrate diets can produce modest weight loss and reduction in cardiac risk factors, which means that they are safer than previously thought. However, it has not yet been determined whether such diets are safe for long-term use or can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease.
The popularity of low-carbohydrate diets has encouraged food companies to market low-carbohydrate foods for people who want to “watch their carbs.” Most of these foods are much higher in fat than the foods they are designed to replace. I believe that “low-carb” advertising is encouraging both dieters and nondieters to eat high-fat foods, which is exactly the opposite of what medical and nutrition authorities have been urging for decades.
Following a low-carbohydrate diet under medical supervision may make sense for some people, but a population-wide increase in fat consumption would not.