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Atkins' Weight Loss Makeover

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Atkins, the low carb diet that peaked in popularity in the early half of this decade, is updating its image with a new campaign urging consumers to think beyond the diet's "bacon, eggs and cheese" stereotype.

The back-to-school push, via LeeReedy, Denver, which broke earlier this month, plays up the variety of meals-as opposed to individual foods-dieters can eat under the program, including ham and Swiss cheese frittata for breakfast, a luncheon special of French bistro salad with shrimp and grilled turkey cutlets with thyme for dinner. Actress Courtney Thorne-Smith, from the TV sitcom According to Jim, continues to serve as spokesperson. (She also appeared in January weight loss ads for Atkins this year.)

The inclusion of such meals is intended to "break through that myth" of Atkins as a high protein-only diet, said Atkins Nutritionals marketing vp Jennifer McGhee.

This isn't the first time Atkins has moved towards a more holistic eating approach. Earlier this year, the weight loss brand ran ads touting its "Sweet. Sexy. Science" tagline. The phrase was meant to convey the fact that participants could eat a more "flexible" diet consisting of "good fats, lean protein [and] vegetables" among others, and the abundance of nutrition bars and shakes available to both men and women.

In contrast, Atkins' back-to-school campaign last year emphasized the "scientific proof" behind the program, McGhee said. Ads now running also carry the New England Journal of Medicine's claim that the diet provides 50 percent greater weight loss and improved cholesterol versus a low-fat diet, but in smaller print, towards the bottom.

"We're hoping to convince people that Atkins meals are normal and you can have them with your family, at work, and [even in] a restaurant," McGhee said.

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