Fun while it lasted

Atkins_1People are falling off the low-carb bandwagon like bread rolls piled too high at the buffet table. That’s according to The New York Times, which ran a huge story in the Sunday Business section about the fading trend, with enough facts and figures to choke off Atkins and its offshoots just in time for January’s post-holiday-indulgence remorse and relentless weight-loss commercials.

To wit: "According to the NPD Group … the percentage of Americans who followed low-carb diets like Atkins, South Beach or the Zone fell to 4.6 percent in September from 9 percent in January." American Italian Pasta Co., which in July developed "a line of low-carbohydrate, soy-based pasta," said in November that "it didn’t ship any soy pasta in the previous quarter."

But perhaps the most damning stat in the story, in a perverse way, highlighted the explosion in the number of Atkins-branded products since the diet guru died more than a year and a half ago: from 50 to 175. That’s enough to kill off any well-meaning trend.

Maybe all that’s left to squabble over is what diet trend comes next. Since the psychological basis of the Atkins diet seemed to be the promise that you could eat anything you wanted from lots of sinful categories, AdFreak’s envisioning something else in that continuum: like the all-candy diet, the potato-chips-only diet, or all Pepsi-Cola all the time.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor