Atkins, greed and the fairy tale cookies

Atkins High Carb Cookies

Can you eat cookies on a low carb diet? The Atkins company claims that you can and sells them in all kinds of flavors. After having a look at the ingredients I can just laugh at the irony.

In my online “Food Revolution” presentation I used the cookies as one example of fake low carb products. Commercial junk that stops weight loss and makes people (rightly) lose all their respect for low carb. I called the marketing a “fairy tale”.

After more than a hundred thousand views of the video on YouTube, the Atkins company just started paying attention. Yesterday they sent me a mail: 

The mail

Hello Dr. Eenfeldt,
I follow your site and recently watched your presentation “The Food Revolution” on YouTube and thought you may be interested in seeing the latest research tables supporting Atkins and low-carb diets that Colette Heimowitz, VP of Nutrition Communication at ANI has generated. There are more than 80 independent, peer-reviewed studies backing the safety and efficacy of the Atkins Diet. As you know, low carbohydrate eating is a time-tested and scientifically validated diet plan. They are attached.

I also would like to provide you with correct information about Atkins products. Atkins products have been clinically tested for blood sugar responses using the glycemic load methodology; ( We take pride in offering our customers products that have a minimal glycemic impact. There are simply some consumers who need a low sugar alternative to high sugar habits for better compliance.

In your presentation you showcase an Atkins brand cookie and highlight it as a “fairy tale” option that is high in carbohydrates, when in fact the Atkins cookies are a smarter option – than a regular cookie would be – as they contain zero sugar and only 5 grams net carbs. Here is a link to learn more about the nutritional content:

I’d also be happy to send you a copy of the new Atkins cookbook “The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook” by Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. featuring 200 simple and delicious low-carb recipes. Please let me know your mailing address.
Thanks for your consideration. Please let me know if you’d like to speak with Colette who can offer additional insights. I am happy to keep you informed about the latest news from Atkins.

Best regards,
Aliza Rothman

The marketing


The reality

Here are the cookie nutrition facts from the Atkins website:

Cookie nutrition

My reply

Hi Aliza,

The biggest ingredient in your cookie is wheat flour. It’s loaded with carbs, i.e. calling it low carb is obviously a fairy tale.

Also, subtracting 100% of the sugar alcohol from “net carbs” is misleading to your customers as about half of the maltitol is absorbed.

Regarding the studies you attach I agree: low carb works fine. The problem is that your cookies are not low carb.

Andreas Eenfeldt

A tip

How do you know that the marketing of a packaged low carb product is a fairy tale? In my experience the following simple rule is true most of the time:

If it is a packaged product and they use the words “net carbs” it’s most likely not low carb, it’s high carb.1

What do you think about this?


Low carb bread: Another fairy tale bites the dust

The Dreamfields Pasta Fraud

Real low carb food: LCHF for beginners 

  1. At Diet Doctor we encourage people to eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods. If that is the case, then following net carbs is reasonable. However, if someone is eating highly processed or packaged foods, then we believe it is likely better to calculate total carbs

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  1. Robin
    This site is a trip. Lots of talk from people NOT on Atkins. Personally, I don't use the product of Atkins and most serious Atkins folks don't either. They have a funky aftertaste. I've lost 16 lbs. Also, you can't GO ON AND GO OFF low-carb. Atkins site shows how to add back in carbs at a healthy level. I have found my energy to be awesome as well as my moods completely stabilized without all the sugar and high glycemic foods.

    As with most things, clean, natural, healthy, is the best plan...

    MIM's are awesome and flaxmeal is a great item! If almond meal works best for you, great. For sweetener, stevia is the BEST.

    Eat responsibly!

  2. Alexandra M
    Muffin in a Minute update: My little experiment was a great success! Adding about 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of dry yeast to the batter dramatically improves the flavor. I think the problem with a lot of low-carb bread substitutes is that people forget that yeast is what gives bread a lot of its characteristic flavor - at least that's the flavor I crave.

    Too bad sourdough starter doesn't work the same way. :(

  3. Galina L.
    I tried the muffin recipe, it was a good thing to eat with cheese and butter. I skipped sweetener and flax seeds - just used 1/4 cup of almonds meal, one egg, backing powder, dash of salt. Why to encourage people to sweeten everything? It didn't require a sweetener at all. I don't plan to use the recipe often because I think it is a good idea not to substitute high-carbs foods with the LC equivalent. Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with it, but many people who eat LC deserts regularly regain weight. I want to be on a safe side. Also, soft-boiled eggs with a butter for a breakfast is a preferable food food for me.
  4. Michael Smith
    i think these are a "smarter" option than say oreos or any other cookies. some people like myself who have successfully lost a lot of weight on a LCHF diet would like to indulge in the sinful foods every now and then. i much rather have a atkins bar over a sneakers anyday. im 21 so maybe my young metabolism can handle "frakenfoods" cause they simply dont make me gain and in small quantities i remain in ketosis.
  5. Hossein Mirahmadzadeh
    Dear Sir,
    We are purchasing your products internaly to distribute in Iran market, but unfortunately, we are afraid these products could be faked one coming from other south east Asia, therefore, we will be glad if you kindly let us know we can purchase your products directly from your factory with competetive prices and distribute them in our market, and we have sister company located in Toranto Canada, which can make the direct business such as payment, delivery, and etc.
    Therefore, we are very glad to hear from your side if you can supply us your products directly and what will be your minimum purchase for our first order at the moment.
    we are waiting to receive your positive reply,
    Best Regards,
    Corrdial Co.Ltd.
  6. 23g of carbs=FAIL
    Comes in a box=FAIL
    Contains wheat=FAIL
    10 ingredients=FAIL
    Reply: #81
  7. @John

    You forgot:
    Requires a nutrition label=FAIL

  8. Hey Now
    These cookies are nowhere near 5g carbs. Maltitol has 2.1g of energy (kcals) compared to 4g in sucrose, so at best you could halve the sugar alcohol carbs, not subtract them.

    23g - 5g fiber - (12/2=6)g sugar alcohol = 12g carbs / bar.

    I find it so irresponsible of the Atkins brand to trick their customers like this. So many of their foods have maltitol in them!

  9. Lu Smith
    I am so sorry that Atkins gets such a bad rap. He, the actual Dr. Atkins, wanted to find the truth and he looked and did research himself and found some great truths that have been at the "new" forefront of finding our way through the crap the government and educational institutions have been cooking up for decades now.

    I admire men who search and face personal slander and occupational failure when they put their findings on the line which prove over and over again to be true, only to be shunned and ridiculed by silver-tongued critics.

    As a side note, Atkins have come up with meat and complex carb, frozen dinners, much to my happiness.

  10. LynneD
    I was interested to see if your site gave any credit to Dr Atkins, who was maligned until the day of his death for saying exactly what you are. Fortunately I live in a country where we don't have a culture of consuming pre-prepared foods, and have no access to the Atkins products. I discovered Atkins (in it's original form as a simple diet) and for the first time found a diet that helped me lose weight effectively. The thing is, some people are far less tolerant of carbs than others. People like me are like alcoholics...I am completely intolerant of starchy foods. I can feel the impact of eating them almost immediately; so ANY "lower-carb" options are no options at all. Some people are far more tolerant of a higher carb intake and may be able to tolerate "a little of what you fancy" but for people like me, that's just not going to work.
    Reply: #61
  11. Zepp
    I can tell you that this site do give all the credits to Dr Atkins, as he deserv, and to Dr Kwasnievsky, and to Mr Banting, to Brilliat Savarin and to a lot of fore runners about low carb living!
  12. Anon
    I'm a type one diabetic. I tried an "Atkins" bar the other day (albeit with some amount of skepticism upon reading the elaborate ingredients list). When I bit into it, I thought it actually tasted like it contained "real" sugar, so I checked the ingredients and the nutritional panel. Anyway, my blood sugar raised after eating it. Then I had to give myself two more insulin shots from my pump just to get it back down to normal again.

    Could of been the sugar alcohols they contain, but at least I know now that when I have a rare craving for chocolate, I'd rather eat a small serving of the plain, then have a frankenfood which still raises my blood sugar like crazy. Plus it's a lot cheaper and has a lot less ingredients usually.

    Would be quite interesting to see what happens to other diabetics blood sugars after eating these products...very interesting indeed :)

  13. Willaim
    I agree to a point. But some issues must needs be clarified. First of all, a BIG thanks to Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt for addressing what I believe to be the biggest (no pun intended) issue with the current Atkins corporation's rather lax attitude towards the original rules implemented by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, founder of one of the foremost, effective, health/nutrition plans in the world at large. (Again, no pun intended.)

    The Atkins products are labeled 'All Phases'...EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. This should tell you something right away. While Atkins was alive, he took GREAT care to ensure that ALL his products were appropriately labeled for the proper phases. This is because Atkins knew, and Colette Heimwitz blatantly disregards, the fact that certain items acceptable in later phases of Atkins MUST be removed entirely in Induction to avoid issues with food allergies and metabolic resistance. Upon gradually adding these items back into your eating plan, you can more accurately gauge potential trigger foods for metabolic resistance.

    Yet here we sit with Atkins products labeled 'ALL Phases' which are loaded with nuts (unacceptable in Induction ENTIRELY in New Diet Revolution, acceptable in Phase 1 after two weeks on the new farce of a program), flours (unacceptable until OWL in NDR IIRC), and even penne pasta (again unacceptable until OWL and LM.)

    In addition, the Atkins corporation is quite accurate in the regard of the volume of independent, peer-reviewed studies available...except that none of it is applicable to the current plan under which Atkins operates at present. Which leads me to my next point...

    The Atkins plan listed in the Phase:1 section of the Atkins website is, indeed, almost identical to the one found in Dr. Atkins' NEW Diet Revolution, save allowing nuts and seeds after two weeks of Induction. HOWEVER; of you go to the Myths page you get: #4 Myth: It’s a high-protein, no-carb diet. Fact: It’s an optimal protein, reduced carbohydrate diet. People frequently mistake the Induction phase for the entire Atkins program. At Induction, the plan allows you to eat 20 net carbs with 12 to 15 net carbs coming from vegetables. After Induction is complete, you increase your carb count gradually until you reach your own carb tolerance level and goal weight. YOU EAT A VARIETY OF PROTEIN CHOICES IN 4 TO 6 OUNCE SERVING SIZE.

    This last bit violates TWO of Atkins' most effective tools; UNLIMITED serving sizes of acceptable, high fat products and promoting lean meat over the more healthy, fatty, essential meats that comprise the core of the Atkins Nutritional Approach. Dr. Atkins was quite adamant that fat intakes WELL above the ridiculous ADA minimum of 30% a day was THE KEY to inducing 'deep lipolysis'. Clearly, this is NOT your daddy's Atkins. In fact, clearly, this is not even Dr. Atkins' Atkins.'

    However, I will address the issues of 'Net Carbs'. Atkins was smart enough to realize that taking the TOTAL CARBS and using that as your carb count was NOT the way to go. In addressing your 'Tip', I will elucidate the thought behind this process. But first, here is the tip for reference:

    How do you know that the marketing of a packaged low carb product is a fairy tale? In my experience the following simple rule is true at least 99 percent of the time:

    If they use the words “net carbs” it’s not low carb, it’s high carb.

    What do you think about this?

    Glad you asked. Here is how I feel about this. Atkins recognized that a certain 'portion' of the Total Carbohydrate listing was composed of elements and ingredients which do NOT impact your glycemic response system. This elements, according to Atkins, are safe to deduct from the Total Carbohydrate Count. Chiefly, these two elements are fiber and sugar alcohols. By deducting this numbers from the Total Carbohydrate Count, you arrive at your 'Net Carbs', that is, the total of digestible carbohydrates withing the product, these being the carbohydrates which impact your glycemic response.

    So 'Net Carbs' does NOT mean 'High Carb'. However, you are quite correct in assuming it doesn't necessarily mean 'Low Carb' either. It requires intelligence and education on the part of the consumer to determine if, in fact, "Net Carbs' means 'Low Carbs'. Fortunately, Atkins has schooled us quite well to look for hidden sugars, flours or anything else impacting our blood glucose levels.

    In addition, following the 11-15 rule of making sure that 11-15 grams of your allowed 20 Induction Grams of Carbohydrates is comprised namely of vegetable matter, you eliminate the majority of issues associated with Net Carbs anyways.

    For those in the later phases, a little discretion mixed with the Rules of said phase, always goes a LONG way in offsetting issues like this to begin with.

  14. bjmoore

    Wow lots of naysayers.. I did Atkins for 5 mos. Eating bars and drinking the shakes I lost 32lbs. I am type2 diabetic it did not effect my bg in the slightest in fact my A1c went down 3 points in that 5 months. Incredible people shouldn't put their 2 cents in when they haven't even lived or done a low carb lifestyle..

    Facts are facts I am living proof. The sugar alcohols did not impact my blood sugar and I am a diabetic.

    Reply: #82
  15. Nicole
    I personally love Atkins and for me it is what has worked, finally! I had gestational diabetes during pregnancy and packed on a considerable amount of weight. I have bounced up and down since then. But Atkins has helped me tackle my weight without me feeling like I am missing out on anything! I do get their shakes, bars ( I don't go for the cookies or candies though) and frozen meals. I work full time and having the frozen meals keeps me from wanting fast food during the work day. I also incorporate a ton of veggies and nuts into my diet, love flat-out bread and even though I went off Atkins for over a year (due to family and financial strains) I only gained back 20 of the original 50lbs I had lost and it took an entire year! Currently I am 2 weeks in to my back to Atkins plan and am down 8lbs and feeling better ever day, my attitude is better, my moods don't jump as much...which makes my family happy too! For me this is the best diet option. But with anything it is subject to the individual. Most Atkins followers make the diet their own and only use the actual Atkins products when they are just too busy to make something at home! I also use stevia in all my drinks, so I use the bars less and less, stevia gives me the sweet sensation I need :)
  16. Katherine Smith
    I am doing well on a low carb diet, feeling great without the snack bars that jacked up my insulin levels for the last 20 years. I was shocked--looking for vitamins at Target last night to see Atkins advertising what to my eyes looks like nothing more than candy in the pharmacy aisle. I read the ingredients list and could not believe the hypocrisy.

    And now I read above that the bars are meant to provide a "low sugar alternative to high sugar habits for better compliance."

    I immediately went home and ate a carrot. This seems to me like a better low sugar alternative to a snack bar.

  17. JS
    The company that markets Atkins products is shooting itself in the foot by continuing to use malitol when they could substitute other (better) sugar alcohols (such as erythritol, xylitol, stevia, ect). Far more people in the Atkins and LCHF communities would buy their products if they could trust the carb content on the package and know that the snacks wouldn't knock them out of ketosis. I'll bet that the cost of switching to a better sweetener would be easily offset by increased sales.

    Whole foods ARE clearly best, but sometimes a convenient "fake" snack is OK (in moderation)...however, I won't buy any Atkins products with malitol in them. And, unfortunately, its in most of what they sell.

    Reply: #70
  18. rob
    Lost 50 pounds enjoying what I like to eat, meat,cheese, artichokes etc.... Low carb is easy if you don't listen to too many "experts". Keep it simple, as a type 2 diabetic I try different foods and if the blood sugar rises I quit eating them. Eating one Atkins bar daily does not raise my blood sugar where as eating 3 or 4 daily does, so for me I eat one Atkins triple chocolate bar for my daily "chocolate fix".
    Take charge of your life, experiment and enjoy.
  19. JustMe
    Insulin dependant diabetic who eats only low carb and uses Atkins bars for an occasional snack. Never have any raised my BG's. My last A1c was 4.7. I test very often and I do count carbs.
  20. Charmaine
    Stevia is NOT permitted to be added to most if not all foods in the USA YET..tis is why it is ONLY sold as an "add on" product, as a table top sweetener. The FDA does not consider it added by they decide to let you 'do it to yourself" if you over use sweeteners.

    Once added to foods you might be consuming beyond what is safe on a daily basis…see?

    Ask yourself how a "natural" dark green leaf- the Stevia plant- becomes a perfect, pure white powder…it is mostly because 95% of powdered Stevia is NOT stevia, it is only 5% of the bag..95% is (corn based) maltodextrose sugar. or some other.

    Mouse studies with Steviocides (many parts of the plant act differently in the body there is stevia a, b, and rebaudiana) and have shown a tendency to tumor growth. Until human studies can prove absolute safety in consumption it may take a while to find it added to foods.
    Study A. "In vitro metabolism of the glycosidic sweeteners, stevia mixture and enzymatically modified stevia in human intestinal microflora." Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Mar;41(3):359-74. [abstract at: ]

    Study B. "Evaluation of the genotoxicity of stevioside and steviol using six in vitro and one in vivo mutagenicity assays" Mutagenesis vol. 11 no. 6 pp. 573-579, 1996
    [online at ]
    Metabolism of Stevioside by Healthy Subjects Exp Biol Med (Maywood) January 2007 232: 164-173
    Study C. "Mutagenicity and human chromosomal effect of stevioside, a sweetener from Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni." Environ Health Perspect. 1993 October; 101(Suppl 3): 53–56. [abstract at:… ] STUDY: "Metabolically activated steviol, the aglycone of stevioside, is mutagenic."

  21. Henry
    100% agree with you
  22. Kay
    I agree that even though they're not ideal, using Atkins products can be a stepping stone to healthier eating. I hope that eventually they'll start using sweeteners with less glycemic load, such as erythritol, but in the meantime knowing I'm allowing myself the occasional Atkins-brand treat helps to motivate me to keep the rest of my day low carb.
  23. Trish Bell
    Does everybody forget that Dr.Atkins..died from a heart attack. P!us ketosis is NOT a good way to lose weight..omg, burn more than you eat..that's the only real truth. This is ridiculousness..fat people need to eat less, move. Ore. stop trying to find shortcuts and gimiks.
    Reply: #76
  24. Bev
    In fact Dr. Atkins died as the result of a head injury after slipping on ice.
  25. KT
    I lost over 50 kgs doing Atkins and did use their bars to get me through! I have kept the weight off for 17 years and although I don't eat them now....they helped me at the start and through losing all the weight and I was glad I had them!
  26. Kate Paterson burns
    You are on the wrong website then lovey. Thousands on this site lose through ketosis. Your claim that ‘it is not a good way’ is unfounded and no longer represents the latest nutritional science. Also, your post is demeaning as you try to shame ‘fat people’ and make yourself feel superior. Also, learn to spell if you want to appear smarter than everyone else.
  27. pinky4like
    I have use the ADKINS DIET off and on for 10 years. (Not the shakes until recently) (and bars I tried and gave away). I have lost 92 pounds. I have kept it off. My blood pressure went down, which was my goal at the time. I can now walk, run 5 miles a day. I can say this, the Adkins diet start all the other diets or just better or worst versions of it. THIS WE ALL KNOW IS TRUE. You are right, when Adkins was alive he did have phases on his package products. I hadn't looked at the bars in the store until recently. I saw that they removed them from the packaging. I didn't buy them for the simply fact I make my own snacks at home. Adkins is a great diet for me( I have tried all the rest!!! all the rest!!!) it this seems to be only one my body will react too. People will say what they will, to sale their way of thinking. Here my only opinion, do what works for you. if you have to take a little from this diet plan and add it to that diet plan, do it. As long as it is working for you. I will take Keto diet recipes and Adkins diet recipes (basically the same diet anyway) and use it to your advantage. Last word as far as the shake goes I like them. ADD to the vanilla and the chocolate ones I add a little instant coffee. ( instant Starbucks), lower in carbs. THIS THINGS ARE MADE TO HELP YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY (just tools). I didn't necessarily use the recipes in the book, I saw them as example on how to create my own version of Adkins to better fit my life style.
    Its up to you how much you use and how you use them. IF IT WASN'T FOR ADKINS AND HIS LESSONS. I STILL BE 230 POUNDS INSTEAD OF 138.
  28. zzzengirl
    Good for you Pinky! That was a great post and very inspirational. I'm just embarking on my low carb program for the second time and am looking forward to losing weight on it again. Its the only thing that has ever worked for me except Whole 30, and it is basically low carb except for the fruit. Trish Bell, you need to do your research before you post something that makes you look even dumber.
  29. 1 comment removed
  30. Stroescu
    Trish , it doesn't work for all people. I have hypothyroidism, I move a lot, count calories, and still my weight wouldn't shift and kept craving sugar. I kept hearing Keto, Keto, but I hate diets. One day I got disgusted by all the sugar I ate and tried Keto for 2 days. Never looked back and I feel amazing ! This website has been a great help so thank you !
  31. CNT717
  32. Brenda
    Wow! I read that back in 2015. And my sugar didn’t go down and I did lose 35 pounds but then I leveled out an Atkins was no longer working. I knew that I had to cut my sugar/carbohydrates in order too my triglycerides in check. I also had high blood pressure so I tried the dash diet eating basically six times a day with lots of carbs; I gained weight. And so it went until May 2018. I discovered Dr. Jason Fung and diet
    My life is completely turning around: my energy level is up, my inflammation is down, I feel like I’m in my 30s and not getting ready to turn 70. Still losing weight, still more weight to lose. But I’m feeling great while journeying back to my ideal weight! I stay away from that processed crap, eat real food, eat only when I’m hungry, and as a bonus I’m spending less money on food!
    Confession: there are times when I fall off the wagon so to speak but I start feeling terrible again and have to jump right back on to start feeling good again. Fortunately my high-fat low-carb lifestyle is easy to maintain and gets easier every day. My motivation is how good I feel eating this way!
    Regarding Dr. Atkins, he was a courageous genius who cared about the health of his patients. I “met” him when he was going through his “trials,” literally being tried by the government for his dietary ideas on health. For younger folks, think of Dr. Knoakes in South Africa.
    Today we can listen to the interviews as well as read what the doctors are writing. Dr Fung said something that hit home with me and it was about how we ate back in the day aka when I was growing up: breakfast, lunch, dinner, no snacking. Pretty much the way that he recommends and diet doctor recommends, and I was skinny back then! And it really isn’t that hard to get back into the routine if one really has a desire to do so. Find your motivation and run with it!
  33. LaFawn
    I agree with this sentiment of the post by both Brandon and moreporkplease. Separate Dr. Atkins from the current company.
  34. ToniC.
    I believe in the 1972 Original Atkins. The Company has completely strayed from his intent and original message. What they are doing is horrible!
  35. Shirley Devlin
    In your article it says, "If they use the words “net carbs” it’s not low carb, it’s high carb." If you feel this way, why do all of the recipes on Diet Doctor emphasize the Net Carbs instead of the Total Carbs?
  36. empflix
    An Atkins Endulge Treat Caramel Nut Chewy Bar (Two of us fought over who got to eat the last third of this one. I lost. Only 130 calories and 2 net carbs)
  37. 1 comment removed
  38. Julie B
    Atkins treats save me from
    going crazy. I drink a cup of coffee in the morning, a piece of cheese around 10, supper aroun 6 and then something from Atkins before bed. I have lost 30lbs and am maintaining easily. I could eat all the ice cream in the world but one Atkins brownie keeps me from overdoing it.
  39. Christine
    Hey All, read the "Obesity Code" by Dr. Jason Fung! Fascinating read! Dr. Fung explains how hormones play an important roll in weight loss and how intermittent fasting allows our bodies to heal and unleash the weight loss process. He explains how sugar, sugar substitutes and sugar alcohols are processed in our bodies. As far as the Atkins Treats or any other sweet one and move on. Don't beat yourself up over a small indulgence once in a while, just don't eat the entire box or bag!
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