Atkins Diet Empire Headed for Chapter 11

It appears that the era of the Atkins Diet may be on its way out, as the company founded by the late Dr. Robert Atkins to promote every aspect of his “low-carb/high-protein” diet announced it had filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on Sunday. 

According to a company spokesman, Atkins Nutritionals Inc. owes over $300 million in outstanding principal and interest.

Current shareholders in the company include Parthenon Capital LLC, which acquired the majority of the stock in October 2003, as well as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and the estate of Dr. Atkins. Atkins died in 2003 from head injuries he suffered in a fall on an icy sidewalk.

Atkins Nutritionals based in Ronkonkoma, New York, has suffered from growing criticism of the Atkins diet plan by numerous doctors and nutritionists since it advocates the consumption of a high protein (and high fat) diet and the elimination of  most carbohydrates like pasta, bread, and potatoes, as the most effective way to lose weight.

While the diet achieved national fame and led to the marketing of a wide range of “low-carb” products, detractors strongly argued that the Atkins regime is dangerously high in fat and far too low in fruits, vegetables, and other necessities of a balanced diet.

The untimely death of the company’s outspoken founder has also been a serious problem for the company. Dr. Atkins had always been a dynamic spokesman for his diet “revolution.” He was a best-selling author and frequently made the rounds of TV and radio talk shows promoting his diet theory in a convincing style.

Since his death, the company no longer had a “face” and had become just another fad diet. The introduction of other successful diet plans, with more varied menus, also cut into the Atkins share of the weight-loss market.     
 As the bankruptcy proceedings take place, the company says it has received $25 million to allow it to continue operate.

 President and CEO Mark S. Rodriguez claims that over that past year the company has "adjusted our organization to accommodate a smaller business" and will promote its brands" more broadly for consumers who are concerned about heath and wellness."

In the future the company will focus on its nutrition bars and shakes.

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