The chart above is from Google Trends, a nifty tool where anyone can go in and compare how popular search terms are. There are plenty of people typing stuff into Google all the time, so this is a pretty good reflection of how popular something is.
The red line is the search term ‘low carb’. Notice how the chart descends in 2004? That’s the last gasp of the ‘Atkins Craze’ – and right around the time I first went on a low carb diet. Low carb died just as I started losing weight. I used to go to the Vitamin Shoppe and get my Atkins shakes – they had a whole wall devoted to low carb products. For a while Costco was selling huge cartons of them and I bought my supply there, but then they stopped selling them.
I went back to The Vitamin Shoppe after some time and the shelves of low carb stuff were gone! I remember asking the guy behind the counter and he told me: “Yeah, that’s not popular anymore. The big thing now is the Perricone Prescription.”
Wait…wut? I’m not looking for another diet. The one I’m on is working fine. The Atkins Nutritionals – the company that manufactured low carb products after Dr. Atkins died – produced wonderful bread and bagels I could buy in my local supermarket. The price was unreasonable – but the stuff was good. About the same time all these baked goods suddenly had ‘Manager’s Special’ stickers and deep discounts.
I knew what that meant. I bought and freezed what I could.
They were soon gone.
In August of 2005, Atkins Nutritionals declared bankruptcy. I had also lost about 60 pounds on the diet and had no intention of chasing the next big thing. It worked for me, my bloodwork was better, and I felt great.
Meanwhile, I read somewhere that the unsold Atkins Shakes I could no longer find were being donated to food pantries.
It was dark times for Atkins dieters. There’s always people who revel in Schadenfreude when something that becomes big explodes – I’m one of them – but I had no intention of changing what was working for me. Atkins dieters went underground.
Low carb disappeared from the general discussion, was dismissed as a fad, and mostly forgotten – except for a small band of bloggers that kept persisting in the belief that this stupid diet still had merit.
And here’s a necessary shout-out to Jimmy Moore. While I have my issues with the gentleman, and he still remains controversial among many, he was the loudest voice in low carb circles for many years. (I found his KetoTalk podcast to be pretty good and listened to a lot of episodes last year.)
Gary Taubes also published Good Calories, Bad Calories in 2007. This was the type of book needed to reignite interest in low carb – but this wasn’t the book. It was not a good read at all. It was a struggle. I’ve listened to Gary talk and he’s quite interesting (you can listen here) – but this book was a slog.
I also started this blog with the original purpose to have a place to store recipes so I can get ingredient lists at work so I could pick up stuff to cook when I got home.
The same year I posted to this blog a post: Am I the Last Person on Atkins?
It sure felt like it.
So because I liked to write I just wrote – not caring if anyone read it, but I found that more people than I ever expected came and read and commented.
I liked the feedback and thoughtful comments and kept doing it – steadily – for most of a decade.
for the Internet, that’s almost unheard of.
Now let’s look at a second chart:
This is a chart showing my website traffic by month. I can take pride in the fact that – me – dumb little me – was able to get over one million views. I didn’t have to expose body parts, or actually do anything that interesting except share some mediocre recipes I invented or discuss something about low carb diets.
But you can see that it’s coming to an end.
With the rise of ‘keto’, there are now so many sources for recipes that my pathetic selection is a waste of your time.
And my commentary is old. So much has been spoken and written about the diet that much of what is here isn’t worth very much. There’s 500+ posts and I’m not sure more than a few dozen are worth reading today.
These days, the place I go to most for info on keto diets is Impulsive Keto. I don’t know who this guy is, but I like his thinking. (While his site is not that impressive, he really shines on Facebook – check him out there – join his Impulsive Keto Facebook group.)
I also have a tendency to ramble on. It’s not cool anymore. I am a TL;DR blogger to be sure.
I also *also* have little new to say because…well…there’s so many people talking about this subject that, well, what’s *left* to say?!?
I still follow a low carb/ketogenic diet and do not plan to change any time soon. I don’t always meet my goals but my target is always under 20 grams of carbs per day.
But the reality is that this blog is a bit of an anachronism. When nobody talked about low carb/keto diets, I was, and people came. Now everybody talks about it and my blog gets lost in the noise – and perhaps rightly so – because there are better sources of information than me.
So going back to the 2 charts above, you can see that people coming to my website dropped like a stone as ‘keto’ took off. That’s probably as it should be. There’s people way better at packaging this sort of information who get the search engine hits I used to get.
I’m OK with that. This was never about me trying to make a buck doing this. I was passionate about low carb when it seemed no one else was, I liked to write, and and it seemed other lost souls seemed to respond to the fact that someone else felt the same way they did about the diet. At best, I’ve had a tiny walk-on part in the history of low carb – and the money I got from the ads on this site over a decade where I wrote over 1,000 posts would pay for maybe a half-dozen casual dining restaurant meals (no bar tab) for my family.
I think I can say my mission is done. I helped keep the lights on for low carb. It’s come roaring back as keto and there’s some really good science that didn’t exist when I started.
I don’t plan on going anywhere, and might continue to post as the mood strikes, but I’d say my tour of duty is done.