6/09/2004

Atkins does it have something to do with economics

The first or second day of class Mr.Tufte showed us different Blog sights to give us an idea of what it was we were in for and one of the blogs had a lady who had been doing the Atkins diet. A comment was made about "what dose the Atkins diet have to do with economics?"

I have been unable to find the sight since. I wish I had the link so others could see it.

I may be wrong because the idea of microeconomics is very new to me and I may not clearly understand the definition or meaning of what microeconomics really is all about. But I do believe that the Atkins diet does have to do with economics in a much bigger way then others may realize.

The fast food industry has come out with new items on their menus (I personally wouldn't call a hamburger without a bun a new item but they seem to think it makes it one) which allows those, I being one of them, to still enjoy eating out at some of our favorite places.

Candy manufactures are jumping on the bandwagon also. It does cost more then your regular Snickers, M&M's or Hershey bars but I do have to say carb free candy does taste pretty good. There is a demand for carb free candy and those who are supplying it are definitely able to charge a pretty penny for it because the suppliers are so few.

I personally have lost over 30 lbs doing the Atkins diet and have enjoyed my smaller size in clothing once again. Atkins has economically affected my life because it allowed me to fit back into my old clothes so I didn't have to buy new ones in a bigger size which allowed me to spend the money on other things I wanted more.

6 comments:

D said...

I don't remember the site Dr. Tufte stated that talked about a link between economics and the Atkins Diet but I do remember him mentioning it.

What about Arby's "Carbys" (a "un" sandwich)? I think that you are on to something, everyone seems to be jumping on the Atkins bandwagon and profiting. Could this fall under supply and demand?

Good for you for sticking to a diet I have little to no will power to do so. Off the economic note, don't forget about your heart health vs. Atkins.

Dr. Tufte said...

I think the site that mentioned Atkins was J.M.P. Passey's site (listed by her name to the left). She is still losing weight. She is also an undergraduate economics major at Seattle University who writes about her classes, and how she applies what she learns there.

I have actually seen some stuff about business profiting from the Atkins fad. But, I don't recall them specifically, so I put some keywords into Google, where I found this article from the online news magazine Slate entitled "The Bull About the Beef". It discusses some of the changes in demand possibly attributable to Atkins related purchases.

We will be discussing (around Chapter 11 or so) how a business could make profits in the short-run by exploiting this sort of fad. The sort of industrial organization that encourages that is called monopolistic competition.

kamm said...

The Atkins diet is helping so many people lose weight because they have heard good things about it, and have made personal goals to "stick to it".

There are lots of good weight loss programs out there that really work, as long as the person is truely committed. Frequent exercise along with a sensible diet (I know that is very vague, but it depends on the person) is another great way to lose weight.

Just a thought: I wonder what kind of affect the low-carb diet will have on people down the road. Will it be detrimental to their health because of the lack of energy? Bread is rich with carbs and we are told to eat from that food group 8-10 times a day for a healthy diet.

Have we had it all wrong since the dawn of man? Is eating a lot of carbs the reason people are overweight, or could we attribute that to other things? I'm not saying that lots of carbs will make you healthy, but eating a sufficient amount of carbs sure makes for a more energetic person.

Dr. Tufte said...

Kamm:

I'm not sure I can give you credit for this post. Could you add some content that is relevant to microeconomics?

kamm said...

Because the Atkins diet has becomse so popular, there is a high demand for foods with low carbs. This means that demand for the high-carb foods that people use to eat a lot of, will drop, and the demand for low-carb foods will increase.

The same companies that produce these high-carb foods are also producing alternative low-carb foods that supposidly have the same great taste. They are also able to charge a higher price for these goods because they are more inelastic.

anonymous said...

I first heard about the Atkins diet from friends and thought it sounded like a good idea. I had no idea it would take off like it did and become such an influence in people's lives and onn the supermarket shelves. I have since learned that the Atkins diet is very bad for you and the weight you lose is really water and muscle. In fact the Atkins diet has been associated with kidney problems, liver problems, and more. I learned this in a Nutrition course. Every time I go the grocery store I am nearly sickened by all the low-card products. For most of the products, manufacturers are just replacing aspartame with sugar. Consumers are often deceived. For example, in class Dr. Tufte mentioned low-card or carb-free coke. Diet coke is carb free because it is made witha sugar substitute. I think this whole low-carb craze demonstrates hown consumers can be easily taken. It also demonstrates, I think, that people are willing to pay more for fad-related items. I have heard that as people get wealthier, or society as a whole gets wealthier, consumption patterns do indeed change. A guest lecturer in the Ecology of Global Hunger couse I took last semester discussed that as wealth increases people eat more meat (thus more protein). The Atkins diet fits right in. Maybe the Atkins Diet is so popular because people are eating more meat anyways? It is important that society promotes sustainable behaviors and raising animals for human consumption uses a great deal of land and resources. If everyone went on the Atkins diet could our planet sustain it? How would this impact health care expenditures (given that eating more meat is not always health-friendly)?