It got me started doing low carbohydrates. Because I was extremely overweight (maybe obese) and I just wanted to lose weight, it worked. I admit to losing some muscle but my strength did not decline because my body got used to the low amount of carbs after adaptation.
The first phase is very restrictive, it allows only 20 g carbs for 2 weeks but as you gradually progress that number can increase. You can even up it to as high as 90 grams and you will still be following the book's guidelines.
Also, even in the first phase there diet still comes out balanced. It is not just all meat, eggs, cheese, herbs and even some vegetables are even allowed. It is sugar free, but it is NOT sweetness free. It allows the use of stevia and splenda for sweeteners.
You don't even need to buy the freaking book to know about this stuff because you can find out at the web site (atkinscenter.com) for free, if you want to verify what it really is.
What it is not
It is not a good diet for building muscle, at least for me, because after the initial gains of increasing carbs, I hit a plateau at 90 g of carbs (the upper limit).
But at least consider that it does not allow high carb softdrinks like Coke and Pepsi and high carb junk food and comfort food.
It does not even advocate drowning yourself in alcohol; It says there that once you take alcohol, the calories that you burn come from that and not from the stored body fat, which means it interferes with weight loss. Something that people who want to lose weight (and can comprehend the message correctly) will not do.
Why it is better than just dieting or the standard American diet of high carbs
It also says there that exercise is non-negotiable, meaning everyone must do it. So it's not a just diet and you'll lose weight and be healthy.
It even advocates nutritional supplements because no diet can truly give 100% of everything. Comparing this to bodybuilding, not even a "natural" bodybuilder nowadays can get by with eating clean food alone, the responses I have gotten is that, at a minimum, they take protein supplements.
It is not a bodybuilding diet. You most likely will not achieve your goals unless your genetics allow you to build muscle while eating very minimal carbs (90 g max). However, it can help overfat (overweight and obese) people to lose weight (yes, some muscle will also be lost) and with that weight loss comes health benefits (as opposed to following an unstructured diet or being anorexic).