Eating in the Real World

Dealing with Temptation

The truth is that temptation lurks everywhere, unless you deny yourself a social and working life and the attendant pleasures of eating out. I believe that the best way to overcome temptation is not with willpower, which is so often in short supply, but with our brainpower, a potentially unlimited resource.

Finding Substitutes for Favorite Foods

One of the best don’t-fall-off-the-program techniques is to eat foods that substitute for a highly desired food. If you lust after any of the above, or for blintzes, lasagna, Yorkshire pudding or even chocolate truffles, ice cream, cheesecake or strawberry shortcake, the answer lies in using the ingenious substitutes for these foods I’ve provided in the recipe section or through our website at Learn to use them. They can be just as much a part of your menu planning as grilled chicken and tossed salad. (Remember: Not all these recipes and products are suitable for the Induction phase.)

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Backing into a Carb Count

But, first, let me explain a few things. Almost everything displayed on the Nutrition Facts panel is based on specific laboratory procedures called assays, regulated by the FDA. The quantity of fat, protein, ash, and water can all be directly and exactly assayed. (Water and ash need not be listed on nutrition panels.) Carbohydrates, however, are the exception. Instead, the amount of carbohydrate is arrived at only after the other four components are directly computed: In other words, what is not fat, protein, ash, or water is called carbohydrate.

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All Carbs Are Not Created Equal

To complicate matters still further, carbohydrates are comprised of several sub-groups, which include dietary fiber, sugar, sugar alcohol, and “other” carbohydrates-a kitchen-sink grouping of gums, lignin’s, organic acids, and flavonoids. (These individual items can be assayed.) The FDA requires that a nutrition label include the total carbohydrates. The amount of dietary fiber and sugar must also be listed. However, the law does not require that other carbohydrate subcategories appear. Some manufacturers voluntarily include the sub-categories of sugar alcohol and “other carbohydrate.”

The impact on Blood Sugar

When you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that have an impact on your blood-sugar level, or what I call “the carbs that count when you do Atkins,” Fortunately, you don’t have to be a food scientist or math whiz to figure it out. To calculate the carbohydrates that “count;’ simply subtract the number of grams of dietary fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams. That’s right. A little simple subtraction and you’ve got the number. Actually, this number is a conservative one because most labels don’t give you the additional info you would need to do further subtraction, such as the amount of sugar alcohol grams contained in the product.

What Is a Serving?

Now, there is another rather sneaky aspect of nutrition labels. In the old days, when you were still drinking such things, you may have purchased a twenty-ounce bottle of flavored ice tea sweetened with corn syrup. That’s one serving, right? Wrong! Look carefully at the Nutrition Facts panel and you will see that a single serving is calculated not as the twenty ounces in the bottle but as eight ounces. You are expected to share that bottle with another friend and a half! That means all those calculations about carbohydrate content, sugar content and calories are for only eight ounces, not the whole bottle.

Lastly Comment

At my food products company, we try diligently to provide consumers with all the information they need to do Atkins. I believe you will benefit tremendously from the understanding of carbohydrates you have gained by reading this book. I would like to see all product manufacturers be required to present the important carbohydrate information right on the Nutrition Facts panel.

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