Blogs

Welcome to Atkins Blogs
Blogs
Progress Blogs Home
Atkins Official Blogs
Sharon Osbourne’s Blog
Nutritionist’s Blog
Posts by Categories
Photos
Photo Galleries
Browse This Blog
Post Calendar
<July 2014>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
293012345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789
Subscribe: RSS feeds
colette_heimowitz's Blog

Stand in almost any aisle in the supermarket, and you’ll find products containing sugar. There are two kinds of sugar: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. Unlike naturally occurring sugars, which are an intrinsic part of fruit, vegetables, grains and dairy products, these sugars have been added to foods in the manufacturing process. Berries, green beans and cheese all contain natural sugars, but they are also full of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. But other than calories, most added sugars offer little or no nutritional benefits.

Soft drinks are the largest source of sugar in the American diet, delivering one-third of all added sugars. Another three-fifths come from baked goods, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy and cereals. The remainder is found in unexpected places like barbecue sauce and other condiments, baby foods and deli specials like potato salad or coleslaw.

“Any form of sugar, whether integral or added, natural or manufactured, becomes a problem when you eat too much of it,” says Dr. Eric Westman, a co-author of The New Atkins for a New You and an associate professor of medicine at the Duke University Health System and director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. “Although sugar is quickly metabolized, creating energy to power your body, excess sugar is converted to body fat,” he adds. According to the USDA, each person consumes an average of 154 pounds of added sugar a year, up from an average of 123 pounds in the early 1970s. This translates to an average of nearly 750 calories a day. We each consume an average of 53 gallons of sugar-laden soft drinks each year and get 16 percent of our daily caloric intake from added sugars. For kids aged 6 to 11, it’s 18 percent, and for teenagers, it’s 20 percent. For every daily soft drink, a child’s chance of becoming obese increases by 50 percent. “The twin epidemics of obesity and type-2 diabetes have occurred concurrently with the enormous increase in sugar consumption over the last several decades,” Dr. Westman says.

How to Say “See Ya” to Sugar

According to Dr. Westman, the best way to decrease your sugar intake is to cut back on most packaged foods and eat a whole foods diet. Vegetables, berries and other fruits, nuts/ seeds, Greek yogurt, as well as a variety of protein sources and olive oil and other healthy, natural fats keep you satisfied and in control of your appetite. And because the sugar intake is low, you will be more likely to burn body fat for energy. It’s even been reported that when people replace packaged foods and added sugars with whole foods, they often discover that their cravings for added sugar go away.

Here are additional tips for cutting back on your sugar intake:

Pump up the protein. When you add protein to your meals and snacks, it helps stabilize your blood sugar levels, keeping those sugar cravings at bay. Plus, consuming protein helps you burn more calories; in a nutshell, digesting and metabolizing protein burns twice the calories than when you eat carbohydrates. You can grill chicken, fish, steak or more and pile it on top of a salad packed with fresh vegetables. Enjoy quick snacks of chilled chicken, egg or shrimp salad wrapped in a romaine lettuce leave or boil up a batch of hard-boiled eggs for a quick protein-packed snack.

Revamp your drinks. Swap beverages laced with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup for those sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners, or better yet, sparkling water.

Go cold turkey. Initially, it sounds crazy to completely eliminate or cut back on sugar—especially if you crave it a lot. You would think you would end up craving it even more. But a 2011 study in the journal Obesity shows that the fewer carbs (i.e. packaged foods containing sugar) you consume (especially when you are consuming fat and protein in their place), the less you will eventually crave those carbs and the more you will be able to control your hunger.

Eat small, frequent meals. If you follow the standard breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule, try eating a smaller 200-calorie mini-meal every two to three hours, with the goal of taking in a minimum of 1,500 calories by the end of the day. This will keep your metabolism steadily burning calories from each meal, while preventing sudden drops in blood sugar—and cravings for that cookie or candy bar.
Drink up. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger. Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. It will keep you cool, flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. You can jazz up your water with slices of lemon, lime or cucumber.

Plan ahead. Is it hard to resist the donuts at the office every Friday or that slice of cake or plate of cookies at social events? Make sure you have a protein-packed snack before you go, and drink plenty of water. If you can’t avoid your Great-Aunt’s homemade apple pie (made from the recipe that’s been handed down for generations) without appearing impolite, take a small bite or ask for a small slice and share it with someone. And make your next snack or meal is one that focuses on fresh vegetables, natural fats and protein.

Watch your stress. Very often sugar cravings kick into high gear when you’re stressed out or anxious. This is also a sign it’s time to take care of yourself. Instead of soothing your stress with a pint of ice cream, come up with a list of alternative activities you can turn to. Go for a walk or a hike with a friend, go to the gym, watch a funny video, hit the golf course or get a facial or a massage.

It’s summertime—school’s out and the kids are home. That’s great, but if you’re doing Atkins and following a low-carb lifestyle, sometimes it can seem like a challenge to accommodate your needs and those of your family without feeling like a short-order cook.

First of all, talk to your family about your goals and ask for their support. Explain what Atkins is about, and show them all the different foods you can eat and discuss what foods you are trying to avoid. The whole family can benefit from purging the pantry of packaged foods full of sugar, especially when you show them how much healthier fresh vegetables and fruits are compared to packaged foods filled with sugar. With all this being said, don’t force your diet on your family or restrict them of all their favorite foods. Make it fun, and get them involved—they will be more likely to support you and enjoy the food and the healthy benefits of your new lifestyle. Here are some other tips:

Make a menu. Select some delicious and family-friendly low-carb recipes, and let your family create a weekly menu so that they feel involved in the process. Especially during the summer, grilled meats and fresh veggies can make a very satisfying meal for everyone involved, without anyone feeling like they are deprived.

Have it on the side. Round out your low-carb recipes with a few side dishes that may contain more carbs (and that you can resist) but that will satisfy your family. This could be a fresh corn and black bean salad, pasta side dishes, baked sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and more.

Skip the bun. Summer isn’t summer without hamburgers and hot dogs. You can enjoy a hearty hamburger as well; just wrap it in lettuce instead of a bun. Your family can enjoy their burgers or hot dogs with buns, and you won’t feel like you’re missing a thing. Having fajitas? Enjoy yours “naked” or on a bed of lettuce.

Make snacking easy. If your pantry and refrigerator are filled with low-carb snacks, it will be much easier for you (and your family) to resist the high carb-and sugar filled packaged snacks. Stock your pantry with almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans and berries. Make sure you have turkey, ham, and cheese on hand for quick and tasty roll-ups. Use leftover grilled meat to make a quick lettuce wrap. Make an avocado dip and have cut up veggies available for dipping. And don’t forget eggs. Hard-boiled eggs and egg salads are also easy and taste great. Plus, frozen grapes and berries are sweet and delicious snacks on hot summer days.

Keep it fresh. Wash and cut up your fresh veggies and fruits and keep them in clear plastic containers in the refrigerator so there’s always a crunchy and refreshing bite at everyone’s fingertips, especially when the kids are whining that there’s “nothing to eat.” Serve your veggies with low-carb dips like hummus, salsa or guac or low-sugar salad dressings.

Even if you’re able to incorporate the foods on all or most of all tiers of the Carb Ladder into your diet, don’t overdo the carbs. You want to avoid weight regain and/or encourage the return of carb sensitivity symptoms such as extreme hunger, cravings and lack of energy. Here are some tasty ideas to help you stay in control and get more variety without blowing your carbohydrate budget:

1. Take the veggie alternative. Instead of using rice or pasta as a base for sauces, curries and other dishes, use shredded lettuce or cabbage, mung bean sprouts or grated raw zucchini or daikon radish.

2. Pass on the pasta. Have spaghetti squash or shirataki noodles (made from soybeans and a non-starchy yam) in lieu of pasta.

3. Raw is good. Eat carrots raw instead of cooked; cooking changes the volume and pushes up the carb count slightly. In addition the sugar/starch is more readily available in cooked.

4. Ripening raises carbs. Certain fruits are lower in carbs before they’re fully ripe. A few slices of a green pear make a tart addition to a tossed salad without adding too many carbs. Grated green papaya makes a great slaw dressed with rice vinegar and sesame oil.

5. Serve a seaweed wrap. Roll sandwich fixings in nori, the sheet seaweed used for sushi, instead of wraps or tortillas. Avocado and either salmon or sliced chicken are a natural combo, as are tuna salad and shredded lettuce.

6. Go “halfsies.” Think of half a baked potato as a portion. Slice it lengthwise before baking so you won’t be tempted to eat the whole thing. When it’s done, mash the pulp with blue cheese, pesto or herb butter.

7Try flat breads. Some whole-grain flat breads are high in fiber and relatively low in Net Carbs, making them a good choice for open-faced sandwiches. Scandinavian bran crisps are even lower in carbs.

8. Make your own muesli or granola. Use rolled oats (give them a few pulses in a food processor), chopped nuts and seeds and ground flaxseed. Serve a half-cup portion with plain whole milk or Greek yogurt, some berries or half a chopped-up apple and some sweetener, if you wish.

9. Add fiber. Sprinkle small portions of barley, bulgur, buckwheat, wheat berries or wild rice onto salads or soups for a texture and fiber treat without much carb impact.

10.  Go for soy. Make chili and similar dishes with black soybeans. A half-cup of cooked beans contains only 1 gram of Net Carbs, compared to almost 13 grams for black beans.

Every three months I like to summarize the latest low-carb research and how it relates to the principles of Atkins and low-carb diets in general. In this edition of the Research Update, I highlight several recent studies that demonstrate the benefits of consuming adequate protein, healthy fats, how diet and lifestyle impact such conditions as Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Type 2 Diabetes, Epilepsy, Inflammation, and how lowering carbohydrate consumption can improve health markers.

Here’s what has happened in the last three months:

 

1.  Quantitative Analysis of Dietary Protein Intake and Stroke Risk.

Authors:  Z. Zhang, G. Xu, F. Yang, W. Zhu, X.

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24920855

Neurology, June 2014

BACKGROUND: Stroke is a major cause of death and permanent disability worldwide.  Therefore, primary prevention of stroke is of utmost importance. Lifestyle factors have important roles in stroke prevention, and dietary protein intake has received great interest.

METHODS: The meta-analysis included seven prospective studies involving 254,489 participants. The authors conducted the literature search on PubMed and Embase through November 2013 using the key words “protein intake” combined with “stroke,” “cerebrovascular disease,” “cerebrovascular disorder” and “cerebrovascular accident.”
 
CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that moderate dietary protein intake may lower the risk of stroke.

What does this mean to you?  Consuming adequate levels of protein is one of the main nutritional principles of the Atkins Diet and Lifestyle approach. Protein provides satiety, keeps blood sugar levels consistent, preserves and builds muscle, and it helps the body burn more calories.  And as this study shows, protein intake may also lower your risk of stroke. 


2.  Retrospective Study on the Efficacy of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Impaired Glucose Tolerance

S. Maekwa, T. Kawahara, R. Nomura, et al.  http://www.dovepress.com/retrospective-study-on-the-efficacy-of-a-low-carbohydrate-diet-for-imp-a17206

Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy; June 13, 2014

BACKGROUND: In recent years, the number of people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) has increased steadily worldwide. It is clear that diabetes prevention is important from the perspective of public health, medical care and economics. It was recently reported that a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) is useful for achieving weight loss and glycemic control, but there is no information about the effects of the LCD on IGT (impaired glucose tolerance).

METHODS: Researchers designed a seven-day in-hospital educational program focused on the LCD for IGT.  The subjects were 72 patients with IGT who were enrolled from April 2007 through March 2012, and they were followed for 12 months.

CONCLUSION: The LCD is effective for normalizing blood glucose and preventing progression to type-2 diabetes in patients with IGT.

What does this means to you? Even with conservative reduction of carbohydrates (approximately 100 grams per day), you can stabilize blood glucose levels and prevent the progression into type-2 diabetes. 


3.  Advice to Follow a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Has a Favourable Impact on Low-Grade Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes Compared With Advice to Follow a Low-Fat Diet.

Authors:  Lena Jonasson, Hans Guldbrand, Anna K. Lundberg & Fredrik H. Nystrom

Ann Med. May 2014 

 http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07853890.2014.894286

BACKGROUND: Inflammation may play an important role in type-2 diabetes. It has been proposed that dietary strategies can help control inflammation, which can increase the risk of many conditions, such as heart disease.

METHODS: The authors investigated the effects of diet on type-2 diabetes patients, who followed either a traditional low-fat diet (LFD) or a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD).  The authors studied the impact on inflammation by tracking various biomarkers.

CONCLUSION: The effect on weight loss was the same for the patients following the LCD or LFD.  However, only the LCD was found to significantly improve inflammation in type-2 diabetes patients.

What does this mean to you? This study shows that following a low-carbohydrate diet can have other beneficial health benefits beyond weight loss such as reducing inflammation in the body.


4.  A Randomized Pilot Trial of a Moderate Carbohydrate Diet Compared to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet in Overweight or Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Prediabetes. 

Authors:  Laura R. Saslow, Sarah Kim, Jennifer J. Daubenmier, Judith T. Moskowitz, Stephen D. Phinney, et al.

PLOSOne, April 2014

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0091027

BACKGROUND: Research has shown that cutting back on carbs may help control symptoms of diabetes.

METHODS: The authors compared the effects of moderate carbohydrate diet (MCD) and very low carbohydrate Diet (VLCD) on health-related outcomes in overweight or obese adults with type-2 diabetes or prediabetes. Participants were also taught diet information and psychological skills to promote behavior change and maintenance.

CONCLUSION:  The VLCD participants had improved blood glucose biomarker (HbA1c), and 44% of them discontinued one or more diabetes medications. In the MCD group, 11% of participants discontinued one or more diabetes medications. The VLCD group also lost more weight than the MCD group.

What does this mean to you?  These results suggest that a very-low-carbohydrate diet, plus learning skills to promote behavior change, may improve glycemic control in type-2 diabetes and decrease the use of diabetes medications.

 

5.  Use of the Modified Atkins Diet in Lennox Gastaut Syndrome.

Authors:  S. Sharma, P. Jain, S. Guloti, et al.

J. Child Neruol., March 2014 

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24659735

BACKGROUND:  There is scanty data regarding the efficacy and tolerability of the Modified Atkins Diet in children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

METHODS: This study was a retrospective review of children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome treated with the Modified Atkins Diet from May 2009 to March 2011.

CONCLUSION:  The Modified Atkins Diet was found to be effective and well tolerated in children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. All nine children studied had a >50% reduction in seizure frequency.

What does this mean to you?  The Modified Atkins Diet can be used as a therapeutic diet for patients suffering from epilepsy and other related illnesses, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. (a rare and often debilitating form of childhood-onset epilepsy)


6. The Modified Atkins Diet in Refractory Epilepsy.

Authors:  S. Sharma, P. Jain

Epilepsy Res. Treat., January 2014

  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3929267/

BACKGROUND:  Recent studies have shown good efficacy and tolerability of the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) in the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

METHODS:  In this review, authors discuss the use of the MAD in refractory epilepsy.

CONCLUSION:  MAD is an effective therapy for patients with refractory epilepsy. It is less restrictive and more palatable than the classic ketogenic diet. MAD is a prudent therapeutic option, especially for older children and adolescents, as it is a more “liberalized” diet as compared to classic ketogenic diet.

What does this mean to you?  The Modified Atkins Diet can be used as a therapeutic diet for patients suffering from epilepsy and other related illnesses.

 

You don’t have to go far to see the term “gluten-free” on store shelves or restaurant menus. Gluten is the protein in wheat that gives dough its elasticity, and many people now claim to feel healthier and better (and even lose weight) when they don’t eat gluten or cut back on it. For those with celiac disease (about 1% of the population), eating foods containing gluten can cause everything from irritability and depression or abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea. About 6% of the population has been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, and, most likely due to a higher understanding of and bigger emphasis on food allergies, digestive health and genetic modification of grains, a quarter of Americans are cutting down on gluten or going gluten-free. When you avoid or cut back on gluten, you are naturally eliminating a highly processed grain, which explains why Atkins can be a gluten-free-friendly weight-loss program.

In early Phases, the whole foods recommended on Atkins have always been gluten free. You may even discover your sensitivity to carbohydrates and gluten when you first start Atkins and eliminate carbohydrate dense foods during Induction. If you start to feel worse once you reintroduce grains or flour in later Phases, you may have a reduced ability to process them, a kind of carb intolerance. And you may be sensitive to gluten. If you are sensitive to gluten, even complex carbs like whole-grain wheat could wreak havoc on your ability to lose weight and lead to a variety of other health woes. Although gluten free and low-carb are not one and the same, you can follow Atkins and be completely gluten free. As you progress through the Phases, once you hit Phases 3 and 4, closely watch your body’s reaction to whole grains. If you start experiencing discomfort or you are unable to continue to lose weight or maintain your weight loss, slowly cut back on the new carbs you have introduced until you start feeling better.

Your Guide to Gluten

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains. These include but are not limited to:
   White Flour
   Whole Wheat Flour
   Durum Wheat
   Graham Flour
   Triticale
   Kamut
   Semolina
   Spelt
   Wheat Germ
   Wheat Bran

Common foods that are usually made with wheat include:
   Pasta
   Couscous
   Bread
   Flour Tortillas
   Cookies
   Cakes
   Muffins
   Pastries
   Cereal
   Crackers
   Beer
   Oats
   Gravy
   Dressings
   Sauces

You may not expect it, but the following foods can also contain gluten:
   Soups
   Breadcrumbs and croutons
   Some candies
   Fried foods
   Imitation fish
   Some lunch meats and hot dogs
   Malt
   Matzo
   Modified food starch
   Seasoned chips and other seasoned snack foods
   Salad dressings
   Self-basting turkey
   Soy sauce
   Seasoned rice and pasta mixes

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
next >>