Sunday, April 02, 2006

Desperate enough for Atkins?

Acceptable Foods

These are the foods you may eat liberally during Induction:

All fish, All fowl, Allshellfish, All meat, All eggs,

*Oysters and mussels are higher in carbs than other shellfish, so limit them to four ounces per day.

**Processed meats, such as ham, bacon, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs and other luncheon meats—and some fish—may be cured with added sugar and will contribute carbs. Try to avoid meat and fish products cured with nitrates, which are known carcinogens. Also beware of products that are not exclusively meat, fish or fowl, such as imitation fish, meatloaf and breaded foods. Finally, do not consume more than four ounces of organ meats a day.

You can consume three to four ounces daily of the following full-fat, firm, soft and semisoft aged cheeses*, including:

* cheddar
* cow, sheep and goat cheese
* cream cheese
* Gouda
* mozzarella
* Roquefort and other blue cheeses
* Swiss

*All cheeses have some carbohydrate content. The quantity you eat should be governed by that knowledge. The rule of thumb is to count 1 ounce of cheese as equivalent to 1 gram of carbohydrate. Note that cottage cheese, farmer’s cheese and other fresh cheeses are not permitted during Induction. No "diet" cheese, cheese spreads or whey cheeses are permitted. Individuals with known yeast symptoms, dairy allergy or cheese intolerance must avoid cheese. Imitation cheese products are not allowed, except for soy or rice cheese—but check the carbohydrate content.

You can have three cups per day of:

* mushrooms
* endive
* parsley
* bok choy
* peppers
* celery
* fennel
* radicchio
* chicory
* radishes
* chives
* lettuce
* romaine lettuce
* cucumber
* sorrel

These salad vegetables are high in phytonutrients and provide a good source of fiber.

Other Vegetables
You can have one cup per day of these veggies if salad does not exceed three cups. The following vegetables are slightly higher in carbohydrate content than the salad vegetables:

* artichoke
* pumpkin
* artichoke hearts
* rhubarb
* asparagus
* chard
* sauerkraut
* bamboo shoots
* scallions
* bean sprouts
* spaghetti squash
* beet greens
* eggplant
* spinach
* broccoli
* string or wax beans
* kale
* summer squash
* brussels
* tomato
* bean sprouts
* leeks
* turnips
* cabbage
* okra
* water chestnuts
* cauliflower
* onion
* zucchini

If a vegetable, such as spinach or tomato, cooks down significantly, it must be measured raw so as not to underestimate its carb count.

Salad Garnishes

* crumbled crisp bacon
* grated cheese
* minced hard-boiled egg
* sautéed mushrooms
* sour cream
* Spices
* All spices to taste, but make sure none contain added sugar.
* Herbs
* basil
* garlic
* rosemary
* cayenne pepper
* ginger
* sage
* oregano
* tarragon
* dill
* pepper
* thyme

For salad dressing, use oil and vinegar or lemon juice and herbs and spices. Prepared salad dressings without added sugar and no more than two carbs per tablespoon serving are also fine.

Acceptable Fats and Oils
Many fats, especially certain oils, are essential to good nutrition. Olive oil is particularly valuable. All other vegetable oils are allowed, the best being canola, walnut, soybean, grapeseed, sesame, sunflower and safflower oils, especially if they are labeled "cold-pressed" or "expeller-pressed." Do not cook polyunsaturated oils, such as corn, soybean and sunflower oil, at high temperatures or allow to brown or smoke.

Butter is allowed. Margarine should be avoided, not because of its carbohydrate content, but because it is usually made of trans fats (hydrogenated oils), which are a health hazard. (Some nonhydrogenated margarines are now available.)
You don't have to remove the skin and fat from meat or fowl. Salmon and other cold-water fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Remember that trying to do a low-fat version of the Atkins Nutritional ApproachTM may interfere with fat burning and derail your weight loss.

Artificial Sweeteners
You must determine which artificial sweeteners agree with you, but the following are allowed: sucralose (marketed as Splenda™), saccharin, cyclamate and acesulfame-K. Natural sweeteners ending in the suffix "-ose," such as maltose, etc., should be avoided. However, most sugar alcohols have a minimal effect on blood sugar and are acceptable.

Saccharin has been extensively studied, and harmful effects were produced in the lab when fed to rats only in extremely high doses. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has removed saccharin from its list of carcinogens, basing its decision upon a thorough review of the medical literature and the National Institute of Science’s statement that there is "no clear association between saccharin and human cancer." It can be safely consumed in moderation, meaning no more than three packets a day. Saccharin is marketed as Sweet'n Low™.

The Atkins preference, however, is sucralose (Splenda™), the only sweetener made from sugar. Sucralose is safe, noncaloric and does not raise blood sugar. It has been used in Canada for years, and the FDA approved it after reviewing more than 100 studies conducted over the past 20 years. Note that each packet of sugar substitute contains about 1 gram of carbohydrate, so don’t forget to include the amount in your daily totals.

Acceptable Beverages
Be sure to drink a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, including:

* Filtered water
* Mineral water
* Spring water
* Tap water

Additionally, you can have the following:

* Clear broth/bouillon (not all brands; read the label)
* Club soda
* Cream, heavy or light (limit to two to three tablespoons a day; note carbohydrate content)
* Decaffeinated coffee or tea*
* Diet soda made with sucralose (Splenda™); be sure to count the carbs
* Essence-flavored seltzer (must say "no calories")
* Herb tea (without barley or any fruit sugar added)
* Lemon juice or lime juice (note that each contains 2.8 grams carbohydrate per ounce); limit to two to three tablespoons

Special Category Foods

To add variety, each day you can also eat 10 to 20 olives, half a small avocado, an ounce of sour cream or three ounces of unsweetened heavy cream, as well as two to three tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice. But be aware that these foods occasionally slow down weight loss in some people, and may need to be avoided in the first two weeks. If you seem to be losing slowly, moderate your intake of these foods.

Convenience Foods
Although it is important that you eat primarily unprocessed foods, some controlled carb food products can come in handy when you are unable to find appropriate food, can’t take time for a meal or need a quick snack. More and more companies are creating healthy food products that can be eaten during the Induction phase of Atkins. Just remember two things:

1. Not all convenience food products are the same, so check labels and carbohydrate content. (See the Online Store for Atkins brand products.)
2. While any of these foods can make doing Atkins easier, don’t overdo it. Remember, you must always follow The Rules of Induction.


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