How the Atkins Diet works – Phase I: Induction


You don’t need to count all carbs the same way. Once you know which carbs impact on your blood sugar and which do not, you can eat more of foods that give you a “free ride.”

Carbohydrate is a major category of food, including all the fruits, vegetables, grains and starches. If you choose to adhere to the Atkins Nutritional Approach™ for a lifetime, you must bring some exacting standards to the process of deciding what carbohydrate foods you intend to eat. That way you can fashion a great way to eat long term—not simply a weight-loss regimen.’, ‘When doing Atkins, you will control the number of grams of carbohydrates you eat and will focus on certain food groups rather than others. One reason you will need to do this is because not all carbohydrate found in food is created equal.

Most carbohydrate is digested by your body and turned into glucose—and most nutritionists refer to this as digestible carbohydrate. However, some carbohydrate can be digested by your body but not turned into glucose (glycerin is one example), and some carbohydrate is not digestible at all, such as fiber, and is therefore eventually excreted by your body.

These last two types of carbohydrate don”t have an impact on your blood-sugar levels. Understanding the different behavior of carbohydrate in your body can help you make smart food choices.

Food labels indicate how much fiber is in a product, but you cannot necessarily rely on food labels. Unfortunately, in 2001 the Food and Drug Administration rejected a request by numerous health-food manufacturers to allow nondigestible and nonmetabolized carbohydrates to be listed separately on packaging.

Such labeling would have given diabetics and other people with glucose/insulin disorders the information upon which to make health-promoting decisions.

The Carbs That Count

The fact that fiber is not converted to blood sugar makes for an interesting benefit for people doing Atkins, allowing you to sneak in a few extra carbs in the form of high-fiber foods. Be aware that “sneaking,” is most definitely not the same thing as cheating.

Let”s compare a cookie made of white flour and sugar with a couple of fiber-rich crackers. Both contain 10 grams of carbs, but there the similarity ends. Eat the cookie and you”ll send all 10 grams of carbs coursing into your bloodstream.

When you chomp into the crackers (which have, say, 4 grams of fiber) only 6 of those 10 grams impact on your blood sugar. Basically, you can deduct the grams of fiber from the food”s total carb count. The net number of grams are the carbs that count when you do Atkins. In the case of those crackers, you got a 4 gram free ride.

By merely choosing fiber-rich foods over their flab-inducing, refined counterparts, you can benefit your health and get more bang for your carbohydrate buck. And determining which carbs count is simple: Check the total fiber grams listed on the food label and subtract that number from the total grams of carbohydrate listed.