You Don't Need to Count All Carbs the Same Way
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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. But 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.
Consider the possibilities! 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
Our thanks to the Atkins Center for the information
contained on these pages. These articles give you a basic overview of the Atkins Approach for
Weight Loss and Good Health, but they are not a substitute for reading the books for the details of this
plan (or the book for whatever low carb plan you choose to follow.)