SUGAR IN YOUR DIET: NOT SO SWEET

Argues Atkins Diet and Gary Taubes, Author of Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

"What people don't realize about Atkins™ is that low-carb means a low-sugar approach to eating," said Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc., VP of Nutrition and Education at Atkins. "Atkins agrees with Taubes in that sugar – not fat or calories – is America's real dietary nemesis. At Atkins, we educate people as to how refined carbs and sugar affect their weight and overall health profile.  We offer a sustainable eating lifestyle that balances protein, healthy fats, and select carbohydrates."

What is Sugar?

Sugar comes in two forms: naturally occurring ones found in foods containing carbohydrates and added sugars, like sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup, which aren't integral to a food.  The average American consumes 154 pounds of added sugar annually, translating to a whopping 750 calories a day. Eliminate added sugars all together, reduce (but don't eliminate) your intake of natural sugars, and you're well on your way to controlling your weight and improving your health.

How Carbs and Sugar Affect Weight

As outlined in the bestselling The New Atkins for a New You, doctors Eric Westman, Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek argue that the more refined carbs or sugars you consume, the more your insulin levels shoot up to remove the glucose in your blood and store it as fat. At the same time, insulin blocks the release of stored fat from your fat cells.  As long as we turn glucose into fat and insulin keeps it there, we're doomed to being heavy. But by changing the balance of fats, carbs, and protein in your diet, as you do on Atkins, you limit this insulin response and convert your body to primarily burning fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

Play Spot the Sugar

Practically every item in the center aisles of the supermarket contains added sugar. Learn how to spot it by reading both the Nutrition Facts panel and the list of product ingredients.  Obvious culprits include soft drinks, baked goods, juice and fruit drinks, desserts, candy and sweetened cereals, but you'll find added sugars hiding in salad dressings, applesauce, barbecue sauce, and even baby food. These empty sugars have been implicated in the epidemic of obesity, as well as in a host of health problems from dental cavities to metabolic syndrome.

As you prowl the supermarket, be on the alert for these words on packages: agave syrup, brown syrup, cane juice, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystallized cane juice, date sugar, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, fruit syrups, galactose and glucose. Wow! Take a breath and continue on your search for golden syrup, high-fructose corn syrup (HFSC), honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, rice syrup, sorghum, sucrose, sweetened carob powder, treacle and turbinado. Amazingly, this is not a complete list!

Tweak What You Eat

Remodel meals and snacks into low-sugar and low-carb versions at minimal effort and expense.  For example:

   

HIGH-SUGAR/ CARB

LOW-SUGAR/CARB

 

Breakfast:  A typical meal of an 8-ounce glass of OJ (21 g of sugar), a bowl of crunchy bran cereal (21 g) with half a cup of skim milk (6 g), and coffee with another ounce of skim milk (1.5 g) equals almost 50 g of sugar!

Breakfast: Instead, have a couple of eggs with a quarter-cup of sautéed spinach and an ounce of Cheddar cheese. Even with a tablespoon of cream in your coffee, you're looking at 0 grams of sugar.

 

Lunch: Say you heat up a cup of tomato soup (10 g  of sugar) to have with a green salad tossed with 2 tablespoons of bottled low-fat honey mustard  dressing (5 g) and half a bottle of sweetened vitamin water  (15 g). This "light" lunch leaves you feeling sluggish by late afternoon.

Lunch: Try a salad topped with sliced chicken and dressed with vinaigrette plus a cup of beef broth. It makes a filling lunch with only about 1 g of sugar.

 

Snack: A 6 oz container of a well-known brand of low-fat lemon yogurt. Another 31 g of sugar!

Snack: Instead, have a half-cup of cottage cheese with a quarter-cup of blueberries for 6 (3 plus 3) sugar grams.

 
   
   
Break the Sugar Habit

Once you focus on eating whole foods, the basis of the Atkins lifestyle, you'll find that you don't crave those with added sugar. Instead, vegetables, berries and other fruits, nuts, and whole grains as well as a variety of protein sources, olive oil and other healthy, natural fats leave you satisfied and in control of your appetite. And because your sugar intake is low, you'll be more likely to burn your body fat for energy.

About Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. is a leading player in the $2.4 billion weight control nutrition category, and offers a powerful lifetime approach to weight loss and weight management. The Atkins Diet focuses on a healthy diet with reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars and encourages the consumption of protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables and good fats. Backed by research and consumer success stories, this approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping individuals feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., manufactures and sells a variety of nutrition bars, foods and shakes designed around the nutritional principles of the Atkins Diet™. Atkins' four product lines: Advantage®, Day Break™, Endulge™ and Cuisine™ appeal to a broad audience of both men and women who want to achieve their weight management goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Atkins products are available in more than 30,000 locations throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit atkins.com.

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Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this Site is intended to provide health care advice. Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider. Consult your physician or health care provider before beginning the Atkins Diet as you would any other weight loss or weight maintenance program. The weight loss phases of the Atkins Diet should not be used by persons on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women.