Atkins, Greed and the Fairy Tale Cookies

Atkins High Carb Cookies

Can you eat cookies on a low carb diet? The Atkins company claims that you can and sells them in all kinds of flavors. After having a look at the ingredients I can just laugh at the irony.

In my online “Food Revolution” presentation I used the cookies as one example of fake low carb products. Commercial junk that stops weight loss and makes people (rightly) lose all their respect for low carb. I called the marketing a “fairy tale”.

After more than a hundred thousand views of the video on YouTube, the Atkins company just started paying attention. Yesterday they sent me a mail: 

The mail

Hello Dr. Eenfeldt,
I follow your site and recently watched your presentation “The Food Revolution” on YouTube and thought you may be interested in seeing the latest research tables supporting Atkins and low-carb diets that Colette Heimowitz, VP of Nutrition Communication at ANI has generated. There are more than 80 independent, peer-reviewed studies backing the safety and efficacy of the Atkins Diet. As you know, low carbohydrate eating is a time-tested and scientifically validated diet plan. They are attached.

I also would like to provide you with correct information about Atkins products. Atkins products have been clinically tested for blood sugar responses using the glycemic load methodology; (http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/3/1/33). We take pride in offering our customers products that have a minimal glycemic impact. There are simply some consumers who need a low sugar alternative to high sugar habits for better compliance.

In your presentation you showcase an Atkins brand cookie and highlight it as a “fairy tale” option that is high in carbohydrates, when in fact the Atkins cookies are a smarter option – than a regular cookie would be – as they contain zero sugar and only 5 grams net carbs. Here is a link to learn more about the nutritional content: http://www.atkins.com/Products/Endulge/Chocolate-Creme-Sandwich-Cookies.aspx

I’d also be happy to send you a copy of the new Atkins cookbook “The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook” by Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. featuring 200 simple and delicious low-carb recipes. Please let me know your mailing address.
Thanks for your consideration. Please let me know if you’d like to speak with Colette who can offer additional insights. I am happy to keep you informed about the latest news from Atkins.

Best regards,
Aliza Rothman

The marketing

Endulge

The reality

Here are the cookie nutrition facts from the Atkins website:

Cookie nutrition

My reply

Hi Aliza,

The biggest ingredient in your cookie is wheat flour. It’s loaded with carbs, i.e. calling it low carb is obviously a fairy tale.

Also, subtracting 100% of the sugar alcohol from “net carbs” is misleading to your customers as about half of the maltitol is absorbed.

Regarding the studies you attach I agree: low carb works fine. The problem is that your cookies are not low carb.

Sincerely,
Andreas Eenfeldt

A tip

How do you know that the marketing of a packaged low carb product is a fairy tale? In my experience the following simple rule is true at least 99 percent of the time:

If they use the words “net carbs” it’s not low carb, it’s high carb.

What do you think about this?

More

Low carb bread: Another fairy tale bites the dust

The Dreamfields Pasta Fraud

Real low carb food: LCHF for beginners 

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83 comments

  1. My wife bought a £20 quids worth of low-carb stuff from a website in the UK. After looking at the ingredients, it was just like the above, high carb.

    We ditched the lot.

    The website was misleading as it didn't highlight all the nutritional information. Very disappointed.

  2. Julie Williamson
    Hey Doc,

    I love this post! When I tell people I'm lchf (8 months now and couldn't be happier!) they always say "is that like atkins?" and I try to distance myself from atkins because of products like the one featured in this post!

    Also, I love your banner pic today :) The best thing about lchf is I feel that it fit perfectly in with a normal lifestyle and I have no trouble sticking to it!

    -- Julie

  3. As resident LCHF alcoholic, I also approve of today's banner.
  4. Bill
    According to the product's Nutrition Facts label, a serving size of 1 bar (34g) has a total carbohydrate content of 23g. So each bar is 67.6% carbohydrate. How is this low carb?

    Also, each bar contains 12g of sugar alcohols (listed in the ingredients as Isomalt and Maltitol) and the recommended maximum daily intake is 50g for adults and 25g for children (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isomalt).

    So don't give your kids more than two...

    Perhaps one of these might be better? http://ex-lax.com/product-choc.shtml

    ;-)

  5. mezzo
    For me eating low carb means eating real food. I try to stay away from convenience as much as I can (except frozen veges) and never buy Ersatz. If I want a cookie, I will eat the real thing - homemade, if possible because most of the bought stuff is made with crap ingredients. Money rules, OK? Never forget that. I also find that most people who eat these so-called LC-products and other Ersatz-stuff do not really make a change in the way they are eating. They just fill in their high-carb diet with what they believe are LC-Products but they do not change their eating habits. And then they complain that "low-carb doesn't work".
  6. Fiona
    I completely agree with Mezzo. I'm interested eating in a way that resists the mainstream dietary advice, but which also resists industrialised food as much as I can. And packets of low-carb pseudo-food just don't cut the mustard!
  7. Jonathan
    They can claim lowcarb because none of it has time to digest. You'll be on the toilet in a few minutes from the maltitol and isomalt.

    I have found wheat avoidance the number one thing that made lowcarb "doable" compared to when I tried Atkins the first couple of times.

  8. Alexandra M
    I really don't know. When we first went LC ten years ago, we did use some of these products - (not cookies, just bread and tortillas, not a lot and not every day) - and the weight just fell off at the rate of 1/2 lb per day. Now I've almost completely eliminated them, mostly because they contain soy which I don't trust, and I can barely shed an ounce without really trying.

    For a long time we swore by Dreamfields pasta and had it once a week, but after reading the article here we've given it up. It hasn't made any difference. Quite a few people over on the Dreamfields thread say they have tested their own blood sugar after eating it and feel that their own response is within acceptable limits.

    I think that things like LC cookies are a bad idea because they promote the idea that sweet treats are a necessary part of one's daily diet, but I do see a use for things like Carb Style bread: one my favorite things in life is a gooey, buttery, crunchy grilled (toasted) cheese sandwich, and you just can't make one of those without bread of some kind. I keep a loaf in the freezer for when the craving becomes unbearable (it's been a couple of months).

    The only thing to do is to perform an independent Randomized Controlled Trial to establish the answers once and for all.

    But if I'm going to have a cookie, it's going to be a REAL cookie!

  9. FrankG
    If I found these cookies in a shop, then one look at that nutritional label and I would put this product back on the shelf.

    It is a shame that Atkins are aligned with such products because I also feel it dilutes the low carb message.

    I am also with mezzo in that I strive to nourish myself with real whole food, and if on some very rare occasion that included a cookie or some cake: I'd be looking for the version with the shortest and most straightforward and recognizable list of ingredients... preferably home-made.

    I've been accused of being a "purist" on diabetic forums because I struggle to understand why some folks need to make low carb pancakes and the like. To me it is the same as some vegetarians making soy-burgers or even fabricating an whole turkey look-alike for Thanksgiving! It is their choice to be sure, but with so much variety of real food available to us, if we open our eyes and look around the World... why limit our choices?

    I have never trusted "pretend" food.. even before I understood why, it was butter rather than margarine for me ;-)

  10. Mark.
    To make things worse, mannitol seems to be the most popular sugar alcohol in sugar-free candies, at least in the widely-available brands here in the USA. This was not the case a few years ago. It seems to have displaced less-harmful alternatives like Isomalt. Is it simply cheaper? Tastier?
  11. Isobel Riel
    "Yes it is, if you mean real original Atkins and not the processed products peddled by those tarnishing his name."
  12. Chelle
    Thank you. I am a newbie with the lchf agenda. I am in a group and they did bring the labeling of the Atkins products to our attention. Because we know what to look for we were able to avoid that pitfall of the "imaginary low carb cookie". We are encouraged to do natural wholefoods as much as we can. The Atkins products are for emergency only, in my house. I will keep a product in the glove box for when I need something to eat.
  13. These Fairy Tale Cookies are not what I would call low-carb. Definitely not.
    But, I think that it is important to distinguish the company that now makes these cookies (trying to cash in on the increased interest in the low-carb nutrition) from Dr. Atkins’s legacy and from the benefits of the low-carb lifestyle. Dr. Atkins was a physician who was interested in preventative medicine and in helping his patients regain and maintain their health with low-cab nutrition vs. massive medication. He helped thousands of people to regain their health and their lives.
    By the way, after Dr. Atkins’s death in 2003, his widow sold the company that now makes Fairy Tale Cookies and she used money from the sale to establish the Atkins Foundation. When the company was sold, it was on the verge of bankruptcy and, I guess, the Fairy Tale Cookies helped with turning the company around.
    Now, when it comes to cookies in general, they are often associated with holidays and quality time spent with family and friends. I could not have imagined a holiday without cookies when I was eating a high-carb and low-fat diet. I craved cookies and sweets all the time. I don’t crave them anymore now that I am in nutritional ketosis. However, during holidays, I do make some cookies and I do eat one or two of those that I make but only not to alienate my family and friends who are not on a low-carb diet.
    The cookies that I make are based on ground almonds and eggs. I use Xylitol instead of sugar. Xylitol is a bit scary but not as scary as sugar and since I use Xylitol once in a blue moon and since I use it in very low quantities, I think that it is a risk I am willing to take. (Peter Attia has a great post on his blog about sugar substitutes.)
  14. kitty
    It will always be about the money, especially here in America. People don't want to give up junk food, so why shouldn't others make money providing them with it? I don't blame Atkins. I blame the grown people who refuse to change their eating habits. Regularly consuming artificially sweet (either natural or artificial sweetener) foods prevents people from appreciating the natural taste of real food. Even sweet fruit like mango, bananas and grapes are not as sweet as a candy bar made with any type of sweetener.

    Fake junk food is simply not as satisfying as the real thing. If you desperately want cookies, go ahead and have the real thing. Buy a small pack with only four cookies and savor it. Then remind yourself how harmful it is, which is why it should be a treat and not a daily addition to your diet. Anyone doing LCHF who has constant cravings for sweets is not doing it the right way.

  15. Failure on Low Carb diets is almost always due to frankenfoods made with faux sweeteners. Had this problem myself. Artficial sweeteners and sugar alcohols induce carb cravings (see Sugaraholicscom). Atkins was ahead of the game with low carb, but there was little known about them in the sixties when he was developing his plan, and very few in existence.
  16. JGW
    As an Atkins follower, I would just like to say that not all of us buy into the products put out by the company. Many of us follow the true spirit of the plan by eating whole foods and staying away from stuff like this. It's unfortunate that products like these are out there taking away from the message Dr. Atkins had. To write off the whole Atkins plan, just based on the creation of these products by a company out to make money, would be a shame. The books (especially the older versions written by the man himself) are full of wisdom and a passion for true LCHF. Nowhere in the true Atkins plan does it say to eat any of the products.
  17. If it comes in a box or a can with "wheat" anywhere in the ingredients list, it is not suitable for a low-carb diet. Actually, it's not fit for human consumption.
  18. It's a shame, the Atkins diet by itself is very healthy and the latest book is really good. Well researched, Dr. Eric Westman and the other authors did a great job to write it in an easily understandable way. Its unfortunate that the Atkins corporation tries to make money by selling highly processed food.
  19. Alexandra M
    The copy of Dr Atkins' book (2002, revised by him) that I have included recipes calling for "Atkins Bake Mix." My husband used to make a zucchini bread that he really loved using it (I couldn't stand it!).
  20. Susan
    Please consider being less critical of Atkins products. While the concerns about “fake sweets” are totally legitimate, the world of low carb eating shouldn’t be perfectionistic. There are no perfect foods, and we should “not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” There is room for many approaches under the Low Carb/Primal/Paleo umbrella. As in politics, we should all be in a “big tent.”

    I believe Atkins products (and other “fake sweets”) are useful for people when they begin to lose weight, or when they are adjusting to radical changes in their day-to-day eating. They may help people stay away from totally going off low carb and binging on sweets. My experience is that I have lost over 100 pounds on low carb (essentially Atkins), and have about 30 pounds more to go. I view my weight loss to be a three stage process, two stages of which I have completed.

    Stage 1: While losing the first 70 pounds, I ate Atkins products liberally and lost weight effortlessly.

    Stage 2: For the next 30 pounds, I had to struggle more, ate fewer Atkins products (and similar “fake sweets”), and lost at half the rate of the first 70 pounds.

    Stage 3: Now I am struggling, and will be eliminating artificial sweeteners as much as possible. I believe artificial sweeteners are stimulating the insulin response in my stomach (incretins), and I will need to cut them out to lower my insulin levels and continue my weight loss. (I am adding other strategies to lower insulin also, such as exercise, further cutting carbs, etc.)

    While Atkins products may not be the ideal diet, they are useful for some people in some circumstances. (I am not affiliated with Atkins in any way.)

  21. Funderaren
    Susan, I see Atkins product as just the other side of the spectrum of dietproducts. Dietproducts is more part of the problem then part of the solution.

    LCHF aims to eat natural food and stay away from factory products. The quicker people understand that there doesnt exist any lowcarb sweets the better.

  22. Heidi
    If you think the cookies are high carb, check out the pasta...not sure how it varies at all from regular commercial brands. I find it ironic that the Atkins rep sent you research on the Atkins diet...she says she follows your blog, and yet thinks you're somehow not familiar with this very popular LC lifestyle and the work of one of our 'forefathers'. I also find it distressing that every time their motives or products are questioned, they drop Collette Heimowitz's name, as if that validates everything they do...yes, Collette's work is wonderful, and her commitment to this cause is unquestionable. Yes, the research is valid. Yes, Dr. Atkins' work is valid, no one questions any of that. Does that mean that all of your products and claims are valid? I think not. Atkins went off the rails a long time ago. The company is product sales driven, which it should be...after all, it's a corporation, not a cause. I think the most telling fact to remember is that LC is not all the parent company does...it's just one of the 'health food' markets it capitalizes on. The vast majority of people selling this stuff within the company do not eat low carb, and are not followers of the lifestyle. I do, however appreciate the community that they've created, the books, the informative website, and materials that they publish to promote the Atkins lifestyle...that part they get right, and they do a great deal of good in that vein. There are so many ways to create foods that aren't full of sugar alcohols and crap ingredients, but that's expensive...look at how expensive the products are already...can you imagine if they used good, wholesome, natural ingredients? I think that part of the problem is that when you have people (in any company producing LC products) who aren't committed to the lifestlye, or 'off sugar', you end up with products that are waaaaay to sweet for those of us who are (thus the 'candy' coating and cloyingly oversweet flavor of every single bar/snack/candy product Atkins produces), and a tendancy to assume we want all that crap we know is not good for us. Not sure what kind of research they do with those of us who actually subscribe to this way of life to make ourselves HEALTHIER, not just THINNER at all costs. Just look at their marketing...all the emphasis on making yourself 'sexier'...how about actually improving your health and saving your life? Isn't THAT what Dr. Atkins was all about, and don't you think that this is the point you should be emphasizing if you're talking about a 'lifestyle', rather than a 'diet' to help you drop some weight and get into that sexy red dress, or look like a celebrity? I think they'd do better if they offered products that actually benefitted those on the lifestyle, rather than placated them with imitations of junk food. That said, I do think that any improvement for most people who are in need of a change to LCHF is a step in the right direction, and that to save their lives, some folks DO need to replicate sugary, familiar snacks in order to begin, or stay on track, with a lifestyle that is usually, regardless of these products, MUCH lower in carb content than before. I always say, save your life first, and that's what a lot of folks on Atkins are doing, regardless of whether they eat the cookies. Are they good, whole food choices? Obviously not. But do they serve a purpose for those who choose to eat them? Maybe. Unfortunately, carbs are addictive, and so consuming these products that increase cravings and therefore probably decrease control of portion size, and may stall weight loss, so that has to be accounted for, but unfortunately that will never be on the labelling.
  23. Janknitz
    On some of the forums I see people who are entirely dependent on products claiming to be low carb friendly, gluten free, and sugar free. Often they are not low carb, they are still full of starches, and so-called sugar free foods contain HFC and maltodextrin. The same people who will put this manufactured junk in their bodies are terrified of the real foods and especially fat that will help them break the cycle of starch and sugar that made them sick and fat in the first place.

    I get so frustrated sometimes I want to scream. Every week--every single week--there's someone who wants alternatives to HWC for coffee because of the saturated fat and calories, and someone will suggest one of the non dairy "sugar free" creamers that are full of HFC, maltodextrin, and other stuff that's not great for your body. Some contain titanium dioxide--the stuff that makes paint white.

    Andreas, I wish more could get your message--JUST EAT REAL FOOD!!!

  24. kitty
    Heidi: "Unfortunately, carbs are addictive, and so consuming these products that increase cravings and therefore probably decrease control of portion size, and may stall weight loss, so that has to be accounted for, but unfortunately that will never be on the labelling."

    Here is a short post from Dr John Briffa's blog. It explains why fake sugar does not help many people to lose weight. The fake sugars really do lead to more cravings in many people. And since these imitation products are made with high carbs, like wheat, people who eat too much of them (because they have been stimulated to want carbs) may gain weight.

    You are right that they are not going to invest the money into making foods with quality ingredients, like coconut flour or almond flour, instead of wheat flour. Unfortunately, many people who don't succeed in their weight loss efforts will blame LCHF instead of the fake foods.

    http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/01/14/artificial-sweeteners-fail-to-fool...

  25. Paul
    Eat real food people! Do NOT try to substitute crap food with even crappier "frankenfood",
    at some point it's not about the carbs, its about the chemicals you ingest.
  26. Galina L.
    Guys, lets face it together - we are not good for business. Sometimes I am even glad that there are vegetarians. It is they who keep my favorite health-food store which is full of organic junk, in business. I buy just very limited amount of food there - meat and organ meats, real pastured eggs, pastured butter, heavy pastured cream, small amount of veggies.
    I have no place for Atkins shakes or snacks because there are no food emergencies . If I don't have a time to eat, I fast. When to drink that shake if I eat two times a day, and one of meals usually consists of eggs and butter? With only one normal meal a day I even consume less veggies now, as a result I can afford to buy organic versions more often. I do eat sometimes something sweet with my coffee on weekend, and it usually a square or two of 90% chocolate from Wall-mart or 1/3 of banana which I cut into several thin slices.
  27. I don't fault ANA at all. In fact, I appreciate them. Do I think their products are frankenfood and shouldn't be consumed? Absolutely. But two years and a hundred pounds ago I needed something to lose weight. I did Atkins. I am now living Paleo, but if you had told me two years ago that I needed to be low carb AND give up cheese, wheat, beans and artificial sweeteners, I never would have done it. Atkins to me was a stepping stone. I had one of their shakes every day for the first year. I tried their bars but realized they stalled my weight loss and cut them out, even though I didn't understand why. Over the last two years, I have learned a lot and my eating patterns have changed as a result of that learning. I think Atkins is a fine place for people to get their toes wet before jumping in to a proper HFCL, real foods way of eating. And I really don't fault them for selling their products. They have to make money. How else would they pay for their FREE website with a wonderful community? Ultimately, it is the consumers' fault for not learning and doing their own research if they continue to buy the crappy products. In the mean time, Atkins is just serving up what the market demands. If that can be a stepping stone to eating real food for more people, then so be it. I am a fan.
    Reply: #71
  28. moreporkplease
    Brandon has a very good point - and I appreciate this personal experience, because he speaks for a lot of folks like himself, I'm sure.

    I think it's so important to separate the diet, the Atkins community, as well as Colette Heimowitz, Dr. Westman, Dr. Phinney, and Dr. Volek from the Corporation. Atkins Nutritionals (ANA) is now owned by a venture capital firm, and they are interested only in selling the cheapest products with the biggest logo.

    Those who actually worked with Dr. Atkins, such as Colette and Dr. Westman, remain with the "brand" out of affection for the late Dr. Atkins. He launched the products originally so he could raise money to conduct studies at a time when no one would do a low-carb study. If you speak to Colette on the Atkins community forum, she always encourages real food. She will tell you to "limit" the bars. She does not encourage eating them, which must make her capitalistic employers most displeased.

    And yet they do give her enough freedom to be honest, possibly because they need her, as she is just about their last link to the Dr. himself.

    If you go to the Atkins forum, they are the sweetest people there. The majority are middle-aged, very sick people - 100, 150, 200 lbs. to lose, T2D, heart disease - you name it. One lady there began at 430 pounds! She is now down to 200, due to the support and guidance of that loving community. The people on that forum are used to nothing but scorn due to their diabetes and size - so they are really very helpful and supportive. They will coach, they will guide, they cheerlead everyone. The Atkins forum is the best thing ANA does.

    The community members on the forum are very vocal about avoiding the products. The advice from them constantly is to regard the products as junk food. Everyone in the low-carb community - everyone in the Atkins community - all the doctors, and Colette - they are all in polite but vocal disagreement with how the capitalists who own ANA have run the brand.

    We must separate the Atkins community and Colette and the doctors from the actions of the corporation. If only the capitalists would come talk to the community - they would learn how to make profits without abusing the core messages of Dr. Atkins himself. Everyone would benefit.

    Reply: #83
  29. Alexandra M
    Very nice post, moreporkplease!
  30. Fiona
    Just adding another though. I would be interested to hear where Dr Eendfeldt stands on the occasional sweet treat? I realise that circumstances might be very different for people managing diabetes or who have struggled with obesity and managed their weight through LCHF, but otherwise it does happen that sugary treats are presented to us for cultural reasons from time to time.

    For example, a friend's birthday party with a lovely homemade cake, or a rare outing with a dear friend to a famous patisserie, and a slice of exquisite cake with my coffee.

    There are centuries of cultural traditions and foodways that include sugary and wheat foods - from the patisseries of France, to the 'Kaffe und Kuchen' on a Sunday afternoon in Germany, and so on. Sugar has become so pervasive in our society that it is now in everything - but it seems to me that these 'treat' foods have now been scooped up as part and parcel of all the other 1000s of sugary products and discarded. But the point was that once upon a time, these foods were 'treat' foods - eaten seldom and for special occasions.

    I'm not sure I want to see a world where the Blackforest Cake, the baclava and the tiramisu are no more! But I would like to see them regain their rightful place - as sweet 'treats', for occasional consumption, in a food environment cleansed of highly processed sugar-ridden everyday foods.

  31. yulaffin
    The Atkins bars were helpful to me when I first started low carb last year but once I joined some low carb forums and discovered recipes using almond meal and coconut flour, I was able to makw my own treats and kick the bars to the curb.
  32. Margaretrc
    Alexandra M., have you tried Muffin in a Minute made with almond flour and flax meal? It is very simple to make, takes no time (you bake it in the microwave) and split in half can be used to make a wonderful "gooey, buttery, crunchy grilled (toasted) cheese sandwich." Melt some butter and or coconut oil in a 2 cup ramekin. I use about a tablespoon total. In another small bowl, mix 1/4 c almond meal, 2 T flax meal (or coconut flour), 1/2 t baking soda, pinch of salt and an egg. Pour the butter in and mix it up well. Pour back into the ramekin and microwave 1 minute or so, until the surface is dry and springs back to the touch. When cool, split in half and use to make your grill cheese sandwich. Believe me, you won't miss bread.
  33. Alexandra M
    Thanks Margaretrc - I'll give it a try!
  34. Marcy
    To Fiona, I liked what you said about treats for very special occasions only. I was married to someone from the middle east. He always said that in his country cakes and other pastries were only for very special occasions a few times a year such as birthdays and weddings. For all the other days of the year, fresh fruit was served after dinner. There was and is really no obesity problem there.
  35. Robbo
    To Fiona,
    My practice over seven years of successful low carb is to have a sweet or a cake once in a while, but absolutely not to allow not to become a habit. So it is your cousins birthday, have a piece of cake. Just wait for the next family occasion to have the next. Once you have experienced success in losing unwanted weit, you need not be terrified of gaining a little, you know how to lose it.
  36. Diane
    Your rule is if the package says "net carbs" it's not low carb. My rule is if it has a package it's probably not low carb.
  37. Yo
    Diane - what about butter? Comes in a package, most definitely low carb.
  38. I have lost 55 lb twice before eating low-carb, then bouncing back. Both times I tried to go "cold turkey" and I ate some of these advertised-as-low-carb processed foods.

    This time, I have gone approximately 10 months eating carbs unrestricted at perhaps 1 or 2 meals per week, restricting carb the rest of the time, almost eliminating grains (probably 95% or more) and mostly avoiding these low-carb substitution foods. I'll know more in another year, but I really feel like I could do this indefinitely. Unlike last time, I'm not counting the days until I can "eat normally" again.

  39. LoCarbGranpa
    Agree with Bil above. 23/34 gives 67% carbs.
    Mr Atkins would turn in his grave if he saw how the "Atkins Company" is abusing his name to market junk as healthy low carb food for many non-suspecting individuals.
  40. Charlotte
    I too use to eat lots of Atkins products until I started reading the label and noticed the first ingredient in most of his products was wheat. After reading Dr. Davis's "Wheat Belly" and listening to the Diet Dr.'s videos I quit cold turkey. Now when my sweet tooth flares up(since
    becoming LCHF it is not as often) I have a little dark chocolate.
  41. Susan and Brandon make good points in that careful use of such faux food may be a stepping stone for some people; used for the transition with full understanding is one thing, but people also need to realize when such foods are causing stalls or more cravings and not blame low carb.
  42. Nick P
    Dr Andreas,

    The MATH does not support their claim of "5 Net Carbs"

    Here, follow the math. The TC(total calories) should equal the sum of the Fat Calories + the Carb Calories+ the protein calories.

    For these cookies, the box lists the TC at 130 and the fat calories at 60

    130 - 60 = 70 calories remaining from protein and carbs

    The box listed 3 grams of protein. Therefore, there are 12 calories from protein (each gram of protein contains 4 calories)

    70 - 12 = 58 calories from carbs

    58 calories/4 calories/gram = 14.5 NET CARBS

    This product has 3X the net carbs advertised!

    The primary reason for this is that Sugar Alcohols ALL GET DIGESTED! They get digested at a lower rate than "real sugar" but they still have calories, and they still have carbs. So, subtracting out ALL of the sugar alcohols to calculate net carbs is NOT correct.

    I normally assume about 50% of the sugar alcohols don't get absorbed, and this is a much closer estimate.

  43. I've noticed that pretty much anything in the grocery store that comes in a package with any sort of health claim printed on it is probably not good for you. There might eventually be some exceptions, once the dairy industry figures out it's safe to call butter healthy.

    BTW, not all sugar alcohols get digested by *you*. Some of that goes to feeding the gut flora, resulting in lots of intestinal gas (and skewing the gut flora/fauna composition). I think that the operative term in "low-carb junk food" is "junk." I consider low-carb junk food to be one of the bigger mistakes I made in my own low-carb journey. Fortunately, for someone with a lot of weight to lose, and just starting out, things like Atkins bars don't do a lot of harm, but they will eventually cause enough problems to discourage the low-carb dieter who uses them regularly.

    Now that I am keto-adapted (have been for more than a decade!), it's not a Big Deal to just skip a meal if there isn't anything there that I consider worth eating.

    BTW, ONLY 4 MORE WEEKS UNTIL THE LOW-CARB CRUISE! Last year, I lost 2 lbs (without missing any meals). This year, my goal is to not gain any (as you get closer to goal, that gets harder).

  44. Being a LCHF beginner and eating sub 20g carbs I'd NEVER consider a cookie of any kind. There's only space for good carbs rich in nutrients. I eat things like broccoli, berries, spinach and then there's a couple of extra carbs in the double cream yogurt and dairy I like to have.

    I've given up everything sweet or has sugar. Whilst this is extreme it works for me because from what I've read if you're going to eat high saturated fat you better have extremely low carbs else it doesn't work and the fat binds to the sugars in the blood that the carbs create.

  45. PhilT
    The "net carbs" claim based on GI type response of test subjects may possibly be correct but it introduces a massive contradiction in the Atkins approach.

    The Atkins induction phase recommendation is something like "20g max of carbs with 12-15g from foundation vegetables" and these vegetables are also low GI, many as low as 10.

    If we applied the Atkins Co logic to vegetables we would count the 12-15g of veg carbs as 1 to 3g of "net carbs" based on GI testing. Given this is the case we can see why a 3g net carbs ersatz product is a problem - it doubles the blood sugar impact compared to the vegetable intake.

  46. LC
    Try looking into this demagogy:
    http://truvia.com/baking/baking-faqs

    This magic baking blend is actually up to 40-50% sugar!

    "amount of sugar it provides to a serving of your recipe should be considered as you manage your condition"

    LOL!

  47. Laura
    Dear Andreas
    I jsut wanted to thank you for your comments and up to date topics. I ahve been on paleo/lchf since December 2011 after a lifetime of weight problems and 16 years as a tired achey vegan/pescitarian. I have never felt better slimmer and more sporty in my WHOLE life since I started to eat lchf. Wheat and grains in general are really bad for us. I wish more people knew about this!! I even enjoy rendering my own lard (my lovely local butcher sells me and of course cooking with it.
    I am still at the early stages when I wish I could save the world by spreading the good news (also hopng that prices of meat don't shoot up to the stars if everybody turns paleo.
    Overtime I started to eat far too much modern fruit and my cravings and some of the tiredness have resurfaced. I have to day I did check our the Atkins and the book and the basic diet advice is sound and although they avoid the word paleo that is the principle really. But then they try to appeal to EVERYBODY including vegans and this is where it does not work. Also they encourage eating a lot of foods that we know can be bad for us such as nuts and seeds full of toxins. Like you all I am outraged at their range of bars and snacks which are junks foods so far removed from the eat natural principles of paleo ancestral diets. I shall give all that commercial thing the cold shoulder of food wisdom. But I am following their two week strict low carb induction program to loose 5-6 more kgs and get over my carb cravings....you know what? there is far too much food around even if you view it throught paleo eyes we are deluged with energy rich foods...so I am having my own famine for two weeks.! I enjoy your website very much adn I am spreading the word...keep it up
    Bye for now
    Laura
  48. For people reared on junk food the transition to only real food is hard; I had my own challlenges with this, and like everything there is a spectrum, so some people can eat bars, shakes without too much trouble, others will find they lead to binges, stalls, or going off the diet altogether. Clearly the smartest thing to do is eat a clean, junk free diet. In Atkins's day they didn't know a lot about the problems of faux sweeteners, and even Atkins emphasized it was best to eat real foods most of the time. Even the paleo folk get hung up on cookies, etc made with nut flours, which again as a rare treat might not be an issue, but as part of a daily diet is unhealthy.
  49. Maggan A
    who wants to eat this crap anyway - unregardless of carbs or no carbs?

    I would not even give it to my dogs.

  50. Alexandra M
    Margaretrc - Well, I tried the Muffin in a Minute recipe, but I won't be using flax meal again! I know it's supposed to have a lot of healthy omega-3 fats, but I just can't eat it and here's why:

    I'm an oil painter. One of the mediums (something added to paint to change its characteristics in one way or another) I use frequently is linseed oil. I'm so accustomed to the smell of linseed oil as part of things you should NOT put in your mouth, that I found the taste of it in the muffin extremely unpleasant. I didn't realize that's what it was until I sniffed the meal itself, and it smells exactly like linseed oil - which is what it is!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil

    Good muffin with just almond meal though. Needed a pinch of sweetener, and I might try adding a little yeast for flavor.

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