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-   -   The Atkins Interview...Some questions answered! (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/atkins-nutritional-approach/25943-atkins-interview-some-questions-answered.html)

cheri 08-23-2002 02:27 PM

The Atkins Interview...Some questions answered!
A few weeks back I asked the question "If you could ask the Atkins Center anything....what would it be?" I appreciate everyones responses. I Sent them on to Colette Heimowitz M.S. who is the Director of Education and Research at the Atkins Health and Medical Information Services. She was kind enough to answer them for us. I am going to cut and paste in the answers exactly how they were sent back. I hope this helps bring some light to a few of the more confusing questions you all have.

cheri :)

Hi Colette..

I am sure you may remember me from the atkinsfriends.com website. I am an admin in the bb and in chat. I did a interview with you a few times...One of them on Stacking drugs. We try to help people that are on the diet and run into a lot of questions that we would like to get your opinion on. I hope you can help us out. We do not want to give out the wrong information. We would appreciate it so much as we know you are very busy. Here are the following questions we had...Thank you so so much!

cheri (atkinsfriends.com)

Here are the questions asked followed by the answers I put in red for you all to be able to read it better!! Hope this helps!!


We tell people not to use the bars and shakes on induction as this was always the suggestion of atkins before his product came out. Why are they now allowed and will they stall some people on induction?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Recommendations for Bars and shakes are based on the confidence that the products will not interfere with the nutrition plan, for example induce cravings, etc… We cannot be responsible for other brands/products. In general, consuming 1 bar and 1 shake a day will not stall or inhibit weight loss. Everyone has different levels of metabolic resistance, so for some ½-1 bar is what will be tolerated and others may be able to consume more, especially if they are very active. Individuals should determine how many products they can consume without effecting their weight. [/COLOR]


Why is it when we call the atkins nutritionals line we get a difference answer for the same question depending on who answers the phone?

[COLOR=red]Answer: It is impossible for different people to give the same answers for all questions. Everyone has an individual interpretation, that is not wrong it is just different. In order to answer this question more directly we would need examples of responses that differ from one another for the same question. [/COLOR]


We know that any color change in a ketosis stick means you are in ketosis. But is the darker the stick better or does it mean you may not be getting enough water? Or does it mean you are burning more fat??

[COLOR=red]Answer: Remember in the book it says to test only at night and at least one hour after eating as this will give you a truer reading. ALSO any color change means you are burning fat. The darker the color, the more fat you are burning. It does not mean you are not getting enough water. Water will have little or no impact on the sticks color[/COLOR]

Bruce Hunter...

How important is it to stick STRICTLY to the food list during induction?

[COLOR=red]Answer: During Induction it is very important to eat only foods that are permitted. This is the time when the person will be switching from burning carbohydrate to burning fat for energy. If one "cheats", he/she may not get to the point where fat is steadily being burned for energy.[/COLOR]


Can you eat the endulge bars on induction or are they strictly for ongoing weightloss or maintenance?

[COLOR=red]Answer: You may not have the endulge bars or any other product that contains sugar alcohols while on induction. Your body will use the sugar alcohol as a food source thus slowing or stopping weightloss while it is in your system. It isnt the glycerine that is the problem with these but the sugar alcohol that is the problem.[/COLOR]


How can ******, carb counters, food labels and even the atkins counts in the back of the book differ so much? Who do we trust?

[COLOR=red]Answer: The reason for the variations amongst the different sources of carb counters is because there are differences in the way foods are measured. Sometimes portion sizes are different, foods are measured by dry weight or with moisture. These pieces of information are to be used as guides as they provide estimates are not based on precise scientific methods. Food labels provide nutrition information and the government allows for a 20% differential. Use 1 source, otherwise, you will drive yourself crazy. The carb counter in the back is a good reference. [/COLOR]


Why seltzer would not count towards daily water intake? Or is that an error?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Seltzer is carbonated water, so it would count as part of the 8-8oz.glasses of water suggested. The carbonation may not have the same detox effect on the kidneys as pure water would. Therefore, while you are burning fat aggressively in the initial phases of the program, it is prudent to supply the best assistance for elimination of wastes. Our fat cells stores the accumulated toxins we have been exposed to over our lifetime and when we burn fat, those toxins are being released.[/COLOR]


I would ask about the discrepencies in the book, i.e., for Induction it says you should have no more than 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream yet a couple of paragraphs later it says 2-3 OUNCES. Also for Induction it says 2-3 cups lettuce plus 1 cup vegetable but it also says to deduct fiber. If that's all you have, you don't come close to the 20 grams per day.

Also, why is cottage cheese not permitted anymore during Induction, especially full fat; and lastly, what is the real scoop on full fat plain yogurt?

[COLOR=red]Answers: [/COLOR]

[COLOR=red]You are correct there is a discrepancy in the book. The correct total amount of heavy cream is 2-3 tablespoons or 1-1.5 oz. If someone is following Induction strictly, the additional cream (.5-1 oz.)extra should not have a major impact on the program.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=red]During Induction 2-3 Cups of salad vegetables includes peppers, mushrooms and 1 cup of salad vegetables include tomato, broccoli, and most other salad ingredients because there is a high carb count. This in addition to cheese, cream, and other foods such as avocado, olives, lemon juice and Atkins products such as bars and drinks ETC.. will provide up to 20 grams of carbs.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=red]For the 4 years I’ve worked at the center, cottage cheese has been omitted from Induction. Again, the purpose of the book is for the general population. For someone who substitutes, ½ C cottage cheese for their total allowance of hard cheese, there should be no problem. The difference is hard cheese usually has trace to 1 gram of carb. Cottage cheese (1/2) has about 3 grams. Also, consider hard cheese as a convenient take along snack vs. cottage cheese. Cottage cheese can be one on the first foods added to the meal plan after induction. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=red]Yogurt regardless of fat content usually has high amounts of carbs. If there is a yogurt that has 5-10 grams of carbs, it can be used as part of on-going weight loss/maintenance.[/COLOR]


I want to give blood but am in ketosis. What are my options? Do I have to load up on carbs the day before so that my blood is thicker? If yes, what are the best foods to "load" up on?

[COLOR=red]Answer: DO NOT LOAD UP ON CARBS! Use more veggies or 1 oz. Of nuts/seeds, or eat a low-glycemic index fruit (berries, melon, grapefruit). You do not want to sabotage everything you have worked so hard to accomplish. We are not sure what you mean by "more carbs will make your blood thicker"[/COLOR]

If I can deduct fiber, doesn't that make ALL veggies free? So I can eat as many as I want right?

[COLOR=red]Answer: All veggies do contain carbs, some more than others. I refer you to the book for the specific information on that. In addition, not all the carbs in veggies are from fiber. If you eat excessive amounts of any food it may effect your progress, especially when in induction. By the time you get to lifetime maintenance, eating 6-8 cups of veggies included in your individual total carb intake is very healthy.[/COLOR]

I heard that lifting weights can take you out of ketosis because the body produces glucose when using muscles. Should I do cardio after lifting weights? If yes, will this put me back in ketosis? If yes, how long?

[COLOR=red]Answer: This is not true. Lifting weights will NOT take you out of ketosis. You may not spill as many ketones in the urine because you are using more of them for energy, but you are still in ketosis[/COLOR]

When is the best time to eat protein so as not to turn it into glucose, before or after exercising?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Eating protein before exercise may be best because exercise may burn the glucose before it is stored. However, we do not have specific studies that support this. The safest bet is to never consume more than 7 to 8 oz per serving. Only excess protein will convert to blood glucose. [/COLOR]

What advice, if any, can you give on adding sea salt?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Sea salt is allowed on all phases of Atkins.[/COLOR]

Why does eating more fat cause you to lose more fat?

[COLOR=red]Answer: When doing Atkins, fat is burned for energy. The more fat consumed, the more it is burned, as long as the carbs are kept low.[/COLOR]


I keep hearing from people who complain that they can't exercise effectively while in ketosis, that they don't have enough energy, etc. Also I need to be able to refute the constant "You need carbs for energy!" refrain. But what should a person do who is having trouble exercising on low-carb?

Should they up their carbs a little, or their fat, or their protein, or a combination of these?
[COLOR=red]This seems to be the same as the first question.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=red]Answer: While some individuals may experience fatigue during the first few days of induction, that should be followed by high energy levels. The reason for low energy after these first few days may be due to inadequate intake of total food. Therefore, I suggest eating more, but not necessarily carbs. Consider eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks/day. If you are past induction, snacks might include nuts/seeds,a serving of low-glycemic index fruit or if still in the induction phase cheese or a scoop of tuna, chicken or egg salad should do the trick. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=red]Both carbs and fat provide energy. Your body burns both carbs and fat for energy. When doing Atkins, you will use fat not carbs for energy. Try an advantage bar before a workout.[/COLOR]


The Hidden Carb counters has me worried on my protein bars. I get the 2.5 or 3 carb bars. On the label they tell you: Glycerine (and other) are included in total calorie count but not included as carbs.

What is the effective Carb Count of these bars then. Do I really have to use the Hidden Carb counter and count that as true carbs?? it raises my 2.5 carb bar to 44 carbs! Or is glycerine/maltitol/sugar alcohols like fiber and can not be digested

so truly can be not counted. I don't understand how the label can not count carbs if they are carbs!

[COLOR=red]Answer: Because the ingredients you mentioned (glycerine/sugar alcohols)[/COLOR] [COLOR=red]are not used in the body the same way carbs are there is a different effect on the body. They are digested in a similar manner to fiber. The Atkins net carb count was intended to let people following a controlled carb. lifestyle know which carbs to count. The net carbs only include those carbs that have an impact on blood sugar. The other carbs such as glycerine and fiber and sugar alcohols are omitted from the total carb count. [/COLOR]


At what amount or intensity of exercise do you need to re-evaluate protein intake? Or, do you need more protein if you exercise more, say specifically weight training?

[COLOR=red]Answer: You should not have to reevaluate protein intake. If you were following a high carb diet, your protein intake increased when starting Atkins. If you are hungry, you may want to eat more protein and fat while ensuring you are eating your personal critical carbohydrate level for weight maintenance (see book). [/COLOR]

If either the metabolic advantage OR calories-in/calories-out completely answered the question of weight loss, why do lengthy stalls occur?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Noone can answer this for sure. It is possible that there is a shift in fluids, there is something called the set-point theory (everyone has a certain "natural" weight the body gravitates to) or it could be an increase in lean body mass as well as the possibility that the body gets accustomed to the foods you are eating and may need some assistance in "jump starting the engine" See the chapter in the new book for suggestions on how to get thru a plateau. [/COLOR]

At what point, if you are stalled, should you be considering doing something different? Patience is advocated, but is this the correct answer? How long should you wait?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Patience is helpful, I had a patient who waited 3 months, and at 3 months and 1 day lost 5 pounds. There are other things one can do that may help: Exercise or increased exercise, slight changes in nutrition patterns, such as increasing fluids, eating 6 small meals instead of 3 large meals, adding 1 serving of low-glycemic fruits and make sure you are not constipated. Check your inches. If you are losing inches your fat cells are shrinking. [/COLOR]

Should diabetics set their protein intake in a more refined fashion to help control blood sugars?

[COLOR=red]Answer: In general no. However, excess protein will convert to sugar and can effect blood sugar levels. So, portion control should be based on blood sugar readings. If blood sugar is controlled and/or improved than no change is necessary.[/COLOR]

Which artificial sweeteners raise blood sugar? [COLOR=red]None[/COLOR]


"Carnitine prevents ketone build up. Consider it if you are on the "zone" protein diet." pg 87
[COLOR=red](This is the first time we have heard this. Would like to see a reference)[/COLOR]

Does Dr. Atkins agree with this? If so, would L-Carnitine help w/keto breath problems? Also, would those of us taking L-Carnitine daily have less response on our keto sticks?

[COLOR=red]Answer: Carnitine is involved in ketosis, carnitine does not help with ketobreath (adequate water, chewing parsley can help)and will not effect keto sticks.[/COLOR]


The amount of water I drink (varies from 120 oz to 150 oz-depending on weather & activity level, etc) has people telling me I am damaging my body. What is a "safe" amount of water to drink for my weight of 173 lbs on a 5'5" frame. I am trying to reach a goal of 120 pounds.

[COLOR=red]Answer: You are not damaging your body but consuming between 100-120 oz of water should be enough. [/COLOR]

Robin in Austin...

I don't feel Atkins makes it abundantly clear that Protein is not a free food. Since it's not, how many grams should we be taking in a day? I think overconsumption of Protein stalls more of us than we think!

[COLOR=red]Answer: You are correct. The reason for not recommending specific grams of protein is because most people experience a decrease in appetite. Atkins also stresses eating until full or satisfied not to gorge on any food. If someone abuses this and is out of control when eating, excess protein can be the cause of stalling weight loss. [/COLOR]


I want to know how Dr. Atkins can sell out like he does? He is so clear about the importance of sticking with non-processed foods and staying away from all the preservative junk and -itols - how can he promote the bars and shakes and "stuff" that he does? Isn't that a little hypocritical?

[COLOR=red]Answer: DR. Atkins is concerned with foods that affect health. Foods that may contribute to poor health by effecting: high/low blood sugar, cravings, high insulin, etc… are the foods he recommends avoiding. The ingredients used in Atkins products do not have negative health consequences; there are no excess sugars providing high calories and little or no other nutritional value, there are no trans fats; vitamins and minerals are included in Atkins products. Convenience is very important to many people, Atkins products offer healthy convenience foods to those who choose to follow a low-carb lifestyle. Sugar alcohols or "itols" are sugar alternatives for individuals who may be sensitive to sugar (diabetics, impaired glucose metabolism,sugar cravers, individuals with yeast infections, etc..). [/COLOR]


Please ask if there isn't a more effective way to deal with leg cramps other then what is mentioned in the book. It seems to be a problem encountered by many people on this site with no real resolution as to what works to reduce the problem.

[COLOR=red]Answer: The question is, have people tried the suggestions in the book? Because the suggestions, if followed, work. Consuming adequate fluids along with electrolytes; calcium, potassium, magnesium and possibly lite salt which is high in potassium. [/COLOR]


Why do we seem to feel so much thirstier despite dramatically increasing our water intake? Since extreme thirst is a symptom of diabetes, how do we distinguish from a *normal* level of thirst while lowcarbing versus a clear signal to get checked for diabetes?

[COLOR=red]Answer: If you do not have diabetes, Atkins nutritional approach will not give you diabetes. The program actually helps control diabetes. Extreme thirst is not a typical symptom that people experience. You may want to mention this to your doctor and follow-up this way. I would ask you how much water are you drinking? 64-80 oz. is a normal amount of fluids. If you are exercising or live in a hot/humid climate you may need more. [/COLOR]


Why are people in other cultures (say Indians and Southeast Asians) whose diets are mostly carbohydrate, thinner, in general, than Americans?

My theory is (and I'm no scientist, nor world traveller) that it's the carb/fat combo, found uniquely in American food; a Whopper, for example, or Cheetos. (Two of my former favorites.)

[COLOR=red]Answer: Yes, your theory is true. High fat and high carb is the culprit. There are other factors, such as portion sizes in the U.S. compared with amounts consumed in other cultures and of course lets not forget the differences in activity levels in these countries vs. America. [/COLOR]

Robin in Austin 08-23-2002 05:01 PM

Thank you for all your work on this! Very helpful!

rpeck634 08-23-2002 05:08 PM

Thanks for doing that for us. How informative.

cheri 08-23-2002 06:04 PM

Hi vickilonesomedo...

I am sorry....dont know why that got cut off. I went in and corrected it. The atkins center also suggests salting your foods to taste.....Lite salt contains a lot of potassium....You may try that...I have heard it helps a lot of people!!

cheri :)

nikoroo 08-23-2002 06:51 PM

cheri--thats awesome! thanks!

lowcarbmolly 08-23-2002 07:45 PM

Thanks so much Cheri!!!

KastaDiva 08-23-2002 08:22 PM

BonBon's question: Should diabetics set their protein intake in a more refined fashion to help control blood sugars?

Answer: In general no. However, excess protein will convert to sugar and can effect blood sugar levels. So, portion control should be based on blood sugar readings. If blood sugar is controlled and/or improved than no change is necessary.

Robin in Austin...

I don't feel Atkins makes it abundantly clear that Protein is not a free food. Since it's not, how many grams should we be taking in a day? I think overconsumption of Protein stalls more of us than we think!

Answer: You are correct. The reason for not recommending specific grams of protein is because most people experience a decrease in appetite. Atkins also stresses eating until full or satisfied not to gorge on any food. If someone abuses this and is out of control when eating, excess protein can be the cause of stalling
weight loss. (end)

I really appreciate these answers concerning protein. It is what I've been trying to say for over a year...that excess protein can cause blood sugar problems in diabetics, and if someone is stalling, that perhaps they need to look at their protein intake. And, if people can't seem to turn the ketostick pink, they should look at their protein intake.

But, also, how will anyone ever know if the amount of protein they are eating is causing blood sugar control problems unless they either go to the doctor and ask for an A1c test, or they get a home blood sugar meter so they can regularly test their sugars? As implied by the stalling answer, too much protein is causing blood sugar control problems, and unless a person can see the effects of the protein on their blood sugar by checking their blood sugar, how will they ever really understand the concept of eating too much protein and the effects on blood sugar? If a person has never had the opportunity to manage an insulin dependent diabetic, this concept of protein intake and blood sugar control is too ambiguous and misunderstood.


magnolia_petals 08-23-2002 08:57 PM

thanks!! would be nice to move this to the past powerful post section so that we can refer to it as needed...or even a link on your newbie page... also everyone does need to remember these answers came from the atkinscenter, other low carb plans have different answers to some of the questions, so guess it all depends on what plan you are following :D

anthony 08-24-2002 01:37 AM

Thanks very very much Cheri. That seltzer question had been bugging me for years. Intuitively, I thought I knew the answer, but it is good to have confirmation.

amalia 08-24-2002 01:59 AM

Thank you! Awww, but now I wish I had asked my question;) -- but thank you.:)

lowcarbinmama 08-24-2002 03:04 AM

Thanks so much for doing that, very informative :D

bonbon 08-24-2002 03:09 AM

Thanks cheri :D I'm pretty sure the Atkins Center thinks I'm diabetic now though :)

I wanted to ask some of the questions I've seen on the boards and in chat. This was a great opportunity to put them all in one place.

laceysaunders 08-24-2002 04:28 AM

That was great!! Thanks so much to everyone for the questions and to you for getting the answers!!
Helps a bunch!!

highaltitude 08-24-2002 05:42 AM

Thanks - I have referred this to others.

RobNJ 08-24-2002 07:12 AM


AZJeanne 08-24-2002 07:16 AM


Thanks so much for posting all the answers, including the one to my question. I feel better about the cream and cottage cheese questions in particular.

I was surprised to hear that NO sugar substitutes caused insulin spikes--I thought they all did except Splenda.

I'm glad the protein amount question was addressed. Now people can quit calling this a "dangerously high protein diet"

RobNJ 08-25-2002 02:43 PM

Cheri- now you have to get an interview with Dr. Ornish--some comic relief to post in the playground!!:p

cheri 08-25-2002 07:57 PM

There is a great idea Rob!!! LOL I will get right to work on it!! ;)


08-26-2002 01:52 AM

Cheri have i ever told you how awesome of you to keep doing stuff like this for us!!!!!!! i was very glad to hear about the atkins shakes and bars that one has bothered me...... i know i read in the book it was allowed then on the bb and in chat everyone says no.............. aurgh just one of those things.......lol

ty so much again hun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spoiled Rotten 08-26-2002 02:40 AM

Thanks Cheri, I learned alot this morning! And thanks to all that posted questions! Happy Monday everyone!

08-26-2002 11:29 AM

Cheri, your work is so appreciated! Thank you!

BarbaraNJ 08-27-2002 01:37 AM

Thanks Cheri :)

Glad to hear the answer about artificial sweeteners.

yvonne326 08-27-2002 06:47 AM

In "catching up" on posts I missed while on vacation...this is a great source of info! Thanks Cher!

pelicanlady 08-28-2002 11:56 PM

Thanks for all your hard work Cheri. Found lots of great information. The blood donation question was very helpful for me since I am donating this week.

the real 'Nick' 09-01-2002 02:37 PM

This really help my understanding of the program, especially since I'm only getting back... Well done Ms. Cheri!

Glinda 09-02-2002 08:15 AM

Yeah, Cheri, thanks! That was a lot of work doing all that organizing of questions, interviewing, and cutting and pasting all the answers for us. It certainly should be part of Past Amazing Posts. Very helpful.

Also, thanks to everyone who posted such great questions!

Squeaker 09-03-2002 02:23 PM

Thank you for your efforts (Cheri, and everyone with questions) and for posting this Cheri!

berries&cream 09-10-2002 05:52 AM

Thanks Cheri!

Very Informative! I will have to go start a "chat fight" now and then send the other participants to this topic. LOL

Pumajay 09-12-2002 04:07 AM


2B Me 09-18-2002 06:30 PM


Thank you for all the great info. It's been a while since I read the book. I need to dig it out again and it's been four years since I really stuck to it and I started again today, newly motivated by this great site and all the great folks here.

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