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Old 08-22-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
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Atkins Bars-the Blood Sugar Test

So we have all heard the debates over carb counts in the Atkins Bars. The packaging claims that they have 2 or 3 grams net carbs. And yet, when you read the nutrition information, there are many more carbs than that after fiber (and sugar alcohols, though I personally wouldn't subtract them) are subtracted.

The boxes make this claim
'The net carb count helps you count carbs that impact blood sugar. Good carbs, those that are better for you, have a lower blood sugar impact'.

The Atkins website says that this carb count claim was tested using blood sugar impact testing.

SO....what better person than a diabetic to test the veracity of these claims??

I decided to try one--the S'mores variety--and test at two hours PP (two hours after eating-where blood sugar SHOULD have fallen below 140 mm/dl).

I ate the whole bar (it was, I must say, quite delicious. It had the texture of a protein bar, but the chocolate coating tasted chocolaty, and the inner 'nougat' of the bar actually did a pretty good job of simulating the graham cracker taste-with a little crunch to accentuate the texture).

First of all, I did not feel the 'symptoms' of high blood sugar after eating it. If I eat something that raises my BG (or, when I am sick) I often feel a bit lightheaded, shaky and have a more rapid heart beat. Fortunately, nothing here.

And here is the best....2 hours after eating the bar, my blood sugar was...86 mm/dl!!!

This is REALLY good. I have had higher readings from a meal with too much broccoli!

The day before, I had eaten a Danish bar (called a Free Lękkerbar) which claims to have less carbs...a lot less (they most likely pre subtract fiber from the carb count since it is made in europe). After eating that, I had high blood sugar for over 3 hours after eating!! And let me tell you...the Atkins bars taste WAY better!

So in conclusion, more tests need to be done on other flavors, but this first test shows a promising result in regards to the veracity of the Atkins Nutritionals claims. I will progressively test other flavors (I have two other flavors right now) and test at more intervals post eating. However, this test was remarkably successful, both in regards to blood sugar impact and taste!

My temporary verdict on Atkins bars:
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:04 AM   #2
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Good to know thanks for letting us know how you did with them! I eat the choclate caramel brownie ones now and then and think they are yummy when I want a snack!
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Thanks, I use these sometimes for breakfast.
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:22 AM   #4
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I love news like this! Sorry you have to deal with diabetes, though. Thanks for taking the time to test the reaction to the bars.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:08 PM   #5
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Great job for you!!!! You should test at 1 hour as well just for grins. Sometimes as Jenny says, the 2hr post-prandial doesn't tell the whole story...and sometimes you see the first phase spike at 1 hour...
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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It's the glycerine in the bars that they are not counting in with the carbs. Some people seem to be able to eat these bars and still lose while some people seem to have problems with them.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:16 PM   #7
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Glad you had such good results. Btw, the missing number when figuring net carbs is in the ingredient: vegetable glycerin. They’re not required to list how much of it is in each serving. Vegetable glycerin supposedly does not raise blood sugar – but that may not be true for all.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:21 PM   #8
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Great job for you!!!! You should test at 1 hour as well just for grins. Sometimes as Jenny says, the 2hr post-prandial doesn't tell the whole story...and sometimes you see the first phase spike at 1 hour...
Exactly! My plan for Atkins Bars: The Test Phase 2 is to test at 1, 2, and 3 hours! (sometimes, especially in things like Dreamfields Pasta, the carbs are 'delay released' so they can spike the BG hours after eating!)

I will let you all know how it goes!
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:24 PM   #9
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Thanks Marcy and Porcupine for the glycerin information!!

Monin syrups (the kind you buy in Europe) have this as well.

it looks (at least for now) that it does not spike me (and as a very very carb sensitive diabetic, that is pretty impressive!)
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:28 PM   #10
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Well I am thrilled because I love them.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:30 PM   #11
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Interesting.

I use these when I have to travel for business. They don't seem to bother me (I have reactive hypoglycemia), but I don't feel totally "well" when I eat too many of them -- this happens when I use them as meal replacements due to some frenzied travel itinerary. I generally feel low on energy afterward. They do fine in a pinch, though, like when there's absolutely no food available to me.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:33 PM   #12
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Thanks Marcy and Porcupine for the glycerin information!!

Monin syrups (the kind you buy in Europe) have this as well.

it looks (at least for now) that it does not spike me (and as a very very carb sensitive diabetic, that is pretty impressive!)
Exactly! Haven't eaten bars but the Dreamfields kept me spiked at 4 and 5 hours!!! I mean over 140 at 4 hours! At one hour my blood sugar was down from pre-meal and at two hour it was showing within tolerance then everything started to fall apart!

Shiritaki noodles (the soy free ones) do nothing to my bgs though.
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Old 08-22-2010, 12:40 PM   #13
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Exactly! Haven't eaten bars but the Dreamfields kept me spiked at 4 and 5 hours!!! I mean over 140 at 4 hours! At one hour my blood sugar was down from pre-meal and at two hour it was showing within tolerance then everything started to fall apart!

Shiritaki noodles (the soy free ones) do nothing to my bgs though.
I have heard that a LOT of people have this reaction to dreamfields!! I have tried it only once (Pre-Atkins) and my BG was OK...but I ate it VERY VERY sparingly and with a TON of fat (I drenched it in cheddar cheese and butter-mac and cheese). And if you eat it the next day (reheat it) you can release all of those carbs and it will be like normal pasta! YIKES.

I don't think I will ever eat dreamfields with any regularity...though if I ever (once I am in maintenance) really miss my mom's lasagna or something, at least there is the option...a lesser of two evils I guess!

Shiritaki noodles did nothing for me, either (the yam ones, no soy)...though you really have to get past the smell
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:27 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting this information!
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:14 PM   #15
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Good for you!

Everyone else, though, do bear in mind that these sweeteners used in the bars are a "your mileage may vary" product. They raise my blood sugar.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:19 PM   #16
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Good for you!

Everyone else, though, do bear in mind that these sweeteners used in the bars are a "your mileage may vary" product. They raise my blood sugar.

I was thinking the same thing. I have read posts both ways on the blood sugar issue with the bars and those of us who are not diabetic or even insulin resistance results will be different too.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:31 PM   #17
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I have heard that a LOT of people have this reaction to dreamfields!! I have tried it only once (Pre-Atkins) and my BG was OK...but I ate it VERY VERY sparingly and with a TON of fat (I drenched it in cheddar cheese and butter-mac and cheese). And if you eat it the next day (reheat it) you can release all of those carbs and it will be like normal pasta! YIKES.

I don't think I will ever eat dreamfields with any regularity...though if I ever (once I am in maintenance) really miss my mom's lasagna or something, at least there is the option...a lesser of two evils I guess!

Shiritaki noodles did nothing for me, either (the yam ones, no soy)...though you really have to get past the smell
Star,
I love your experiment! I will keep on reading. I like the cranberry almond and one of the peanut butter granola-like bars (don't remember the name at the moment). I tend to stay away from the chocolate ones because of the malitol but it doesn't seem to have a negative effect on you

BTW, have you tried spaghetti squash as a pasta sub? I tried it last week and it was YUM! I had to have it twice in the week It was actually a little difficult for me to portion control it, but I was being lazy and not measuring. Anyway, keep up the good work

-elle
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:13 AM   #18
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Star,
I love your experiment! I will keep on reading. I like the cranberry almond and one of the peanut butter granola-like bars (don't remember the name at the moment). I tend to stay away from the chocolate ones because of the malitol but it doesn't seem to have a negative effect on you

BTW, have you tried spaghetti squash as a pasta sub? I tried it last week and it was YUM! I had to have it twice in the week It was actually a little difficult for me to portion control it, but I was being lazy and not measuring. Anyway, keep up the good work

-elle
thanks!! I actually haven't tried spaghetti squash! It is on the list of things to pick up next time I see one!
I love squash of other kinds, so I bet it would be good!

Just in case you want to try a chocolate one, Caramel Fudge Brownie has 0 sugar alcohols!

I will keep my eyes open for other flavors on my trip to the US...at the moment I have only 3 flavors! I must admit that it is a fun experiment to do--I get to legally give myself treats!

So far the scale has continued moving in the right direction too, so that is encouraging.

I know it is a YMMV (your miles may vary) situation with these, but it is fun to do
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:40 PM   #19
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What I was told by the guy who was the resident expert on one of the other low carb boards was that if you are in a ketogenic state glycerin is metabolized as a carb. If you are NOT in a ketogenic state it is metabolized as a fat.

When I was eating VLC the Atkins bars gave me huge spikes, but that was before they lost their lawsuit for lying about carb counts on the labels. It's possible they've reformulated the bars so they aren't as bad as they used to be.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:36 AM   #20
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I'm not diabetic, but this is great new anyway. I love to have a bar during the night when I have to be at the hospital anyway tending to the sick and dying.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:03 AM   #21
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What I was told by the guy who was the resident expert on one of the other low carb boards was that if you are in a ketogenic state glycerin is metabolized as a carb. If you are NOT in a ketogenic state it is metabolized as a fat.

When I was eating VLC the Atkins bars gave me huge spikes, but that was before they lost their lawsuit for lying about carb counts on the labels. It's possible they've reformulated the bars so they aren't as bad as they used to be.
Sheesh, that would be bad news.
I don't know what to say....only what it did to my BG. I was pretty sure I was in a ketogenic state but I ran out of Ketostix Gotta get more of those!
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:18 AM   #22
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I personally love the caramel nut chew, tastes just like a Snickers!
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:45 AM   #23
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Sheesh, that would be bad news.
I don't know what to say....only what it did to my BG. I was pretty sure I was in a ketogenic state but I ran out of Ketostix Gotta get more of those!
It really isn't bad news, if you are losing or maintaining to your own satisfaction, because normal blood sugars are the #1 goal of all of us with diabetes and you are maintaining them.

Ketosis does NOT map to weight loss for those of us with diabetes. I have lost significant amounts of weight eating at nonketogenic levels and stalled for years eating at them.

Flat, normal blood sugars are much more productive of weight loss.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:59 AM   #24
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It really isn't bad news, if you are losing or maintaining to your own satisfaction, because normal blood sugars are the #1 goal of all of us with diabetes and you are maintaining them.

Ketosis does NOT map to weight loss for those of us with diabetes. I have lost significant amounts of weight eating at nonketogenic levels and stalled for years eating at them.

Flat, normal blood sugars are much more productive of weight loss.
Wow, thanks Jenny!! I had never heard that before, but it makes me feel better

All of this stuff makes me want to go back to school and become a diabetes researcher...but I think I may do law school instead...! Hard choice.

I don't fully trust Ketostix. There is enough fat in my diet to register ketosis no matter what (since I eat VLC/induction level carbs). I didn't register in ketosis at around 50 or 60 carbs per day(pre atkins), but as soon as I dropped to induction levels, I registered as in ketosis on the 1st day. So I don't think they can be relied on anyway...not 100%. I am losing (no where close to maintaining LOL...I have about 60 pounds to go before I want to stay that way!) and apparently the bars have not stalled me yet....I guess 'it's all about the blood sugar' is really the right attitude

I am going to use them on my flight on Saturday...especially if the meal I get is full of rice and unidentifiable sauce (which is probably sugary!)...I'd rather eat an Atkins bar than something that is undoubtedly going to send my blood sugar sky high....these are the situations where I am happy to have something like this (when I can get it...believe it or not, you would pay FIVE DOLLARS for ONE Atkins bar in Denmark(and that is from the one website where you can buy them)...I am just gonna stock up in the states!
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:21 AM   #25
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This is wonderful news. Thank you for doing this test.

I have tried several of the bars and the Chocolate Coconut is my favorite. I honestly think it is better than a Mounds bar. These have saved me a couple times when I was craving sweets.

I have also had the caramel double chocolate crunch bar which is very good.

They have some new ones with fruit flavors. The Apple Crisp are good but they somehow seem sweeter to me. And, my most recent one I tried were the Fruit Crumble which were not too bad.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:28 AM   #26
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Wow, thanks Jenny!! I had never heard that before, but it makes me feel better

All of this stuff makes me want to go back to school and become a diabetes researcher...but I think I may do law school instead...! Hard choice.
Sadly, professional diabetes researchers face the problem that almost all diabetes research is funded by drug companies, and that the research that isn't mostly starts out from flawed assumptions that are commonly believed, i.e. that diabetes is caused by eating too much fatty food.

I think it would be very difficult for a thinking person to do diabetes research in an environment where drug companies will threaten an institution with the cut off of funding (or billion dollar law suits) if a researcher tries to publish research that documents the dangers of the drugs, or blows the whistle on how the drug companies skewed the data presented to the FDA. The makers of Avandia did just this and since they paid no price for it when caught they continue to do so, as do the others.

I have been following the research very carefully for more than 7 years, and can only publish the things I do because I'm NOT in the profession and not dependent on funding sources for a salary.

I have been told things off the record by researchers--for example why it is likely Januvia and Onglyza promote cancer, but they don't dare speak up about them, because of the drug company funding issue.

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Old 08-25-2010, 11:50 AM   #27
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Sadly, professional diabetes researchers face the problem that almost all diabetes research is funded by drug companies, and that the research that isn't mostly starts out from flawed assumptions that are commonly believed, i.e. that diabetes is caused by eating too much fatty food.

I think it would be very difficult for a thinking person to do diabetes research in an environment where drug companies will threaten an institution with the cut off of funding (or billion dollar law suits) if a researcher tries to publish research that documents the dangers of the drugs, or blows the whistle on how the drug companies skewed the data presented to the FDA. The makers of Avandia did just this and since they paid no price for it when caught they continue to do so, as do the others.

I have been following the research very carefully for more than 7 years, and can only publish the things I do because I'm NOT in the profession and not dependent on funding sources for a salary.

I have been told things off the record by researchers--for example why it is likely Januvia and Onglyza promote cancer, but they don't dare speak up about them, because of the drug company funding issue.
So much for wanting to make a difference in the world I should remind myself not to get caught up in reckless optimism when it comes to these things...
Living where I do I am sure that all research is funded/controlled by Novo Nordisk

I guess I'll go on and become a bloodsucking lawyer instead! (I really do think there is opportunity to do good in the practice of law...but it sounds funny this way!)
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:16 PM   #28
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Jenny, I've noticed how well you explain scientific things, and have been impressed with your knowledge concerning the scientific method and the interpretation of research.

I've found that usually, that kind of knowledge only comes from an education in hard science, yet I don't see any background of that type mentioned on your web pages. Have you picked it up on your own?
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:13 PM   #29
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Jenny, I've noticed how well you explain scientific things, and have been impressed with your knowledge concerning the scientific method and the interpretation of research.

I've found that usually, that kind of knowledge only comes from an education in hard science, yet I don't see any background of that type mentioned on your web pages. Have you picked it up on your own?
I don't have a science degree, but I am an omnivorous reader who reads a few nonfiction books every week (thank goodness for public libraries!) I absorbed a lot over the years from my reading. Then when I started reading the diabetes research back around 2003, I pestered my friends who know more science than I do to explain the new concepts I needed to know. Reading journal articles on a regular basis since then has helped me fill in a lot more. And of course, Google is very helpful when I need to research new areas.

I've always been good at research. I sold American Heritage a seminar paper I did in grad school and I used to sell salary and rate information I collected and compiled to professionals in the computer industry. Because I spent a lot of time figuring out how to use statistics to make complex data meaningful I'm a bit more sensitive than most to how drug companies and researchers with poor results use statistics to make that poor data look more meaningful than it is.

My software n background (I specialized in debugging huge, poorly documented systems back in the '80s) also helps me think critically about study design, which alas doesn't seem to be true of people trained in medicine.

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Old 08-26-2010, 07:27 AM   #30
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That's interesting. You would have been a great scientist, but writing romance novels is probably much more rewarding. I was a scientist once, but switched careers in my 20s, and I'm glad I did.

And I have another question that I've been meaning to ask you, which is more closely related to this thread.

You've said that one can't eat one's way to diabetes. However, let's say that when you were 20 years old, you knew everything that you know today, and further, when you were a child, your parents knew everything you know today. I'm assuming this would mean that you would have therefore eaten very low carb your entire life.

If that were true, do you think you'd have diabetes today?

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