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Low Carb Lunacy
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Atkins Dieters Beware

Reduced carb bread? Low carb beer? Please. What is that? If you're following a low carb plan you'll do yourself a huge favor by staying far away from these products. It didn't work with "low fat" products, and it won't work with low carb either.

Not Low Carb at all

So called "low carb" products are not low carb at all. It's just more fun and games with labeling. How do they do it? Read the nutrition label and you'll see they've added artificial sweeteners (which effectively reduces the carbs), and then reduced the serving size to ridiculously small amounts, thus keeping the carbohydrate count low. Since no one eats those suggested serving sizes, usually eating the entire package instead, you're getting far more carbs and calories than you may realize.

This is what went so horribly wrong with low fat products. People rushed to eat them, innocently believing that low fat meant calorie free. They didn't read the labels which showed the products were usually the same amount of calories - sometimes even more - and they also ate more of the reduced fat version since, after all, it was low fat, right? No wonder obesity rates keep climbing. Now the low fat diet is being blamed, when in actuality it is the labeling laws which should be in question.

Why are companies allowed to mislead the public in this way? Four small cookies is not four servings. It is one serving. If products were labeled in amounts more closely resembling what we are actually eating, then we'd get a better idea of what's going on.

The Low Carb Cookie Breakdown

Check this nutritional label for a "low carb" cookie. The ad states: "These cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth." A serving is one cookie. One cookie weighs 28 grams (just under one ounce). Who exactly would be satisfied with that? Would you?

Here is their actual nutrition info:

Chocolate Chip Nutrition Facts:

  • Servings per container 4
  • Serving Size 1 cookie (28g)
  • Calories 140
  • Calories from Fat 90
  • Total Fat 10g
  • Saturated Fat 4g
  • Cholesterol 25mg
  • Sodium 40mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 11g*
  • Dietary Fiber 1g*
  • Sugars <1g
  • Sugar Alcohols 8g*
  • Protein 4g

Ingredients: Almond flour, butter, sugar free chocolate chips (mannitol, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa mass, vegetable fat, lecithin and vanilla flavors), maltitol, eggs, wheat protein, oat flour, vanilla, guar gum, sucralose, baking soda.

*Net Impact Carbs = 2 grams per serving (what?)

I'm not even sure what this is suppose to mean? Net impact carbs? Are they claiming the other 9 grams of carbs have no impact? If I'm confused, so are probably millions of other people. Someone please explain.

What are Net Carbs?

Okay, I found the answer and it's a doozy. They calculate"net carbs" by subtracting fiber grams from the total carb grams. For example, if there are two grams of fiber, and 10 grams of total carbs, you'd end up with eight grams of net carbs. That would be okay, but they take it a wee bit further in the products they market, suddenly coming up with a magical figure for Polydextrose/Fiber and Glycerin, and effectively reducing a product from 22 grams of carbs to 2 net carbs. Wow, that's magic.

Wouldn't you be more likely to eat the entire package? Unless they taste like cardboard, I'd be willing to bet anyone would. If that "net carbs" phrase is meaningless, which I suspect it is, it seems to me you've just had 44 grams of carbs, which is double the allowable amount for the entire day in the early period of the Atkins Diet. Not exactly Atkins Diet worthy, yet, this product is advertised as a good product for those on the Atkins Diet.

If you ate all four cookies you'd be gulping down 560 calories worth of crap. No nutritional value, just a huge amount of calories for not much in deliciousness in exchange. No thanks.

How Do They Reduce the Carbs?

In the ingredients they list three types of sweetener: mannitol, maltitol, and sucralose. Here's the skinny on these sweeteners:

Mannitol: Not quite as sweet as sugar and poorly absorbed by the body. It contributes only half as many calories as sugar. Commonly used as the "dust" on chewing gum, as it prevents gum from absorbing moisture and becoming sticky.

Maltitol: Made by the hydrogenation of maltose which is obtained from starch. May produce a laxative effect when consumed at very high levels.

Sucralose: Also known as Splenda. An artificial sweetener which is a
chlorinated sucrose derivative. Pre-approval research showed that sucralose caused shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) and enlarged liver and kidneys, which the manufacturer disputes blaming the high amounts given to laboratory animals (that's the point of testing, but guess the manufacturer doesn't care).

Skip Low Carb Products and You'll be Better Off

My advice: Skip the "low carb" versions. If you want a cookie, eat a cookie. Go to a good bakery and just buy one, two, or three cookies. You're more likely to be satisfied with one "real" cookie than a whole box full of the fake.

Low carb, low fat, any modified version is best avoided, and you can take that to the bank.

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Kathryn Martyn Smith, M.NLP EFT Weight Loss Coach
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