The New Atkins for a New You

In case you didn’t notice, Atkins Nutritionals came out with an update to the Atkins plan. I think the book came out March 2, 2010, so it’s literally hot off the presses. If you would like to read a real review (not my ramblings here), click on the book above. When I checked it out, Jimmy Moore had posted a long review of the book. It was the only one.

I’m sure it won’t stay like that for long – and the Atkins detractors will soon flood the reviews with 1-star ratings, probably without reading the book.

I picked up the book and have only read the beginning, but it seems to be a big overhaul of the Atkins diet that appears to try and answer just about every criticism of past Atkins plans, and lob bombs at some of their most strident enemies.

For example: the book discusses doing Atkins as a vegan, for goodness’ sake. That should tick off the radical vegans, as one of their favorite targets has made peace with them and extended a hand of friendship. After all that hate, it might be hard for them to reciprocate.

I can imagine that a number of Atkinistas will be horrified as well – many folks in the Atkins community thought the update to the 1972 version of Atkins was heresy. It allowed artificial sweeteners, which some believed was done to allow Atkins nutritionals to sell their Atkins junk food. You’ll find the same thing in this new book as well.

But let’s face it: if you’ve been eating high carb candy, cake, pasta and cookies all your life, Atkins junk food is a great crutch to help you break free of a lifetime of bad eating. It would be great if we all had the willpower to quit high carb goodies cold-turkey, but it’s unrealistic – and if a sweet, gooey Atkins bar displaces a jelly donut, then it has served it’s purpose.

Enough from me. The takeaway of this post is: there’s a new Atkins book, and it’s more than a rehash – it’s an overhaul. It might be worth it to go to your local bookstore, pick up a copy, grab a coffee (yes, the book now says that coffee is permitted on Atkins as it has a mild weight loss effect) and page through the thing. You might find it worth buying.

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18 thoughts on “The New Atkins for a New You

  1. There are four senses in which dietary advice can be bad. 1) The advice may be inappropriate. (http://www.anapsid.org/aboutmk/biochem.html 2) The advice may be to consume too much of something harmful. http://omega-6-omega-3-balance.omegaoptimize.com/2009/01/30/the-american-heart-associations-agendait-sure-aint-science-or-public-health.aspx 3) The advice may warn the reader not to consume something healthful. http://blogs.consumerreports.org/health/2010/02/is-ghee-saturated-fat-free-ghee-contains-about-20-percent-more-fat-than-butter.html 4) The author may fail to warn the reader to reduce consumption of something harmful he’s already consuming. http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2010/02/28/how_good_are_you_at_choosing_healthier_fats

    Keep these four things in mind whenever you evaluate a book or article containing nutritional advice.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for the links – I’ll check them out later. I am interested in your personal opinion as well.

      I myself am reading with a critical eye towards Omega-6 oils. For instance, I noted that they want you to avoid mayo made with soybean oil – but not canola oil. Interesting, as they don’t explain why and I would more or less consider these oils as ones to be avoided. They recommend extra virgin olive oil for salads and veggies, and regular cold-pressed olive oil for cooking – and of course butter, as this is Atkins.

      Now – I am open to the notion that omega-6 oils might be bad for you, so I would adjust the diet to minimize these. I wouldn’t attempt to eliminate these as omega-6 oils are needed by the body as well, at least as I understand things – it’s just that we tend to get way too much of these in the standard modern diet.

      So – given this minor adjustment – and looking at Atkins post-induction, where a wide variety of healthful foods are allowed and ketosis is no longer part of the plan – what advice would you differ with?

      Regards,

      LCC

      • Hi LCC,

        According to one source, canola is about 10% omega-3 and 20% omega-6. It’s not as rich a source of polyunsaturated fats as corn oil with it’s 50% omega-6 and almost 0% omega-3. Still, that’s a lot of polyunsaturated fat and you probably don’t want that much in your diet. http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20081117/canola-oil-may-affect-breast-cancer-risk

        Here’s an interesting comment posted on Matt Stone’s blog by a fellow named Drew. It’s about how high levels of omega-3s and 6s affect longevity and manner of death.

        “On Omega 3s: Awhile back with the AV Skeptics group and Bruce, we also frequented the Scientific Debate Forum. He had a lot about Omega 3s there, and his opinion (which seemed to make sense based on the evidence Ive seen) is that Omegas 3s stop the metabolization by cells of the arachadonic acid from Omega 6s, thus reducing the inflammation caused by the Omega 6s, which is why so many get reductions in their inflammation by taking Omega 3 oils. The problem with this, he says, is that the Omega 3s do a lot more damage over time with oxidation and free radicals that it’s way worse in the long run to use Omega 3s to stop the Omega 6s (assuming you are taking the Omega 3 oils for long periods of time). I remember one study done feeding mice their fat as omega 3s vs omega 6s, and the omega 6 mice lived longer but died of tumors and such but the omega 3 mice lived about 20% less time and died of weird causes (can’t remember what they were now). I don’t remember much else about the study. Again, me just relaying information.”
        http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-reduce-omega-6-tissue.html

        When all is said and done, the important thing is to keep intake of both omega-6s and 3s low so as not to overwhelm the body’s ability to control their action. This can be done, in part, by choosing foods high in saturated fats.

        As for me, I’d like to lead a simple life. I may be obsessed with knowing which foods cause metabolic damage and which foods are benign but, I don’t want to obsess about health and food. And I don’t want to be taking supplements for the rest of my life and sending all those little plastic bottles to the landfill.

  2. The 1972 Atkins book does allow artificial sweetener. At that point, it was saccharine.

    I do think that AS are a very bad idea for people who are carb addicted. They will never get over their sugar cravings if they can’t let that sweet taste go.

    • 2 things here, Nicole: as I did not read Atkins 1972, I’ll go with your correction – perhaps it was the sugar alcohols that had the purists upset? I do recall that the revised Atkins was put down on a number of boards I used to frequent, and I recalled that it was around sweeteners. Care to enlighten me? I’ll fix the post.

      On the use of artificial sweeteners, I agree with the notion that we should live without them – we only differ in how people get there. Cold turkey works for some people – for others, it would derail them on a diet that ALREADY might feel like a straightjacket at the beginning to some people.

      If some low carb junk food helps someone keep on a diet they would have otherwise given up on, I think that’s OK. They can battle their sweet tooth after they take off some pounds and have new energy and motivation to eliminate the artificial sweeteners.

      Thanks for writing.

      LCC

  3. Amen, brotha! To each his own…it worked for the Dr.’s patients…everyone needs tweaking a little different. Too much black and white…let it be…I think AS are still a better alternative than sugar.

  4. I LOVED this book. I am a fan of Atkins from waay back and I think I may love his book on supplements even more. I tried doing the Atkins years ago and lost some small amount of weight but not anything earth shattering. My husband lost 30 pounds and went on to have a mid-life crisis after losing the weight….affair, motorcycle, manicures, pedicures, etc….ending in divorce. So that’s what Atkins did for me – LOL! 😉 Anyway, even on Induction I was not losing weight. Now, however in this new book, there is a women highlighted that has the EXACT same problems as me, ie. hormone issues and being hypothyroid. If I even so much as look at a carb, I gain weight and crave sweets. What Atkins did for her was tweak Induction. Instead of having 20 carbs/day total; she was told to have just 11 (mostly from vegetables). Using this personalized variation of Induction she has slowly been able to lose weight. So, armed with that knowledge, I have just started Atkins yesterday and am doing the 11 carbs/day diet to see if I can begin to lose weight. I had given up. I need to lose 30 pounds. I had been using the Irvinigia, but that only keeps me from gaining weight and not lose weight.
    I also now do BHRT and take thyroid medicine so I am hoping that this will finally work.

    Regarding artificial sweetners….I use Stevia in my coffee in the mornings. I don’t think that what Nicole says is true about getting over sweet cravings. If you do Atkins correctly and then have candy or cake, the sugar will make you feel AWFUL and you will be reluctant to do it again.

    • I too havehypothyroid and am onBHRT. Do you have a daily menu you follow for ending night eating and hunger? Ineed to loose 30 lbs also. I’m fine during the day but nights are torture. How have you tweaked induction??

  5. One of the first things I picked up from the new book is to count each packet of sweetner as one carb. Is this new or has it always been that way? I also feel the new book is more restrictive and therefore giving me more definition. I am giving up all my low carb pastas and other alternative foods for the duration. I’m back on very simple foods not requiring recipes. Just lots of salad, limited cooked veggies, and watching how much protein I am eating. Limiting that to 4 ounces 3 times a day. I knew I was getting hidden carbs from somewhere. I think I found one source.

  6. insomnia – After I have been on Induction for a week, I am no longer hungry at night and I always liked to snack (more for end of workday I deserve a treat reasons). I get home from work late – 7:00 and I will have rotissiere chicken with a little olive oil or two fried eggs with 4 pieces of bacon. If I really need a snack I have one of the new Atkins Endulge bars because they do not have an aftertaste like the old ones. They say use in Phase 2, but the package states 2g net carbs… However, what I find strange is that on the 4th day of Induction I tried using the Ketone strips. They came out deep purple. I am still eating the same menu and the strip results are now coming out very light – I can’t figure it out since my eating habits have not changed.

    as far as tweaking Induction…I have an extreme sensitivity to carbs and so starting with 20 carbs a day from foundation veggies really doesn’t do much for me. I have started with as low amount of carbs I can do and believe me that this is hard! I would not recommend it unless you are like myself and nothing works.

    Since you sign your name as insomnia I am guessing you have trouble sleeping? I used to. What I do now is at night I use the BHRT Bi-EST cream and my doctor gives me a progesterone pill to take. For some reason that she explained scientifically and I promptly forgot (enzimatic reaction?) the pill form works within a half hour to put you to relax you and put you to sleep. I combine this with a melatonin cream and if I really can’t sleep, like say on a Sunday night before the work week, I take 2 Advil which have a relaxing effect on me. I also take L-Theanine during the early evening if I am stressed. So, my sleeping problems are over – thankfully.

    It has been two weeks since I began Induction and I have lost 4-1/2 pounds. We shall see what happens going forward. I have done all the different diets and even the Irvinigia and I just can’t lose any weight.

    I must say that doing Atkins I no longer crave sweets at all but the headaches during the first week were hard. Personally, I think that I just ate so much sugar when my kids were small I kind of ruined the way my body processes sugar and it will just take a long time on Atkins before I can eat the “normal” amount of carbs again.

  7. LCC – I was reading one of your comments on Induction from 2007 and you mentioned that you thought taking Metamucil was a very important part of induction. I am thinking about trying this – can you tell me if you still use it in the same way and what time of day do you take it? Thanks. I am now going back to read more so I may have further questions 🙂

    • Hi SusanM,

      I still take it every day. Throughout all my experimentation, that’s one thing that has been pretty constant. I take 2-3 tablespoons in 16 oz of water in the late afternoon or early evening. I like to take it then because it helps to suppress my appetite when it’s at it’s worst (the evening) and I want to avoid taking it near the time I take my vitamins as my understanding is it can block absorption. This is NOT how you are supposed to do it as stated on the label, but it works for me, and does not prevent me from getting into ketosis (I’m there now – yay).

      Good luck – and one other thing: check out the store brands if you want to save some bucks.

      Regards,

      LCC

      • LCC – I take thyroid medication twice a day on an empty stomach (try finding a time when your stomach is empty! lol) so on second thought, I don’t think that I can take the fiber…. For me to stay in ketosis I have to limit my carbs down to almost none and make sure I am eating enough fat. BUT the weight continues to come off albeit slowly compared to others but I don’t care as long as it comes off. At some point after I lose enough weight or from food choice bordom I’ll have to begin adding carbs back in but slowly. We shall see. I have re-read Gary Taubes book and it really hit home – the summary at the end.

  8. My problem is that the more Atkins push processed low carb foods on to their consumers the less healthy they will become. I also believe it will be harder to lose weight. I just read a post the other day at No Pain No Grain. She could not lose weight on a low carb diet until she got rid of the processed low carbs.

    • Dr Dan,

      You are absolutely right – to a point.

      For someone going cold turkey from a life of eating candy bars with 40 grams of carbs to 2 grams of carbs, that processed concoction of chemicals Atkins sells and calls a candy bar is a crutch.
      I don’t have a problem with crutches, however. If it helps a person lose weight, and start to feel better, and begin to slowly change a lifetime of bad habits, then it served it’s purpose perfectly.
      With crutches, you can give them up after a time, and remove the processed food completely as your taste changes.
      I’ve made my piece with regards to Atkins products – they can be a powerful tool to help some people lose weight and change their habits, and help people transition to a healthier eating lifestyle.
      It doesn’t work for everyone – nothing does – but I can’t condemn something that could help a number of people lose weight that might not have been able to do so without them.

      Regards,
      LCC

  9. I have a question about Splenda. I have been drinking the Splenda sweetened soda for a few weeks now – as LCC knows my penchant for Root Beer with heavy cream…. (I have been doing very low carb since March 14 and have lost 10 pounds and am now losing around .5 lb/week and have 20lbs to go.) A co-worker of mine, saw my soda and told me that Splenda, aside from being chemically bad for you, slows down the metabolism…. hmmm. I am hypothyroid so this was NOT what I wanted to hear. So I wondered if you – LCC had heard of this or any of your readers have?

    • Hi Susan,

      It appears that your coworker just wants you miserable.

      It seems that it’s been reported that it does slow down metabolism – a bit – because it reduces thermogenesis. So how do they come to this conclusion? Give a rat sugar and another splenda, then check their temperatures. The rat on Splenda runs cooler, so the conclusion is: Splenda slows metabolism.

      It also means another thing: sugar RAISES metabolism – right? Sow we’re not too far off from saying to your coworker: keep drinking that sugary soda as it will help you burn off the pounds by raising your metabolism.

      My conclusion is that the impact is minimal.

      Here’s a link that has more info – including links to the study this conclusion came from:

      http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=478872291

      Regards,

      LCC

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