Monday, 30 May 2011


Over the last year and a bit I have lost over three stones of weight, well fat actually, by adopting a low carbohydrate eating pattern. I was loosely following the works of Dr Atkins and his successors in their recently published book "New Atkins, New You" - NANY from now on - and in earlier texts.

Unfortunately NANY is published in the UK with some modifications that are supposed to make it easier for us to use, but have the opposite effect. These are :

  • Net carbs - in the US food labelling laws are different to here so we only need to consider the quantity of Carbohydrates on the labels, we do not need to subtract fiber (sic) to get to "net carbs".
  • Cups - apparently a lot of US recipes are volume based using cups, where a cup is about 240ml. These are unhelpfully transposed into grams in NANY using the assumption that 1g = 1ml so as a result a cup of shredded lettuce that should be about 72g becomes a massive helping of 240g.
So if you read the book or the information on Atkins UK site be prepared to mentally blank out references to "net carbs" and don't do any subtractions from the Carbohydrates number off the label or other UK sourced data including supermarket web sites.

If you want to follow any of the Atkins recipes then either equip yourself with a set of measuring cups from Lakeland Plastics or similar or do the homework to see what weight of the particular ingredient fits into a cup.

There are other "movements" in low carb eating, several of which benefit from having a live and active promoter. Atkins Inc is keeping the words and thinking of Dr A in the public mind but there's nothing quite like being able to interact online with the likes of Gary Taubes or Dr Eades. In Sweden the approach is known as LCHF - Low Carb High Fat - though I suspect they use different words !

In the UK we don't have many speciality low carb products in high street stores or supermarkets, although we do have active online retailers/importers like Low Carb Megastore and Avidlite for a wider range of choice. The lack of special diet products is not that big a deal, as you can eat plenty of real foods that are low in carbohydrate, but sometimes it helps to have a snack item to hand when otherwise you may be faced with a carb-fest in a service station or corner shop.