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Getting Started On The Modified Atkins Diet

This diet must be closely monitored by a physician and Registered Dietician. You should not try this diet on your own! This is meant to be informative only.

Making dietary changes of any kind can be challenging.  However, due to the strict requirements of the Modified Atkins Diet, this challenge may seem overwhelming.  Therefore, the best way to approach this diet is to reach the goal of 10 grams of carbohydrate per day little by little. Below you will find step by step guidelines on how to get started. :)

Before getting started, let’s review what foods are considered sources of carbohydrate.

Starches Fruits Vegetables Dairy Sweets Other
Bread, rice, pasta, cereal, crackers, bagels, pretzels, chips, pancakes, etc. All fruits have carbohydrate however they vary in the amount. An average size piece of fruit has approximately 30 grams of carbohydrate. All vegetables have carbohydrate however some have more than others. Peas, corn, potatoes, and lima beans are considered “starchy” vegetables and have over twice the amount of carbohydrate in them than other vegetables. All dairy products will have carbohydrate. This includes milk, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese.  Most cheeses are minimal and can be used often on this diet. Cookies, candy, chocolate, gum, etc. Note that sugar free DOES NOT MEAN carbohydrate free! Gum, salad dressings, sauces, condiments (ketchup, barbeque sauce) have carbohydrate. Make sure to read all food labels!

When using 10 grams per day, you can use all 10 grams on one item or split up the allotted grams throughout the day.

Step One: Eliminate All High Calorie Beverages
High calorie beverages include juice, soda, and flavored milks.  Each of these items have well over 10 grams of carbohydrate in just one serving.  Acceptable substitutions for these items include water, unsweetened iced tea, diet soda, many Diet Snapple and Crystal Light products, and seltzer water.

Step Two: Eliminate Sweets and High Carbohydrate Condiments
Sweet and sugary foods are very high in carbohydrate.  Though it may be difficult to eliminate these items, it is essential to move forward with the diet.  It may be helpful to try and substitute some of these sweets. 
Example: Instead of chocolate milk, try one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (~3 grams carbohydrate) and mix with heavy cream.  This can also be heated to make hot chocolate.  
Example: Make a popsicle with diet soda (diet root beer or orange soda) and heavy cream.  Use an ice cube tray (or small cups) to make these treats.  Fill up half with diet soda and half heavy cream.  Place in freezer and let sit for a frozen treat. :)
Example: Experiment with Ketocal!  Ketocal, the powdered formula made by Nutricia can also be used as a baking agent.  Popular items include cakes, muffins, and cookies.  Check out MyKetocal.com for recipes!

Step Three: Eliminate Fruits
As noted above, the average medium size fruit has ~28-30 grams of carbohydrate.  It will be an option to use all 10 grams towards a small portion of fruit.  Start by decreasing your current portions by half.  In addition, try to get the most out of what you are eating.  You can eat almost ½  cup of blueberries for 10 grams or 1/3 of a banana.  Eating several blueberries will help make the portion seem bigger. 

Step Four: Increase Protein Sources
Due to the fact that this diet requires a very limited amount of carbohydrate, it is essential to increase protein and fat intake in order to take in adequate calories as well as promote ketosis.  High protein foods should be the staple of this diet as they are considered “free foods.”  High protein foods include all meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs.  One of these items should be included in every meal. 

Step Five: Decrease Starchy Food Intake
This can often be the most difficult step in starting the diet as starchy foods make up a large percentage of a regular diet.  The best way to do this is by making small goals.  First, try to decrease portion sizes of these items at each meal.  For example, instead of making a sandwich with two slices of bread, only use one but double up on the protein source.  Once portion sizes have decreased, eliminate all starchy foods from one meal per day.  These leaves room for the other two meals to have a small amount of carbohydrate in them.

Step Six: Adding Fat Into Your Diet
Though this step comes towards the end of the process it is essential for success.  When our bodies are not given adequate carbohydrate to use as fuel, fat is used.  Therefore, as carbohydrate intake is decreased, fat intake should be increased.  As a refresher, pure fat sources are oil, butter, margarine, heavy cream (double check food labels as some have a small amount of carbohydrate), and mayonnaise

Fat can be added to meals in the following way:
● Using heavy cream as a beverage/milk substitute.
● Adding heavy cream when making scramble eggs.
● Always frying meat products in oil.
● Melt butter and pour over meat or poultry as a sauce.
● Use mayonnaise as a dip for turkey, bacon, or chicken.
● Make cream sauces with heavy cream and cheese to pour on top of meat or small portions of vegetables.

Step Seven: Putting It All Together
Congratulations!  You have almost made it!  All that is left is putting everything together.  In other words, reading food labels to help determine what 10 grams of carbohydrate looks like. 

For example: An average slice of bread is ~15 grams of carbohydrate.  Therefore, 1/3 of that slice is 5 grams.  This 1/3 slice portion can be served at a meal and you will have 5 more grams to use that day.

Remember to complete one step at a time.  Do not move forward without successfully finishing any step.  When problems or frustrations arise please email me: acsamuels23@gmail.com