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Serving dieters and diabetics since 2003

Glossary

GLYCAEMIC INDEX: Also glycaemic load and can be spelt glycemic. The Atkins diet is low glycemic. Some carbohydrates take longer to increase the sugar levels in the blood stream than others. Low glycemic foods break down slowly, with a slower increase in sugar levels, and are therefore better for everybody but especially diabetics who need to keep their sugar levels steady. High glycemic foods release glucose (sugar) into the blood stream quickly and are therefore best avoided. Generally speaking "white" carbs or refined carbs are high glycemic (sugar, white wheat flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice, potatoes) whereas "brown" carbs or less refined carbs are lower glycemic eg whole grain bread, pasta, rice and cereals. Vegetables and salad (not root) are very low glycemic. On Atkins Induction, most of your daily carb allowance of 20g should come from eating vegetables and salad (not root); these carbs are also accompanied by valuable nutrients, enzymes and fibre. On the final and longest phase of Atkins, Lifetime Maintenance, some "brown" carbs are allowed, and even a small amount of potatoes. You could say that Atkins is designed as a low glycemic diet as well as low carb. All diabetics should be following low glycemic diets, and everybody else could avoid or postpone diabetes by following a low glycemic diet.

ASPARTAME: an artificial sweetener, marketed as NutraSweet . Its contribution to calories content is neglible. However, there are potential concerns about certain health issues, and the substance may make it difficult for the body to burn fat. Any slight concerns about health issues may be outweighed by the benefit of not being known to cause laxative effects.

CAFFEINE: this is a natural stimulant found in many common foods and beverages, including coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate. Consuming too much can lead to headaches, trembling, rapid heart rate, and other undesirable side effects. Excessive caffeine can also cause unstable blood sugar, and therefore lead to binge eating. There is some research that indicates that some caffeine is beneficial.

NET CARBS: this is an Atkins term and refers to the carbohydrates that can be digested and processed by the body as dietary carbohydrate and therefore directly impact on blood sugar. To calculate "net carbs" subtract the figure for polyols and glycerine from the total for carbohydrates. For US products, or products designed for the US market, also subtract the figure for fibre. It is only the "net carbs" that concern Atkins dieters. On the Avidlite website we have done the calculations for you.

SUGAR ALCOHOLS: Also known as POLYOLS. Polyols have many of the characteristics of carbohydrates such as bulking and sweetening, but provide fewer calories, and do not impact blood glucose as sugar does. Better examples of polyols are maltitol, xylitol, and isomalt. Most of the chocolate in this online shop is sweetened with maltitol. The sweets are sweetened with isomalt or maltitol, and the chewing gum with xylitol. These natural sweeteners have a potential drawback of producing laxative effects in some people when eaten in excess.

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