Low Carb Foods

As low carb and no carb diets have become more popular in recent years, it was only inevitable before food manufacturers latched onto the trend and began to make low-carb versions of every kind of food imaginable.

First it was low-fat or no-fat, then low-calorie or no-calorie. Now, as diets such as the Atkins diet and other variations such as the South Beach Diet have gained mass followers, the latest diet fad has turned to low carb foods. While online specialty food stores and health food stores have been selling low carb foods for awhile now, supermarkets are catching on to the trend and have begun featuring many low carb offerings as well.

Some people have said they love bread and pasta too much to give them up on a diet. The Atkins diet allows for only 20 carbohydrates a day, which is many less carbohydrates than one single slice of bread has. But bread manufacturers have managed to include specialty versions of low carb breads among the low carb foods offerings. Other low carb foods come from manufactures such as CarbSense, CarboLite and CarbSlim. The low carb foods offerings also include cereal, pasta, ice cream and candy bars.

However, low carb foods are usually priced higher than their counterparts, and may not have the same taste consumers are looking for. Fast food restaurants have jumped in on the low carb foods craze, and Subway offers an Atkins-friendly wrap. Other than the pioneering book written by Dr. Atkins, the Atkins company offers a variety of recipes for low carb foods as well as low carb foods for sale on its Web site. Included are tortillas, cream puff mixes, energy nutrition bars, candy, ice cream and cereal.

Many regular carbonated beverages have too many carbohydrates for Atkins dieters to drink as well. Beverage manufacturers have responded by producing low carb drinks. Coca-Cola recently unveiled its own low carb foods, C2, which has half the carbs of regular Coke, but is promoted as having the same taste. Pepsi has also introduced PepsiEdge, a mid carb soda competing with C2.

Ben and Jerry’s, the ice cream company loved for their delectable ice cream mixes, has also developed low carb foods alternatives. A serving of Carb Karma Ice Cream, of which there are three flavors, ranges from 11-18 carbs.

However, low carb foods have been criticized for their effect on the body, which has not been studied at length. Health experts, such as the American Dietetic Association, advise against the rush to use low carb foods. The ADA emphasizes that without enough carbs, the body’s sugar levels drop, which can lead to headaches and fatigue. The body has to work harder to make up for the lack of carbs or to process the low carb foods, leading to the water being flushed out of the body — dehydration is a common side effect.

While low carb foods may sound attractive, it is important to remember that no-fat foods sounded attractive in the beginning too. Only years afterwards did physicians still see the effects on their patients, as overweight people remained overweight. Also, for some low carb foods offerings (such as the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream), only one serving would fit within the daily carb allowance on the Atkins diet.