Monday, July 25, 2011

News About Effects on Blood Sugar of Atkins Nutritionals

If you are a fan of Jimmy Moore as I am, you may have already read a lot about his n=1 experiments on various touted low carb foods. He has tested Dreamfields pasta with not so good results and Julian Bakery Smart Carb Breads with also not so good results on his blood sugar. Now, he has moved on to testing the Atkins Nutritional products. So you won't have to hunt this article on his blog, I have copied and pasted it for you. It is well worth reading! Some of the things we have blindly assumed are really low carb- are not! Anyway, when you have a few minutes take time and give this information a read. You may even want to do some testing on your own!

Jimmy Moore’s n=1 Experiments: Atkins Nutritionals Protein Shakes

Little did I know when I started my n=1 experiments in May 2011 that they would so quickly capture the intense attention of my readers and the manufacturers of the products I am testing. It all started with Dreamfields pasta which unfortunately tracked virtually identical blood sugar response as white pasta despite their claim that one serving size has 5g “protected carbs” on blood sugar. When I asked Dreamfields President Mike Crowley to explain why this happened in an interview, all he could say is “we stand behind the nutritional claims of our low-carb pasta.” I was disappointed to say the least.
Then last month I moved on to Julian Bakery SmartCarb breads made into grilled cheese sandwiches using coconut oil and cheese (which is how many low-carbers who were purchasing this bread probably used it). The blood sugar testing results I shared started a firestorm of responses from a representative there named Heath Squier (who ironically showed very similar poor blood sugar control after eating the SmartCarb #1 bread which he described as “great results”) who claimed his 1-2g net carb breads produce “almost no increase in blood sugar” in anyone who consumes them alone. He went on and on about how the couple of grams of natural sugars contained in the cheese I consumed with his breads led to the huge spike in my blood sugar and that this made my test results invalid. This was totally bogus and I knew it was merely a smokescreen excuse.
Nevertheless, I gave Heath the benefit of the doubt and retested my blood sugar consuming just the SmartCarb breads alone. The result? My blood sugar results were even worse eating just the bread than they were with the coconut oil and cheese. A lot of hemming and hawing ensued after I published my second set of tests and I continually asked Heath for a logical explanation about what happened to my blood sugar when this bread is supposed to be “low-carb.” All I ever heard from him was that my “results are not typical” and that within two weeks there would be plenty of examples from the over 100,000 customers nationwide that would counter my results. It’s now six weeks later and there’s only been this one blood sugar test result from a Type 1 diabetic eating SmartCarb #1 bread published so far. I welcome more people who doubt my results to test for yourself. Again, that’s what this n=1 experiment is really all about.
After all, lest anyone following my n=1 experiments forgets, this is merely one man’s blood sugar response to a series of food products purporting to be “low-carb” and ANYONE can replicate them for themselves quite easily (if they don’t mind pricking themselves as many as 10-15 times each day for the glucometer readings). What I happen to see with my blood sugar levels doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing will happen to YOU! So, as my friend Jenny Ruhl says on her popular “Blood Sugar 101″ web site, you just gotta “Test test test!”
When I started testing my blood sugar levels and posting the results on my blog, some of my fellow non-diabetic friends and readers scoffed at the notion of testing blood sugar levels since we’re not diabetic. But anyone who has read my blog or listened to my podcast for any length of time already knows that keeping blood glucose levels under control is of the utmost importance (the amazing Dr. William Davis from “The Heart Scan Blog” refers to this kind of self-testing as “Glucomania”). Out of control blood sugar levels is arguably the worst thing metabolically for your body to endure. Consuming foods that keep blood sugars stabilized as opposed to an erratic up and down rollercoaster ride is ideal for optimal overall health.
That’s why so many of us with compromised metabolisms and hormones that are out of whack enjoy livin’ la vida low-carb so much. Keeping our carbohydrate intake limited primarily to green leafy and non-starchy vegetables while consuming ample amounts of healthy fats and proteins from quality sources of meats, eggs, cheeses, nuts, seeds, and more makes improved metabolic health and balanced hormone levels happen rather effortlessly. This is the very essence of low-carb living that helps keep so many of us happy, healthy and satisfied better than any other way of eating out there bar none! The miracle that is low-carb has kept me motivated to keep sharing about it for over six years and I plan on continuing to shout it from the mountaintops for many more years to come.
Because we all live busy lives, it can sometimes be a bit hairy trying to find access to good nourishment for our bodies that won’t compromise our low-carb lifestyle commitment. At the same time, so many companies out there claim to have good low-carb products for people who are on-the-go. Today I have the first set of product test results from what is arguably the biggest name in low-carb food manufacturing and distribution today: Atkins Nutritionals.
Bearing the famous name of the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins, this company has been putting out low-carb protein shakes, breakfast bars, candy and other such foods for people on carbohydrate-restricted diets for over two decades. People write to me all the time asking whether these Atkins products are good for people following a low-carb diet. My answer has always been the same: try them for yourself, test your blood sugar response, and respond accordingly. Since I’ve given out that suggestion so many times over the years, I wanted to do it for myself over this past week to see what my results would be as part of the next phase of my n=1 experiments. With such an enormous product line, I decided to start off my testing with the Atkins Daybreak Protein Shakes.
Keep in mind, I don’t normally drink protein shakes. I’d personally rather have some delicious local pastured farm eggs cooked in some coconut oil that takes me three minutes max to whip up in a pan. But I know some people get tired of eggs or can’t stand them, so they may be considering adding the Atkins shakes to their low-carb menus. If I were going on a trip somewhere and wanted to have a snack on hand for the plane or car ride, then perhaps I would turn to the Atkins shakes as an option. I wonder what would happen to my blood sugar after consuming this product that claims to have just 2g net carbs? That’s what I wanted to find out while comparing the Atkins shakes to their major competitor Kellogg’s Special K Protein Shakes as well as other typical breakfast beverages that people would consume, including orange juice (UGH!), 2% milk, and raw whole milk (sold legally in my home state of South Carolina).
Because it’s been kinda busy in the Moore household since finding out Christine is pregnant after 16 years of trying to have kids and my jam-packed podcast recording schedule this month, I was only able to test in 15-minute increments for two hours instead of the more preferred three hours. Even still, the results I received provided some truly incredible information that I think you will find both noteworthy and eyebrow-raising. Hopefully it inspires you to do some testing of your own.
Are you ready for the results? Check ‘em out:

Atkins Daybreak Wild Berry Protein Shake
SERVING SIZE: 11 fl oz
CALORIES: 140
TOTAL CARBS: 10g
DIETARY FIBER: 7g
SUGARS: 0g
NET CARBS: 2g
TOTAL FAT: 9g
PROTEIN: 10g
Blood sugar testing results–July 14, 2011 from 9:15AM-11:15AM

Fasting reading: 105
Peak reading: 108
Low reading: 93

Atkins Daybreak Creamy Chocolate Protein Shake
SERVING SIZE: 11 fl oz
CALORIES: 140
TOTAL CARBS: 10g
DIETARY FIBER: 7g
SUGARS: 0g
NET CARBS: 3g
TOTAL FAT: 9g
PROTEIN: 10g
Blood sugar testing results–July 15, 2011 from 8:15AM-10:15AM

Fasting reading: 98
Peak reading: 108
Low reading: 92

Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Protein Shake
SERVING SIZE: 10 fl oz
CALORIES: 180
TOTAL CARBS: 29g
DIETARY FIBER: 5g
SUGARS: 18g
NET CARBS: 24g
TOTAL FAT: 5g
PROTEIN: 10g
Blood sugar testing results–July 16, 2011 from 7:00AM-9:00AM

Fasting reading: 105
Peak reading: 127
Low reading: 81

Simply Orange Original Pulp Free 100% Pure Orange Juice
SERVING SIZE: 13.5 fl oz
CALORIES: 190
TOTAL CARBS: 45g
DIETARY FIBER: 0g
SUGARS: 41g
NET CARBS: 45g
TOTAL FAT: 0g
PROTEIN: 3g
Blood sugar testing results–July 18, 2011 from 8:45AM-11:00AM

Fasting reading: 104
Peak reading: 142
Low reading: 104

Southern Home 2% Reduced Fat Pasteurized/Homogenized Milk
SERVING SIZE: 8 fl oz
CALORIES: 130
TOTAL CARBS: 12g
DIETARY FIBER: 0g
SUGARS: 12g
NET CARBS: 12g
TOTAL FAT: 5g
PROTEIN: 8g
Blood sugar testing results–July 19, 2011 from 9:00AM-11:00AM

Fasting reading: 108
Peak reading: 117
Low reading: 102

Milky Way Farm Raw Milk
SERVING SIZE: 8 fl oz
CALORIES: 160
TOTAL CARBS: 12g
DIETARY FIBER: 0g
SUGARS: 12g
NET CARBS: 12g
TOTAL FAT: 9g
PROTEIN: 9g
Blood sugar testing results–July 21, 2011 from 8:30AM-10:30AM

Fasting reading: 101
Peak reading: 106
Low reading: 99
Here’s a composite graph of all of the blood sugar readings from these experiments:

What did you think about these test results? Here are my quick observations:

  • The Atkins shakes seemed to have a minimal impact on my blood sugar

  • That Special K Protein Shake dropped my blood sugar nearly 40 points in 30 minutes

  • Predictably, orange juice produced a huge sustained blood sugar spike

  • There was severe hypoglycemia only with Special K (not even OJ)

  • 2% milk showed a slow rise in blood sugar and then not that much

  • Raw milk, despite having 12g carbs, saw a flatline glucose response

  • I felt most hungry after consuming the OJ and Special K protein shake It appears that the Atkins shakes aren’t such a bad option for me when I’m on the go or away from home and need a quick something. It’s also curious that raw milk performed the best among all the tests I conducted. Does this mean I should add it into my low-carb diet as another real food source of fat and protein as well as other healthy nutrients despite the extra carbohydrates? Perhaps I will. You just never know what you’re gonna find out when you test your blood sugars on various foods. One thing is for certain: I won’t be drinking orange juice or Special K Protein Shakes again anytime soon!
    We’re just getting started with the Atkins Nutritionals n=1 experiments though. Now that the Atkins shakes performed well for my blood sugars, how about those Atkins Advantage bars meant as a snack or meal replacement? We’ll see what if any impact they have on my blood glucose numbers in August and then I’ll tackle the Atkins Endulge candy bars in September. It’ll be interesting to see what happens and I’ll be sure to share all the results here at my blog when I start testing again in about a month. For now, my fingers need a rest from all the pricking. If you have conducted blood sugar tests on the Atkins shakes, then I’d love to have you share your results in the comments section below.

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