9. Eat lightly of the new low-carb products. More than 1,000 low-carb products were introduced in 2003, but the FDA has yet to publish any guidelines as to what “low carb” really means. Instead, many new “low carb” foods are to carb-cutting what “low fat” cookies were to fat-cutting: just a new way of pitching foods high in calories and low in nutrient value. In fact, Consumer Reports found that many packaged low-carb foods are actually higher in calories than their regular counterparts. For instance, a serving of Keto’s low-carb Rocky Road ice cream has 270 calories, almost double the calories found in many regular ice creams and twice as much fat.
10. Think lightly of the new net-carb measurements. Many of the low-carb weight-loss programs are trying to get their followers to use “net carbs” as the measurement of choice for the appropriateness of a carb food in their diet. This is a measurement of the “bad carbs” left in a food after you adjust for those carb ingredients that don’t immediately affect blood sugar. The folks at Atkins Nutritionals say the proper way to measure net carbs is to subtract fiber (as well as sugar alcohols and glycerin, when applicable) from the total carbs listed on the nutrition facts panel of a product. But that’s just their version, and that’s the problem. “Net carbs” is not a regulated or standardized measurement — manufacturers can define it how they want, and say what they want on product packaging. And there is no science to say that tracking net carbs offers any unique weight-loss benefit.
11. Never let yourself get too hungry. Eat every three to five waking hours, and eat only until you’re satisfied but not stuffed. You should never reach the point where you feel ravenous. Not only is that a recipe for overeating, but your body will want sugary, quick-to-digest “bad carbs” to quickly satiate your need for fuel.
12. Instead of eggs and bacon, try low-carb versions of cereals. For example, the Nature’s Path cereal line offers all the benefits of whole grains without the “problem” carbs found in added sugar. Another option is low-carb, high-fiber muffins and breads (spread with no-sugar-added jams or nut butter).
13. At the movies, skip the popcorn. Popcorn isn’t a bad food, but it does happen to be a simple carb with little other nutritional value and, when bought at the theater, is often drowning in salt and fat as well. Better movie snacks are small bags of nuts or seeds and fresh or dried fruit. Just sneak them into the theater in your purse or a backpack.
14. Mix up a sweet dessert. Combine nonfat cream, unsweetened cocoa, sugar substitute, and ice in a blender. Or mix mascarpone and sugar substitute with whipped cream and a hint of lemon zest.
15. Make your own quickie low-carb pizza. Lightly toast a whole grain, low-carb tortilla and top with chopped tomatoes and shredded, part-skim, mozzarella cheese. Season with salt and pepper and return to the toaster oven until cheese is melted and bubbling.
16. Make french fries with turnips. Missing those fries with that bun-less burger? Heimowitz suggests cutting turnips into sticks and tossing with olive oil and salt. Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes, turning frequently. Voilà! A crisp side dish with none of the fat of frying and far fewer carbs than from potatoes.