Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Yes, You Can Still Eat Chocolate On Low-Carb

This story by WESH-TV, the Orlando-based NBC affiliate, warns people doing low-fat and low-carb about the dangers to their health when they eat too many low-fat or low-carb foods on the grocery market shelves today.

While I agree that there is a danger in blindly buying whatever you can get your hands on that blares the words "low-carb" on it these days, most people who are livin' la vida low-carb are smart enough to read labels and know what is best for them. If not, then you need to get into the habit of doing it right away!

My problem with this story is that it claims low-carb foods will hurt you. Taking that statement at face value, I could not disagree more. The foods themselves are not dangerous to eat as the story implies. They just happen to be foods that are lower in carbohydrates than their regular counterparts. There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

But the heart of the issue is what we find in the ingredients of so many low-carb foods that is detrimental to our cause -- hidden sugars! Don't buy anything that has sugar in it! That's not too hard to follow, is it? But you also have to be aware that sugar alcohols, especially Maltitol and Lactitol, will cause you gastric problems if you eat in excess. Actually, though, it can work as a built-in mechanism to keep you from overindulging on these sugar-free delights if you know your tummy will hurt after eating them.

That's one thing this story is concerned about, too. Well, if you buy the low-carb version of the candy you love, then you'll eat twice as much and be right where you started. How absurd! Why is it assumed more of it will be consumed?

I have enjoyed eating low-carb candies since starting my low-carb lifestyle and consider them a lifesaver for me during times when I really needed something sweet to satisfy my desire for chocolate! People ask me if I miss chocolate and I tell them I can eat all the chocolate I want, just without the sugar. While I have to be careful about how much I eat with the ones that have the sugar alcohols that cause problems, I have found other products that contain a sugar alcohol called erithrytol which doesn't cause these side effects.

Look for Z-Carb bars and you can have all the erithrytol-sweetened chocolate you want with only a negligible amount of carbs! They are available online and in the pharmacy section at Wal-mart. And they are soooooo good, too! My favorite is dark chocolate, but they also come in milk chocolate, with peanut butter, with soy crisps and with macadamia nuts. Once you try 'em, you'll want to try them in low-carb dessert recipes, too!

"I think a lot of it is a gimmick that is promoting people to eat these products and there is no benefit to them," said Tara Gidus, of the American Dietetic Association.

No benefit?! How about giving us low-carbers a way to enjoy a delicious treat while we are doing something to improve our health? I'll tell you what is no benefit to people is all the sugar-laced, carb-loaded foods they stuff their faces with on a daily basis. Where is the outcry about that? If these pundits who criticize the low-carb lifestyle so harshly every day would expend just as much energy on the role fast food and sugar have played in the obesity problem in the United States, then maybe a solution would finally emerge that will restore the health of the citizens of our country.

Hey, wait a minute. We already have it! It's called livin' la vida low-carb!

9-16-06 UPDATE: Sadly, Z-Carb bars are no longer available, but there are many other low-carb chocolates on the market today that are as good or better. Check 'em out!

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