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Atkins Diet & Soy Milk

By J.M. Andrews

The Atkins Diet program promises to help you lose weight by changing your eating habits completely, so that you burn fat instead of sugar in the form of glucose. Part of this radical change involves giving up foods you may be accustomed to using on a daily basis. Most soy milk products, for example, cannot be consumed if you're following Atkins.


The Atkins Diet bases its approach on the idea that high-carbohydrate foods such as grain products and white sugar spike your blood sugar level, causing a surge in insulin and prodding your body to store fat as energy, according to the Atkins Diet website. By eliminating most of these carbs, the theory states, you can force your body to burn fat instead of storing it. The Atkins Diet allows only 20 grams of carb foods in its first phase, which translates into a few cups of leafy green vegetables.


Although you might think of soy milk as a source of protein, many soy milks contain significant added sugar, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This added sugar helps to make soy milk more palatable and more nutritionally similar to regular milk, which also contains a lot of sugar in the form of lactose. However, Atkins doesn't allow sugar, so you'll need to give up soy milk if it has added sugar.


Food product manufacturers have developed a few soy milks that would classify as low-carb, with no added sugar. Unsweetened soy milk contains only 2 or 3 grams of carbohydrate per cup, which would fit nicely into the Atkins Diet program, even in its beginning phase. It's also possible to make your own soy milk from soybeans, and if you didn't add sugar, it also would fit into the Atkins program.


You may find unsweetened soy milk doesn't taste nearly as good as the sweetened variety, but it's still possible to use it and benefit from its nutrition, which often includes added vitamins and minerals such as calcium. You can consider adding artificial sweetener to your unsweetened soy milk; most are allowed on the Atkins plan. Or simply use unsweetened soy milk in cooking.


Since the Atkins Diet doesn't allow milk, and many people have substituted fortified soy milk for fortified milk in their diets, you need to make sure you don't wind up nutritionally deficient if you also give up soy milk as part of your Atkins diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Atkins program overall appears to be safe, but you should consult your physician to make sure you're getting all the essential nutrients you need, and consider supplementing where you're deficient.

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