Breakthrough Science Advances Atkins Net Carb Labeling Claims on Food Products

Patent-pending clinical method actually measures glycemic impact of specific products; Replaces standard subtraction method and introduces the Net Atkins Count(TM)

NEW YORK, Oct 6, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Thomas Wolever, Ph.D., M.D., one of the world's leading clinical nutritionists, has helped develop a unique scientific method that substantiates the low glycemic impact of Atkins products to confirm the accuracy of Atkins net carbohydrate labeling claims. Net carbs are those carbohydrates that have a significant impact on blood sugar levels, and limiting net carbs is the most critical factor for consumers who wish to successfully follow the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM). To help consumers who want to control their carbs, Atkins is introducing the Net Atkins Count(TM), a scientifically tested measure of how carbohydrates in foods impact an individual's blood sugar response.

Through a three year collaborative effort between Dr. Wolever and Atkins' scientists, this new patent-pending method employs more accurate clinical testing rather than just relying on the low-carb industry standard subtraction calculation method to determine net carbs. Atkins will use the term Net Atkins Count to express this clinically validated number and to distinguish it from terms previously used, such as net carbs.

To date, food manufacturers have relied on simple subtraction methods to approximate net carbs, subtracting carbs that have a negligible impact on blood sugar like fiber, glycerine and sugar alcohols from total carbs. In many cases this has proven to be accurate but in some cases, due to a combination of ingredients and manufacturing processes, the subtraction calculation is less precise than the result determined by this new scientific method.

"We saw an opportunity to develop a better tool to help consumers have success doing Atkins," explains Matt Spolar, vice president of product technology at Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. "Now that we have it, we are obviously delighted to say that the new Atkins testing method has confirmed that the vast majority of Atkins products will carry the same carb count information as before. The few products that tested outside of the acceptable range, either higher or lower versus the current net carb count, will be relabeled, reformulated or discontinued. With this new technology, we believe there is no question that the Net Atkins Count provides the most accurate number to utilize when following a controlled-carbohydrate lifestyle." The few Atkins products that tested higher than the acceptable range are products that have never been recommended for the Induction phase of Atkins. There is certainly no health risk associated with consuming any Atkins products and these few products remain appropriate for the maintenance phase of Atkins. See for information on each product's Atkins Net Count using this new system.

"Today many food labels are confusing," says Matt Wiant, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. "The terms 'low-carb' and 'net carb' have no standardized definition, but they have already become buzzwords used by many other food manufacturers who may know little about formulating products that work on the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM)."

How Does It Work?

In order to evaluate the real-life effects of foods on blood sugar levels, Wolever conducted clinical trials. The new Atkins method to determine Net Atkins Count evaluates baseline blood sugar levels and then tracks the body's response to foods eaten by the subject. Data is gathered through tests, which report actual measured increases in blood sugar, and then obtains an average blood sugar response across a group of people. "This data should end speculation about the validity and importance of net carbs and the concept that not all carbs affect blood sugar the same way," says Spolar.

The researcher, Dr. Thomas Wolever, is no stranger to low-carbohydrate nutrition and research. Acting chair of the department for nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, Dr. Wolever is an internationally renowned expert in glucose metabolism and dietary carbohydrates. One of the pioneers in the development of the glycemic index, Dr. Wolever also heads up a glycemic index testing organization. "Historically, carbohydrate information on a product has been an analytical description using general rules," said Dr. Wolever. "What was missing was how the ingredients actually work together in an individual food product to impact blood sugar levels."

Currently, the US government's food labeling regulations provide consumers with a total carbohydrate number as part of the nutrition facts panel but do not provide for a distinction as to whether or not certain carbohydrates are high glycemic and therefore spike blood sugar or low-glycemic and therefore have little impact on blood sugar. However, since controlling blood sugar is a primary goal of the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM), Atkins began using the term net carbs to describe the carbohydrates in food products which spiked blood sugar. To obtain net carb levels, Atkins used the low-carb industry standard formula that subtracted the low-glycemic carbs (fiber, sugar alcohols and glycerine) from the total carbs to arrive at a number that Atkins consumers could count when following the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM). New science has shown that this old method provided accurate results in most, but not all, cases. In addition, many other manufacturers started using similar net carb terminology while using different calculations and formulations with different types of carbohydrates, and failed to validate their numbers which led to speculation about the validity of net carbs.

"Our goal is to help people succeed with controlling their carbs and eliminate any questions about the effectiveness of Atkins products," explained Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc., vice president of research and education at Atkins Health & Medical Information Services. "At Atkins, we are dedicated to our mission to provide information to help people enjoy healthier lives. We are proud to have helped develop this new technique and excited to incorporate it into the ongoing development of Atkins products."

About Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

Atkins Nutritionals, based in Ronkonkoma, New York, was founded by Dr. Robert C. Atkins in 1989. Today, Atkins Nutritionals is an international enterprise providing a broad range of convenience foods, supplements, baked goods, snacks, condiments and information products designed to serve the millions of consumers who have adopted the controlled carbohydrate lifestyle. The company's products are sold in the natural, nutritional, food, mass and drug retail channels as well as direct through their catalog and Web site. For more information, please visit

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

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