If you’re like most people – including longtime Atkins’ fans – you likely have no idea.
To get there, you have to figure out what level of carbs helps you maintain your desired weight without gaining. In an interview last week for a story I’m working on, Atkins chief nutritionist Colette Heimowitz told me hers is 60 grams a day.
If she wants to lose weight, she cuts back to 40 – which just happens to be the recommended number in the revamped diet known as Atkins 40.
That’s twice as many carbs as the original diet, which is all that most people ever attempt or remember. Trouble is, Heimowitz said, “the first phase of Atkins is not sustainable.”
Most people yo-yo back and forth between the protein and veggies Phase I and falling off the wagon. They never get to the part where they learn how to add carbs back into their diet – which explains why they have no idea what their carb-tolerance level is.
“There is no one size fits all,” Heimowitz said.
Many younger men who are physically active could easily tolerate well over 100 carbs a day. As for Heimowitz — “I’m menopausal, I sit at a computer all day, I can’t run anymore” (thanks to too many miles on the New York City pavement) — she starts to gain if she takes in more than 60 grams a day.
That gives her room for a low-carb wrap with her salad most days, or berries and cream for dessert. Not to mention all those new 3-carb Endulge candy bars and other treats the company has come out with.
“You can budget your carbs anyway you want,” Heimowitz said — though when I asked if that means you can have a doughnut if you feel like it, she suggested “a bite of a doughnut” would be a better fit.
“Again,” she said, “it’s all about budgeting.”