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The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: Volume I / Number 2: October 25, 2000
Issue Date:
October 25, 2000

Back to Main Newsletter
In this issue:
  1. Welcome and Overview
  2. Lora's Column
  3. Richard's Corner
  4. Recipes!
  5. Stuart's "Rant"
  6. Questions from Low Carbers
T hank you so much for all the great feedback we got after our
last (premiere!) issue. It means a lot to us to know when we've hit on something that was a help to you — as well as hearing what future directions you'd like us to explore. Our subscriptions have more than tripled since the first issue went out, so we'll keep trying hard to give you something of value.

And on a totally non-low-carb note, please remember to vote on November 7th. No matter who your candidate is, please show your support and exercise your sacred right to be a part of this democracy.

Sabotage ...

Star Trek defined it this way:
"Four-hundred years ago, on the planet Earth, workers who felt their livelihood threatened by automation, flung their wooden shoes, called sabo, into the machines to stop them... hence the word: sabotage."

Webster's defines it as a "Treacherous action to defeat or hinder a cause or an endeavor; deliberate subversion."

In my opinion, this defines it only in its overt form. It isn't always 'treacherous', nor is it always deliberate. But when a person struggling to maintain a low carbohydrate Nutrition regimen meets up with it, he or she better be prepared.

Attempts to sabotage one's dieting efforts (and this is true no matter what the diet) are surprisingly common and more often come from loved ones and family members than from friends.

There are three motivations behind sabotage, and we'll look at them here.

The first — and least common — actually is motivated by treachery. This one is fed by a meanness of spirit and we hope you can recognize it and put a good deal of distance between that person and yourself since there's no chance of a healthy relationship there. Your new eating plan is one for life and one that has no room for spiteful or malicious acts.

The second is well meaning and unintentional. It's also the most common. Your family member or friend genuinely wants you to do well and to lose the weight. They care about you but have listened to the traditional dogma and believe you "don't know what you're doing". They think they know best and can save you from your short sightedness.

The last is most difficult to accept and understand. It's quite deliberate, but sometimes not on a conscious level. Here's a scenario that may illustrate the driving force behind the acts of sabotage:

Husband and wife – we'll call them Bob and Mary. They've been married for 16 years. Over time Mary has put on an extra 60 pounds from where she was when they wed. They've settled into a routine. Bob finds it comforting and grounded. Mary, on the other hand has become frustrated with her weight; unhappy in her body, and dissatisfied with her life. She finds a low-carbohydrate eating plan brightens her mood and gives her purpose. Mary begins taking new interests and is soon fitting into new, fashionable, and dare we say, 'sexy' clothes. The old routine is no more. Bob feels threatened. He may not realize it on the surface, but his day-to-day existence has changed. A part of him wants things as they were. So he "rewards" Mary with Russell Stover chocolates. He picks up her favorite "old-days" treats and "accidentally" leaves them on the counter.

In more overt cases where the saboteur is aware of it, he may even deliberately sneak carbs and sugars into dishes he prepares, or lie about foods he brings home. Often he'll rationalize this by telling himself that she's taken this "too far" and he's only trying to protect her from extremes.

This sabotage — in form #3 — can be perpetrated by anyone that feels threatened - not just a spouse.

How to combat it? First, be aware. Look closely at your relationships and don't blind yourself to the feelings of those around you.

If the sabotage comes from motivation #1 (treachery and spitefulness), get away from that person. Your health and your future come first.

If it comes from motivation #2 (a well meaning person's need to "save you from yourself"), you need to sit them down and let them know you're aware of their feelings and their misgivings. Share with them what you've learned. Loan them a book or two. And just my opinion here, but don't hit them with Doctor Atkins. I love the good doctor, but the people that already have an aversion to low-carbing have put a face on that aversion — and it's Dr. Atkins' face. So give them something they can read objectively. I suggest "The Schwarzbein Principle" and/or "Life Without Bread". They offer good science and clear ideas. Encourage your loved one to discuss it with you afterward and address any further concerns they might have. Conventional wisdom is a powerful thing to fight.

Lastly, if it comes from motivation #3, it's important to get the problem out in the open immediately. Your spouse or loved one needs reassurance. Make them a part of your new goal-oriented life. If you can calm their fear of being left behind and get them excited to join this new adventure, you may see a remarkable change.

Never let sabotage in any form go unchallenged. It won't go away and feelings buried only gain momentum. This time of year the potential for sabotage goes way up. Why? Family get-togethers; holiday baking; occasions for which your saboteur can rationalize with "it won't hurt, just this one special time..."

Remember, as in all things, knowing is half the battle.

Until next issue...


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Low Carbing — The Fast-Food Way!

I grew up eating "fast food". When I want to make something bigger, I say "super size it." Big Mac, large fries, and a large Pepsi was my standard lunch fare. I was hopelessly addicted to the fast food mentality. My hectic work schedule hasn't changed. But my diet has. So how can I cope in the carbohydrate filled world of a ˝ hour lunch? I've come up with a reliable selection of items at many of the popular "fast food" restaurants and I stick to these religiously.

So what are my menu choices? I've listed them below by restaurant.

McDonalds —

Salad Shakers:
Garden Salad, Chef Salad, and Grilled Chicken salad. I chose the Ranch Dressing (not the low-fat!) because it's the lowest carbs, but also great tasting. You should note however, that it does contain a small amount of sugar. Still, it adds only a couple of grams to the entire salad, so it's a good bet.

Double cheeseburger - no bun.
In some McDonald's restaurants, this has recently become harder to strip the bun from, as some of them now put the cheese on the bottom. I know I could order it without the bun, but time is usually at a premium with me, so I go for quick instead and strip the bun off at the table. If your local McD's is putting the cheese on the bottom, two single cheeseburgers are a better choice.

All the other burgers, minus bun.
The Big Mac can be a bit unwieldy to manage, but I like to order two ("buy-one/get-one-free" coupons help here!) and chop it up in the bottom of one of the Big Mac containers to make a Big Mac Salad!

NOTE: Avoid the McGrill Chicken however — It's marinated in a sugar-based solution.

Taco Bell —

Taco Supreme
One Taco Supreme is a pretty good carb-bargain at 7 grams per taco. And it's made from corn rather than white flour so it doesn't pack much of an insulin hit. I limit myself to one per day per week.

I like the Baja Supreme Gordita. I order three of them; then make a mini-salad out of them, tossing the gordita "husks".

Taco Salad
The Taco Salad can make a great meal. Obviously order it without beans. Equally obvious – don't eat the shell. I've been told some people order theirs in a bowl rather than the shell and that Taco Bell has no problem with this, but I haven't tried that yet. It is true that Taco Bell puts a sprinkling of flour in their taco meat to hold the 'sauce' to it. It's just a trace per serving, but if you want to get around this, order yours with the steak strips instead of the regular taco meat. (They'll put chicken strips in too if you ask.) If you're really hungry and want to pay the extra couple of bucks, ask for double meat and you'll get twice the steak.

Burger King —

BK's Flame broiled burgers are very tasty without the bun. In fact, the grilled out taste makes them my favorite burger to eat without the bun. I usually get a Double Whopper w/Cheese. Remember to wipe away extra ketchup or ask for none. Ketchup has more sugar per ounce than soda pop.

Wendy's —

Grilled Chicken Salad
In my opinion this is one of the best fast food salads. I avoid the high carb carrots. The salad dish comes with a piece of cauliflower and broccoli, that one can swirl in the dressing. Once again, the Ranch is low-carb and very good.

Get the single, the double, or even the triple! No bun, of course. The triple with cheese makes a substantial protein rich meal, but it's pretty heavy. You'd better be hungry!

Skyline Chili —
(A local Cincinnati/Dayton/Columbus, Ohio chain.)

A nice bowl of chili, and great shredded cheddar cheese. By default their chili comes without beans. If you're not from the area, it might surprise you. It's called "Cincinnati style chili" and is indeed different than other varieties. Skyline still uses the original recipe from the 1940's when they didn't put sugar in everything, and they still don't. A big bowl of chili with cheese will cost you only a couple of carbs. And by the way, their shredded cheddar is one of the lightest, smoothest, most unique cheddars you'll ever taste. It's shredded right there and put by hand into little baggie-size servings. If you want the extra zip and can afford a couple extra carbs, get the diced sweet onions to sprinkle on top.

Lion's Choice —
(A local St. Louis, Missouri chain.)

Roast Beef
While we don't live in St. Louis anymore, I grew up there and still go often - both for business and pleasure (and my family's there.) I never pass up a chance to visit Lion's Choice for several meals while there. They have - bar none - the best Roast Beef sandwiches anywhere.

My wife reviewed the fast food chain recently, so let me quote her here:

"You might pass this one up if you're not "local" because it looks like a small run-of-the-mill Roast Beef Sandwich joint from the outside. But don't pass it up! Here you'll find a "fast-food" style place that serves up their roast beef sandwiches to order. Forget Arby's — Lion's Choice roast beef is paper-thin sliced medium rare from a huge, juicy, REAL ROAST right before your eyes. It's piled VERY high and for a small extra charge, they'll double the meat. They offer it with both Cheddar and Swiss, but get the swiss. With its original seasonings, it's the best sliced roast beef I've ever had and low-carbing hasn't changed that. Whenever I get back to St. Louis, I head straight for Lion's Choice. So should you.

Obviously they come on buns, but you have three choices here. One, take it off the bun and eat it plain. It's still wonderful! Just ask for a fork. Or two (and three), bring in with you a few slices of fresh made low-carb bread or low-carb tortillas. You can either transfer the beef to your "bread" yourself, or they are happy to make the sandwiches for you with your own bread. My son got the idea - he simply said, I have a wheat allergy – can you make them on this? And they said of course and we've done it ever since. They also serve celery sticks with ranch dip, and a killer broccoli soup."

Deceptive Things to Avoid: ——

At Boston Market:
Although one would think that the rotisserie chicken would be a good bargain for carbs, Boston Market actually injects a sugar solution directly into the chicken.

At Taco Bell:
The chalupas are a big no-no, full of white flour and lots of sugar.

If you are careful there are quite a few choices to be had with fast food. Reading over these, you've probably thought of others – perhaps some local to your area.

Hopefully as this WOL gets more accepted (and we aren't going anywhere), we will get more and more choices. I was told a McDonald's in Florida recently had a sign out front saying: "Atkins Dieters: Come on in and let us Hold Your Buns!"


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Pineapple Upside Down Cake – The Healthy Way!

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Splenda + additional 1 Tablespoon
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar Twin, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Diabetisweet [optional]
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugarfree vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pineapple extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 5 thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick) fresh pineapple (not canned)
  • 5-8 fresh or frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup DaVinci Splenda-sweetened vanilla syrup

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare large (10") round cake pan or springform pan by spraying with cooking spray (butter flavor PAM works great here.)

Cream together in large mixing bowl butter, cream cheese and 1 cup Splenda. Add eggs – one at a time – beating well after each. Add 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar Twin, mace, and extracts and beat again.

Mix almond flour with baking powder and add egg to mixture a little at a time while beating. Set aside.

In small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon Splenda, 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar Twin and 1 Tablespoon Diabetisweet (if using). In prepared baking pan, sprinkle sweetener mixture across the bottom evenly. It should 'stick' to the cooking spray at the bottom. Then lay the thin pineapple slices to cover bed of sweetener in a pretty pattern. Place a cherry inside each ring and if you wish, a few around the outsides.

Carefully spoon cake batter onto pineapple/cherry bed being Pineapple careful not to disturb your layout. If you've used a springform pan, be sure to place it on a cookie sheet before baking to catch leaking juices from the bottom. Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes or until golden and cracking on surface.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto large serving plate. If any cherries or pineapples become displaced, gently nudge them back into place. Pour syrup evenly over cake top, allowing it to sink into the mix.

Can be served warm with a dollop of whipped cream, or chill and serve cold.

Makes 12 servings. There are approximately 79 carbohydrate grams in entire cake. Each serving is 6.5 grams.

1) Instead of Vanilla syrup, you can use sugarfree Pineapple syrup (Nature's Flavors makes a good one) or use a combination. They're zero carb and Splenda sweetened, so use them freely to fit your tastes and moistness desired.

2) Diabetisweet (listed as optional) is an Isomalt/Ace-K mix. It adds only a couple of grams to the entire recipe and helps the topping keep a more "sugared" appearance. I find it locally in my K-Mart as well as in Walgreen's — both keep it with Diabetic Supplies and not with other sweeteners. It can also be ordered online (see product review area at our site.)

3) The cherries called for in this recipe are the sweet raw red variety. One cherry is less than 1 gram of carbs. In this recipe they grab the sweetness from the Splenda! Frozen ones work well too — just make sure you buy the unsweetened ones.

4) Learn to use pineapple! It's very carb-friendly. We are all used to the high carbs in the canned versions because they are so heavily sweetened. Even the ones labeled "light" or "in their own juice" are high carb because the juice has been concentrated to be sweeter. Most produce sections in groceries carry pineapple year-round and many carry them pre-cored and ready to slice. A 1/4" slice offers up only about 3 grams of carbs. You can soak your slices ahead of time in a little Splenda if you want to have them with a scoop of cottage cheese!

After our last issue mentioned using jicama as a potato substitute, we got lots of other suggestions too. We've always liked turnips, so when this recipe was sent to us, we tried it and loved it! Hope you will too.

Peppery Turnip Fries

  • 8 medium turnips (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (sea salt works best)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil spray
  • Lime juice

Pepper Turnips and Roast Peel the turnips with a vegetable peeler, slice and cut into 2 1/2-by-1/2-inch sticks. Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and place the turnip sticks into the cream. Fill bowl with cold water until the turnips are completely covered. Add 1 teaspoon Splenda. Swirl a bit to mix and allow to sit in cream mixture for 10-15 minutes. (This cream-soaking step removes the "bite" flavor of the turnips, leaving them with a milder, more potato-like flavor.) Rinse in colander with cool water and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine turnip sticks with the nutmeg, pepper, sea salt and Parmesan cheese in a large plastic (Ziploc-type) bag. Seal the bag and shake well to coat the turnip sticks.

Spray 2 large baking sheets lightly with the olive oil spray. Spread the turnips in a single layer on the sheets and spray again with the olive oil.

Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Turn the fries over and continue baking for 15 minutes, until the fries are tender and golden in color. Serve hot with a sprinkle of lime juice.

Makes 8 servings. Approximately 4.5 carbohydrate grams per serving.


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Editor's Note: Stuart received so much "fan mail" after his previous article here, that he has graciously offered to be a regular contributor. We're still interested in guest articles, too, though, so if you'd like to submit an article for publication here, send it in plain text to:

To quote a hero of mine — FDR, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It refers to a fear of the unknown. A fear of change...

Many of us are trying the low carb diet for the first time — having previously endured a parade of other diets — and having failed miserably.

We have high hopes for success. We always do. But this time there's something more. This time, it's something new to us — something that appears to fly in the face of all we've been told. So this time we have the added fear of beginning a diet that might very well be our last hope... our only hope.

Before beginning my low-carbohydrate nutrition plan, I was overweight and terribly out of shape. At only 25, I looked in the mirror and the realization hit me cold and hard — I was going to die at a very early age.

That was truly the only thing I had to fear. And at that moment, it was much more powerful than the fear of the unknown.

During a visit to my doctor a few years ago, (I was about 22), I stated to him the obvious — that I was overweight and needed some help. "Phen-fen" had just become popular, and frankly I was looking for a quick (magical?) solution to a problem that ad caused me so much pain for so very long.

I regaled him with tales of my endless attempts – and failures - at dieting. I had walked in there sure that he would agree to give me what I wanted. I was wrong. Instead, he put me on yet another low-fat diet; heavy on the fruits and vegetables.

I lost my usual 20 lbs, as I always had on diets. Then in short order, gained back 25 lbs — also as I always had. Of course, in retrospect and with the hindsight of what a debacle the Phen-Fen cocktail was, I am glad he did not give me what I thought I wanted that day... What he did give me — as usual — was a long, expensive, round-about way of gaining another 5 lbs. Thanks, Doc.

Any of this sound familiar yet?

Let's consider the diet he put me on — centering of course around mostly fruits and vegetables (and not too far from vegetarian!) The fruits and vegetables now available at our local grocery's produce department differ greatly from their pre-selectively-bred-for-sweetness ancestors. America's taste for "sweet" has prompted farmers to continue to breed their crops to be bigger, sweeter, more colorful.

Take the apple for example. There are countless varieties available now due to selective breeding — some of which are overpoweringly sweet, containing as much sugar as some candy bars. Of course when our diets were sugar-filled all day long, we didn't notice apples were any sweeter. But try maintaining a sugarfree lifestyle for a few months and then taste that apple. Wow... it's super sweet.

This means that when we eat a diet that tips (as the USDA's Food Pyramid suggests) heavily in favor of Grains (up to 11 servings a day!), Vegetables (up to 5 servings a day) and Fruits (up to 4 servings a day!), this means they're suggesting our diet be 70-80% pure carbohydrate. Now, logically, why would a doctor see this as sane?

Though we don't typically think of them as such, doctors are scientists with education in biochemistry, among other things. So, let's look at the role Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates play in our diets – from a science point of view (which is how the doctors should be viewing this issue.)

I quote from Life Without Bread:

"Proteins are the most abundant component of our cells and tissue. The name protein comes from the Greek word, "proteios", meaning "of first importance". They perform an amazing array of functions throughout our body. They include enzymes, antibodies, hormones, and transport molecules, and are even components of the skeleton. There are 20 common amino acids that constitute most proteins, but there are many less common amino acids that are also important.

However, there are 8 amino acids that are essential. Essential means that they must be obtained in the diet because the body cannot make them from other nutrients and raw materials supplied in the diet. In many instances, nutrients can be made from simple building blocks directly within our cells, but the essential nutrients cannot be made this way. They must be obtained in the diet.

Fats (sometimes called "fatty acids" or "lipids") have many important and diverse functions in the body. They are the primary storage form of energy in the body and supply the most energy to our cells. The heart, for example, uses primarily fat for its energy. Fats are the major constituents of cell membranes. Cell membrane integrity and permeability to various biomolecules is critical for proper metabolic functions. Finally, members of a select class of lipids function as hormones.

There are two known essential fatty acids: linoleic acid and alpha linoleic acid. The two essential fatty acids can be found in varying degrees in all animal foods, as well as in nuts and vegetable oils. Animal foods tend to supply equal amounts of the two essential fatty acids, whereas vegetable oils typically contain predominately one or the other of the essential fatty acids.

Carbohydrates are primarily used as an energy source. They are also often attached to proteins to enhance the recognition and specific transport properties of proteins. Some forms of carbohydrates are part of cartilage, and there are a few known carbohydrates that help eliminate toxins from the body.

To our knowledge, there has never been an essential carbohydrate discovered. Every carbohydrate your body needs can be made from either protein or fat. This is not a point we dwell on since there is ample evidence to support that in low amounts vitamin rich carbohydrates (not sugars or starches) are very healthy and contribute to proper nutrition and keeping the diet varied. It is interesting to note, however, that even in nature there is not much specific dietary necessity placed on carbohydrates for humans."

Okay, having read this, can we see there is a contradiction in play here? Doctors tell us that we should eat foods high in carbohydrates and very low in fat; and yet, as scientists who understands biochemistry, they should know that our bodies require fat, and require no carbohydrates. Any anthropologist will tell you that early humans ate mostly meat plus nuts and berries. Grains were in no way a part of our diet. With this being the case, why do doctors continue to advocate low fat diets?

Surely it's not because of the great success it's shown so far. The truth is, the results of low-fat dieting in America have resulted in a significant increase in the prevalence of obesity from 17.9 percent in 1998 to 18.9 percent in 1999, an increase of 5.6 percent in just one year, representing a 51 percent leap since 1991! (These figures are from the CDC.) The number of cases of diabetes, meanwhile, increased 33 percent from 1990 to 1998, an increase the report said was "highly correlated" with obesity, highlighting obesity as "not just a cosmetic disorder."

I call it my Santa Claus theory. As children, we are told of a magical old gent who makes a Christmas visit to every single home (perhaps around 4 billion homes when I was a child) — usually through a chimney barely big enough to fit a cat into. He deposits his holiday fare and is quickly shuttled away on a sled driven by flying deer.

In spite of all the obvious evidence that this notion is an impracticality, we completely accept it. Why? Because we're conditioned to accept it by our parents and society at large. It's comforting. It's the childhood version of "conventional wisdom".

Doctors pass on traditional dogma. It's what they were taught and it feels comfortable. From the "food groups" of the 60's and 70's, to the "Pyramid" of today they look to tradition rather than biochemistry to make their recommendations. Resistance to change is natural — it's disconcerting to give up a lifetime of beliefs in the face of a new truth.

We all need good medical care and a trusted physician. Finding one who understands and is open to the possibilities of low carbohydrate nutrition may be difficult, but it can be done. There are bright, open-minded doctors out there who have embraced the concept. They can help you greatly with encouragement, recommendations for nutritional supplements, and keeping track of your blood work.

Beware though — there are also those who will sabotage your noble efforts to improve your health and longevity, based on antiquated knowledge and resistance to change. Remember, an apple a day keeps the weight-loss away.

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We received a letter this week asking if Cool Whip is okay to have even though it's got sugar in it. She mentioned it's very low-carb. In the same week, I purchased a new low-carb cookbook that uses Cool Whip in many of the recipes. So, here's my take on this:

How you chose to do the diet is up to you, so you may disagree with me and feel that in the end carb count is all that matters, but for me, I need to know that what goes into the product I eat isn't doing more harm than good. True, Cool Whip lists out as only 2 carbs per serving (of course, that's because most of it is air — and you'll almost never only eat 2 Tablespoons.) But let's take a look at what you're actually eating:

After water, the first ingredient is corn syrup. Pure carbohydrate. Next is Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil (dangerous trans-fats - to read more about trans-fats, check our page here .) Then comes a real kicker — High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Some of you may not really understand what that is. I consider it the trans-fat of the sugar industry. It's neither corn syrup, nor fructose, so the name is misleading. Up to the mid 1970s, sucrose was the primary sugar consumed by Americans. That changed when manufacturers discovered a cheaper source of refined sugar: corn. A process was evolved that could change the natural fructose in corn to glucose, and then by adding synthetic chemicals, change the glucose back into an artificial, synthetic type of fructose called high fructose. High fructose became real big, real fast. In 1984, both Coke and Pepsi changed from cane sugar to HFCS.

Today high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the preferred sweetener in most soft drinks and processed foods. Read the labels. As of 1997, worldwide production of HFCS exceeded 8 billion kilograms. Besides the devastating blood sugar effects that all sugars have, HFCS cannot be well digested, actually inhibits digestion, is addicting, and causes a great number of biochemical errors. HFCS is artificial; a non-food.

Okay, so the rest of Cool Whip is mostly chemicals. Cool Whip may seem low carb but let's be realistic. It shows that because of the fact that so much "air" is in each "serving". It shows zero fat too, but transfat oil is a major ingredient.

And before you write, yes there's a Cool Whip "Free". It contains no less carbs and even more frightening ingredients.

Now make your decision. Personally, I'll pass.

Well, that's it for this issue. Keep your suggestions and questions coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we can't address every request and query, but the ones we hear about the most or offer the greater potential to help others will surely make their way here.


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