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Your question:
A lot of packages these days are labeled with "ZERO Sugar Carbs" -- but the nutritional panel says, for instance, "total carbs 13g" and then "sugar alcohol 13g." I am following the Atkins plan; is this is a "free" food item?

The expert answers:
This is a difficult question since the jury is still out as far as the FDA is concerned. I can tell you what I know about sugar alcohols.

Some people can digest them, and some can't. If your system can't digest sugar alcohols (and therefore can't absorb their carbs), then they should not cause you any problems with weight loss or maintenance.

However, if you do digest sugar alcohols, chances are they will affect your weight loss and could even interfere with your efforts in the maintenance phase. The best advice I can give you is to avoid them during the induction phase; they knock many people out of ketosis.

When you're into the ongoing weight loss phase, add them to your diet and see what happens. If you stall or start to gain weight, avoid foods that contain them.

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