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Having participated in the lively conversations on these boards for several years now, I've observed several topics that consistently emerge and require explanation. One common topic revolves around vegetables—especially how much of them to consume. The confusion most likely originates from a change in recommendations since Dr. Atkins' original books. His early books recommend 3 cups of salad veggies and one cup of "other" vegetables. Depending which veggies were chosen, that recommendation could have only yielded 4 or 5 grams of net carbs, especially if someone was eating just lettuce salads. We now recommend counting carbs, not cups, as well as getting most of your carbohydrates from vegetables. In the Induction phase, your veggie intake should add up to 12–15 gram of net carbs each day.
Here's the rationale for the new recommendation of 12–15 grams of net carbs daily from veggies. More than ever, researchers are studying the efficacy and long-term safety of controlled-carbohydrate nutritional practices as well as their connection to a variety of health benefits and disease prevention. Keeping abreast of the latest developments in clinical research as they occur and communicating that to you is important to us. Certain studies have specifically focused on the outcomes of following the Atkins Nutritional Approach™. These studies provide important scientific documentation about the lifestyle and success of the diet, particularly compared to the performance of diets that may be more frequently recommended by clinicians.
We have observed from these studies that eating 12–15 grams of net carbs from vegetables:
1. Eliminates issues of constipation reported by some individuals whose vegetable consumption was lower than 12 grams of net carbs.
2. Provides a feeling of fullness, or satiety, because begetables are full of fiber, making it easier to stay on the diet.
3. Supplies sufficient alkalinity to eliminate the tendency of a few individuals to experience a slight trend towards acidity in the first week of Induction. Eating plenty of vegetables can help your PH levels stay within normal range in the first week, and remain normal after that.
4. Provides and replenishes minerals and electrolytes that may be lost in the first two weeks when water-weight loss is most prominent.
Another key virtue of vegetables: There are more than 4,000 known polyphenols, an important form of antioxidant, and vegetables are the richest source of them. In general, the more colorful a vegetable, the richer the polyphenol content. The micronutrients in vegetables act as protective antioxidants that naturally support your body's use of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, and help combat the effects of damaging free radicals. In multiple studies, the population that did not report side effects had something important in common: They were consuming a fair amount of fiber and carotenoids, flavonoids, lycopenes and other antioxidants and phytonutrients in salads and other vegetables. That's why the Induction phase of Atkins now recommends generous amounts of salad and other vegetables: 12–15 grams of net carbs, to be specific.