You can add heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from almonds and cashews to your Atkins diet menu. The Atkins diet includes four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance. The first phase is induction. After induction, you move onto the ongoing weight loss phase. In the last two phases, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance, you learn how to maintain your weight. The last three phases allow consumption of almonds and cashews. While on the Atkins diet, you count net carbohydrates instead of total carbohydrates. Net carbohydrates equal the total carbohydrate content minus grams of fiber.
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Induction and Ongoing Weight Loss
During induction, you eat 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day. The induction phase lasts two weeks, and does not allow nuts. After induction, you begin the ongoing weight loss phase. During ongoing weight loss, you add five net carbohydrates per day to your diet. The five net carbohydrates can come from almonds and cashews. The goal of the ongoing weight loss phase is finding your carbohydrate losing level – the number of carbohydrates you can eat daily and still lose weight.
Pre-maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance
While in the pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance phases, you can eat almonds and cashews. In the pre-maintenance phase, you identify your Atkins carbohydrate equilibrium. The Atkins carbohydrate equilibrium represents the amount of net carbohydrates you can consume while maintaining your goal weight. During the last phase, known as lifetime maintenance, you eat at your Atkins carbohydrate equilibrium for the remainder of your life.
Two servings of almonds contain less than 5 g of net carbohydrates. Both Sugar and fiber contribute carbohydrates to almonds. In one serving, or 12 almonds, you will find 2 g of fiber and 1 g of sugar. Eat 30 almonds to add approximately 5 net grams of carbohydrates to your diet. While on the Atkins diet, remain cognizant of the number of cashews you eat. Adding as little as nine cashews to your diet increases your net carbohydrate intake by 4.4 g. The carbohydrates in cashews come from complex carbohydrates and fiber. One serving or 18 cashews contain a total of 9 g of carbohydrates with 1 g of fiber.
In addition to carbohydrates, cashews and almonds contain fat. During the Atkins diet, you do not keep track of the amount of fat you consume. As a result, you may eat a substantial amount of fat. Eating a diet high in fat can cause cardiovascular disease. The fat found in cashews and almonds exists primarily as monounsaturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends consuming monounsaturated fats versus saturated or trans fat. Monounsaturated fats help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.