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Once you are out of the Induction Phase but while you are still losing weight, the carb count you aim for each day is known as your "Critical Carb Level for Losing", or "CCLL". This is the number of carbs you can eat every day and still lose weight.

May I suggest that you go back to the Induction Phase of the diet for two weeks. This will clean out any build-up of carbs in your system and kick-start your weight loss phase.  At the end of the two weeks, add back in only a few carbs each week - try moving from 20 grams a day (Induction Phase) to 30 or 40. If you are still losing at this level, move to 50 carb grams a day - if you can still lose at this level, try adding in a few more. Your CCLL will typically increase as you lose weight and move closer to the goal you have set for yourself.

Once you have reached your goal weight and are in the Maintenance Phase, you determine your "ACE" number, or "Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium". "ACE" represents the number of carbs you can consume each day without gaining or losing weight.

Rachel writes:

Q: I keep hearing “watch for hidden carbs”. What EXACTLY is a hidden carb?

A: Hi Rachel! In the United States, by law a manufacturer can state 0 carbs per serving if their product contains less than .499 grams per serving. If it contains less than one but more than .499 grams per serving, it can (and will) be labeled < (or less than) 1 gram per serving.

A common example is heavy whipping cream (not ultra pasteurized) which states 0 carbs per 1 Tablespoon serving. It actually is 6.64 grams of carbs per fluid cup (which will make 2 cups of whipped). This wouldn’t “seem” to be a problem. Except who among us would only use 1 Tbs of heavy cream? See how it could become a problem very quickly?

Powdered products like artificial sweeteners, sugar free gelatin and other such products contain fillers consisting many times of maltodextrin, dextrose, or corn syrup solids, all high glycemic. This helps to make my case for NOT deducting fiber and sugar alcohols. This is one of the examples of giving you some leeway.

Organ meats, processed meat, and imitation meat (crab) for instance, all have carbs and should not be categorized as “carb free” like other meats. Until you’re more familiar with the actual carbs in foods something to remember is that the ONLY things that are truly carb FREE are unseasoned, unprocessed meat, oil, liquid sweetener and water. Every thing else you should count as .5 grams per serving (if it says 0) and 1 carb if it states less than 1 per serving. A great place to find out, until you are more familiar with carb counts on certain foods, is the USDA Nutritional Database site located here:


Gail writes:

Q: I am interested in finding out more about acidosis.  I have read that being on a low carb diet can cause acidosis, which can cause calcium to be leached from your bones.  I have been recently diagnosed with pre-osteoporosis and have been low carbing for about 4 years.  I am very healthy in all other aspects.  I lift weights and take supplements.  I am on maintenance for my weight and health: my weight is usually at my target, give or take a couple of pounds.  It is difficult to consult a doctor regarding this issue because I live in a remote area where we don't have a lot of choices in regards to doctors and the one I go to does not promote a low carb lifestyle.  I have not told him that I am low carb because he would attach any small problems I may have to my diet.  Also, can you discuss ways to determine if acidosis exists in your system?  I have been PH testing but I think going into ketosis causes urine to show an acid environment.  Thanks in advance for any information you may publish in regards to this condition.

A: Acidosis is a serious condition. The body regulates the PH condition constantly. The medical conditions that can upset this acid-base balance are severe dehydration, diabetic ketoacidosis, excessive loss of sodium bicarbonate and excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the body. These all require immediate medical attention. Symptoms include shortness of breath and confusion and lethargy.

Acidosis is not a condition that can be caused by diet unless the diet is so extreme that the body cannot get the PH in its proper range. Ketosis from low carbing does not cause acidosis, which is so dangerous to diabetics. The only test I am aware of for acidosis is by testing the blood gases, which must be done in a lab. Since you are eating well, lifting weights, and maintaining your weight, acidosis should not be a concern.
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