Because the Atkins diet restricts sweets, dieters often crave sugar. Eating sugar free candy is a great way to ease those cravings. However, not all sugar free candy is carbohydrate free. Many people assume that the Atkins diet consists of eating no carbohydrates for the duration of the diet, and that is not entirely true. The Atkins diet has four separate phases. Each phase lasts two weeks or more, and in each phase certain foods are unacceptable. Some carbohydrates are allowed in each phase of the diet.
The first phase of the diet is called the Induction phase, and it only allows you to have 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. The first phase lasts two weeks or more, depending on how much weight you want to lose. Because of the small amount of allowable carbs, this phase usually consists of eating lean protein and green vegetables.
Phases Two through Four
The second phase (On Going Weight Loss) allows you to add five more carbs to your diet per day. In the third phase (Pre-Maintenance) you'll add an additional 10 grams of carbs per day. And in the fourth phase (Maintenance), you'll slowly begin adding carbs back into your diet, restricting the number of carbs based on your metabolism. If you want to eat sugar free candy during the Atkins diet, then it's important to analyze the carbs per serving, and make sure you won't exceed the allowable grams of carbohydrates.
Sugar is filled with carbohydrates. To illustrate, there are five grams of carbohydrates in one teaspoon of sugar. Sugar free candy, on the other hand, is usually made with sugar substitutes. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) sets the minimum amount of sugar a product can have to be labeled as "sugar free." However, this means that sugar free candy can still have a small amount of sugar and still be considered "sugar free." Even a tiny bit of sugar in candy can elevate the carb count.
On some sugar free candies, you may see the words maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, or xylitol. These are not sugars, but they are substances called sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohol is technically neither sugar nor alcohol. They are substances that are formed from the refinement of sugar. Sugar alcohols are also naturally present in some plants and herbs. Even though they taste like sugar, the body doesn't absorb sugar alcohols like regular sugar. In addition, they have little or no calories. Therefore, many sugar free candies contain sugar alcohols. Most sugar free chewing gums are sweetened with sugar alcohols. It's important to know, however, that sugar alcohols do contain carbohydrates.
If you're craving sweets on the Atkins diet, check the labels of sugar free candy before you eat it. Some sugar free candy does have a minimum amount of carbs, and will therefore, fit in your diet. You can also eat sugar free Jello, which usually has no more than one and a half grams of carbs per serving. Top your Jello off with a dollop of cool whip, which only has three grams of carbs per serving, and you should be able to satisfy your sugar cravings.