Low carb demands change menus

Published 8:13 am Saturday, March 13, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The low carb diet craze has been sweeping the nation and many restaurants are adding menu items to accommodate their dieting customers, but some local experts agree it is not a good way to combat weight loss.
With McDonald's cutting their super-size options, Burger King offering bun-less burgers and beer companies marketing their low carb beers, dieting has become a multi-million dollar industry.
Blimpie Subs and Salads is another business catering to weight conscious customers with a new carb counting program.
The Niles restaurant, located at 20 E. Main St., recently became one of the first in the country to offer their new "Carb Counter Menu."
Linda Fuller, owner of the Niles' Blimpie, is excited about the new line of products and said customers have been very happy with the menu's new offerings.
While she thinks it may be a good short term answer to weight loss, she acknowledged that will take more than just low carb foods to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Subway is another restaurant that has jumped on board with their new Atkins-friendly wraps.
Amanda Oakes, manager of the Subway located at 904 E. Main in Niles, said business has been good for their low carb selections. She said her store sells about 15 to 20 of the wraps per day.
While the diet may be creating a brand new market of products, local experts disagree with this approach to weight loss.
Carbohydrates along with fat and proteins are three nutrients that everyone's body needs, she said.
Latonya Ramdon, dietician at Lakeland Hospital in Niles, also disagrees with the low carb diet concept.
Ramdon said it is not healthy to lose any more than two pounds per week. She pointed out that it is common for people to lose eight to 13 pounds in the first week of the low carb-based South Beach diet.
McKean said the diet may help people lose weight in a short amount of time, but does not think the diet is an answer to long term weight loss.
She said the best way to maintain a healthy diet is to control meal portions, eat in moderation and exercise regularly.
McKean agreed that a diet of healthy foods and an exercise routine is the best way to stay in shape.