The Low Glycemic Load Atkins OWL plan

Some folks ask me what plan I’m following.

Here is the answer, albeit not tremendously simple, but simple enough for me.

I’m following Dr Thompson’s Low Glycemic Diet, but I’m using modified OWL numbers from the Atkins plan.

Now, before you scrunch up your eyebrows and make cuckoo noises, let me explain how this works. Dr Thompson wrote an excellent book about Low Glycemic Loads. Glycemic load is more important than index, because no one can eat enough carrots to spike blood sugar as index shows. Glycemic load is based on the average amount a person generally eats versus what it would take to raise the blood sugar considerably for any given food item.

Glycemic load is so easy, I’m able to follow it. There are no phases, nothing complicated about this plan. In fact, I’ve laid out some of the groundwork below:

To begin following the plan (while waiting for your book to arrive)


This list is extremely important. Note, however, this isn’t where you are going to cry out in remorse for having listened to me at this point. No reason to say, “Jamie! You said this was going to be easy!”

Well, this is easy. The list tells you, as a long-time low-carber, what you already know. In a sense, it vindicates the knowledge you have had to this point.

Ignore low glycemic indexes. Those don’t take into account the amount of food NORMAL folks eat (no one eats cups and cups of carrots in a sitting). Glycemic load takes into account the amount of food a normal person eats )ex: a bagel).

Job One: Purge starch from your diet.

Easy enough, right? After all, you’re probably already following a low-carb plan. Push aside, most simply, bread, potatoes and rice. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Do you have to give them up for life? No. Keep reading.

What Dr Thompson states is that when you have a plate of food in front of you, you put all starchy foods to the side in a ‘starch pile’. Psychologically speaking, little looks less appetizing than a pile of goo sitting on your plate!

And what is starch, if not goo and glue?

At the end of the meal, if you simply must have some starch (and are still hungry–remember, eating to satisfy hunger trumps pigging out), eat up to 1/4 of the starch on your plate. Nothing more.

You will have made starch the afterthought and not the be-all. Really roll it around in your mouth. It’s just not really that good. Still, you can have some. You’re just going to fill up on the healthy, wholesome foods first.

As an aside, did you know that starches never make it past the first 2 feet of your intestine before it veers right back off into your bloodstream? It’s not good stuff…

High fiber foods have greater merit. Don’t be mistaken into believing bran flakes, however, are necessarily healthy. So many foods are so highly processed! The healthiest grains are the ones which retain their fiber because they’ve retained their husks. Flax seed meal is some good stuff. Flax cereal CAN be, if you can control yourself and eat only the recommended amount.

Me, I can’t, so I stay away from flax cereals (and all cereals). There is more information about acceptable fiber sources in the book.

Job 2: Eliminate sugar-filled beverages.

Again, probably a no-brainer! We’re doing that as low-carbers.

Milk? OK for us. In moderation. Milk still contains milk sugars. Go for a higher fat for greater satiety.


alcohol: An appetite stimulant and depressant

coffee and tea– good in moderation, coffee and tea offer positive attributes. towards stimulation of metabolism and providing protection for some type 2 diabetes patients. Still, it can also stimulate appetite, so be aware!

Water– great, but drink to satisfaction. Dr T thinks we over drink water as a society. Make water your thirst quenching drink of choice, but you don;t have to drink obscene amounts to get the needed physiological benefits. He discusses this more in the book.

Job 3: Make friends with your sweet tooth

This is where I initially thought Dr T lost his ball in the short weeds–and where, conversely, I realized this could be a way of life for me!

In the bloodstream, a gram of sugar doesn’t raise blood sugar levels anymore than a gram of starch. The difference? We have a sweet taste bud on our tongue. Do we have a starch bud? The human has not evolved to eat starches. Sugar? In moderation, yes, and humans have been eating honey (100% sugar) for millenia!

The glycemic loaf of one peppermint lifesaver is only 20. Compared to 100 for a slice of bread, that’s nothing. A tablespoon of sugar? Only 28. And, for this, your tongue (and your brain’s) pleasure sensors are exonerated.

How can sugar save you? If you are addicted to starches, it’s silly. Starches are tasteless. What has to be added? Flavoring? sugar?

Why not cut to the chase? Eat what your body wants. What your tongue wants. Have a bit of sugar and skip the processed chemicals. You can assuage starch cravings by actually having a bit of sugar!

Wait until the end of a meal (again, to help off-set sugar in the bloodstream) have a pinch of sugar. A small, high-octane chocolate, maybe some pudding. A small handful of jellybeans. Better for you than starches, and without the resulting cravings.

Avoid starchy sweets! No cookies, pies, cakes. The point is to assuage the sugar center on your tongue, not feed your body starch-poisons.

OK treats: M&Ms, jellybeans, high octane chocolate (just a bit), peanut brittle, hard candy, such as a peppermint. Limit quantities! Remember, this should feel like you’re spoiling yourself, but not your hips.

Use sweets to happify your taste buds–never to fill your belly!

Go sugar-free when enjoying dairy treats, but watch out for sugar alcohols. Sugar-laced yogurts should be substituted with artificial sweetener.

Find high-fiber and protein snacks… no issue, right? We’re used to that. Nuts, cheeses, meats, celery…

Job number 3: Slow Twitch Muscles to the rescue!

These muscles have more to do with metabolism than what we previously believed. Walk every 48 hours to keep burn at a maximum. Walking also keeps your muscles resistant to insulin! You don’t have to knock yourself out to knock out insulin naughties!

There is much more about this in the book, but long story short: Walk every 48 hours! It’s not painful, you feel better, work slow-twitch muscles and build up metabolism. Slow-twitch are your friends.

Of course, I walk daily, but once every 2 days is a start, right?

Choose good fats over bad

No brainer. We already know this. He does recommend omega-3. It’s good stuff.

So really, that’s it. Oh, there’s more in the book, which is why I highly recommend anyone interested in this plan buy it! The plan is really that straightforward.

No phases. No starting over. No guilt. Just better choices.

I don’t mind phases, but people don’t tend to live naturally in phases, save for those our bodies impose on themselves. Some days we are hungrier than others. Some seasons we don’t want to eat as much as others. The decided lack of man-made phases makes this a way of living rather than a diet. It’s much more user-friendly and less likely to fail in that.

And for those of us who tend towards self-sabotage and perfection, this plan requires neither perfection nor absolute adherence. It removes every stumbling block I suffered from while following Atkins.

Speaking of Atkins….

Now, take that plan, and instead of eating higher carbs, stick to induction level numbers for the 2002 Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution (you’re treating it as modified OWL, because you’re rotating foods through to some degree to see how they affect you… but you don’t have to). Because you’re staying to between 20-25 net carbs, your hunger levels are dissipated for the most part as you’re enjoying eating luxurious foods.

I was a skeptic regarding the LGL plan by Dr Thompson, but never having to follow induction again and having a world o0f delicious foods at my fingertips makes it so easy to stay on this plan!

It’s worth looking into. The losses can be as fast or as slow as you like, but Dr Thompson advocated slower losses since long-term changes take place through slower losses and cementing of lifestyle.

I know I am really excited about this plan!

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  1. dr thompson book sounds like a good read.but i am confused about the mention of sugar alcohols.I read the Wink site and the stuff sounds great but I noticed they all have 5 sugar alcohols. Is It still ok to eat? I want some lol sounds great

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