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6/10/10 8:23 P

What you are discussing are the major electrolytes in the body, chloride, potassium, calcium, and sodium. These play a vital role in muscle contraction and relaxation (remember your heart is a muscle too), they are involved in blood pressure control, nerve impulses and signals, regulation of body fluids. It is why a healthy diet is so VITAL! It is also why someone should not just start pumping their body with supplements.

Dietitian Becky

60SIXTY Posts: 25,073
6/10/10 7:29 P

This can only be analyzed through a blood test.
High doses of any and all of these minerals not only cause changes in the muscles, but also the heart.

TRILLIANTOO SparkPoints: (41,587)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,790
6/10/10 6:45 P

That's a good point, I'd forgotten about calcium playing a role.

My book says Induction-friendly sources of Calcuim are:

Brazil Nuts
Carob - not sure if it's Induction-friendly or not
Dandelion greens
Leafy green vegetables (especially beet greens, collard, mustard, turnip greens, kale)
Seaweeds (especially dulse, hiziki, kelp, kombu, and wakame)
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds

KOSHIE1 SparkPoints: (230,663)
Fitness Minutes: (72,026)
Posts: 11,713
6/10/10 6:38 P

I do Atkins too. I got muscle cramps too. I thought it was potassium too! But it wasn't! Or, at least, it wasn't ONLY that. First, I upped my potassium. Then I upped my magnesium. Then I upped my CALCIUM (I had thought I was getting PLENTY Ca!), and now I have no cramps.

TRILLIANTOO SparkPoints: (41,587)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,790
6/10/10 6:32 P

I've also been doing Atkins for years, and I also believe it can be healthy. Being in maintenance, my diet looks pretty similar to other people on Spark.

That's the thing that messed me up the first time I got introduced to Atkins.

I thought I was doing right by eating the 3 cups of veggies, but really I was WAY OFF my carbs. Even going by the carb counts as listed in DANDER I was way off.

I got a scale and that changed EVERYTHING. So then I'd go by WEIGHT and enter the grams of the foods I was eating, and then it became easy to get the 20 net grams carbs (12-15 of which are to be from vegetables) and I was eating a LOT MORE VEGGIES than going by the "3 cup" methodology.

(Also, I figured out my typical side salad and came up with something like 2.1 net grams carbs ... that's not much. And that includes a lot of higher carb things like tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, onions and the like, plus a cup or two of leafy greens and lower carb veggies like celery and cucumber.)

I would highly recommend you get a scale, enter your food in grams, and aim for grams vs. cups and I bet you'll be getting enough potassium (particularly if you vary your veggies) that you won't have the cramping.

Also, you can go to and check out foods high in potassium - in particular you can look just in the vegetables category, and find other options.

One book I have lists some foods by nutrient. Some Induction-friendly sources of potassium are:

Dandelion Greens
Dulse (a sea vegetable)
Leafy green vegetables (especially beet greens, spinach, and Swiss chard)
Pumpkin seeds
Red clover blossoms
Sunflower seeds
Winter squash (e.g. pumpkin, acorn, butternut, spaghetti, turban, etc.)

Edited by: TRILLIANTOO at: 6/10/2010 (18:41)
REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
6/10/10 4:04 P

The quantities you're talking about are guidelines for induction.

I don't know how you're measuring your salad, but three cups of the salad I eat is 85g, 20 calories, and it has 3g carbs. 2 of those are fiber, so 1 net carb for 3 cups. So you could have 6 cups of salad in a day for only 2 out of the 20 carbs if you're following induction. You can have spinach, zucchini, eggplant, celery, green peppers, mushrooms, green beans, and a slew of other veggies as long as you're not going over the 20 net carbs. 12-15g of your net carbs should be coming from vegetables.

It looks like you're getting more carbs from processed meats than you are vegetables and that's not the ideal way to do it - and all those processed meats are not good for you, period. Think about it this way, you could replace the bratwurst or sausage with a cup of spinach, get that potassium you want and avoid the fat, etc. in the brat. If you need more protein, add a leaner item like fish or chicken.

JODYDESSI Posts: 102
6/10/10 3:15 P

Thanks everybody for your responses. I knew that the very mention of Atkins might stir up some controversy here. :) The truth is, I've used the "Sparkpeople Method" on more than one occasion and it does work. Just last year I lost 35 pounds over a 4-month period by doing exactly what they recommend here on Sparkpeople. The problem is, as described by Dr. Atkins himself, i was always hungry. It was a constant everyday struggle to stick to the program. I was never full after a meal, and I was always hungry before the next meal. After four successful months I finally hit a wall and just quit.

The Atkins plan, while it may be controversial and may or may not be healthy long-term, is NOT just a diet. It is a complete lifestyle change. I'm just 4 days in, so I can't really vouch for it yet, but the idea is to eat plenty of yummy food and still lose weight.

I don't disagree with anything you guys have said. But still, I'm going to give this Atkins a fair shot for a while. And so far, so good. :) Usually the first four days of a "Sparkpeople" plan is the hardest. But the first four days of Atkins has been great! I'm eating wonderful foods and still losing weight!

@REBECANOLA: What other veggies do you mean? Pretty much you're only allowed three cups of veggies a day, at least two of which must be salad greens. And I usually get exactly that. Any other thoughts?

Thanks again to all!

REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
6/10/10 2:26 P

JODYDESSI - I have followed the Atkins plan, including the induction period, so I know what is allowed and what's not however, if you're actually having cramps because of a lack of a certain nutrient, your attention to those nutrtients should come first. JMO

Also, IMHO, I took a look at your tracker and I think you're not taking advantage of all the vegetables you are allowed to eat (you should be eating more salad vegetables and veggies period) and there's a lot of fat from meat and such in there.

Also, I just wanted to add that I believe that the Atkins plan works and can be healthy. It, just like any other way of eating involves balance. The plan asks you to add more and different types of carbohydrates back into your diet a regular basis and it has a focus on whole natural foods. It's a good plan if it fits with your body, it's done right and you change your way of eating.

Edited by: REBECANOLA at: 6/10/2010 (14:33)
RENA1965 Posts: 17,878
6/10/10 2:17 P

I back Becky up 100% please follow sparks nutrition plan a man of your size needs decent food and atkins is a diet not a life style change..
We can't suggest stuff if your not open to the usual sources of nutrition.
Number one rule never remove essential nutrition from the food pyramid. I have lost alot of weight and if you don't want your body to eat at muscle mass as well as fat you have to give the body something decent to work with..
I have been 306lb and never had any muscle cramps because of my nutrition. I think this question is a question for your doctor!

Edited by: RENA1965 at: 6/10/2010 (14:18)
6/10/10 2:14 P

For a gentleman your size, 20 grams of carbohydrate daily is nutritionally inappropriate. I suggest that you give our Sparkpeople plan a try, and lose weight in a healthy and more effective way.
dietitian Becky

JODYDESSI Posts: 102
6/10/10 1:50 P

Thanks. Nuts are not allowed during the induction phase of Atkins. It's pretty strict. Spinach is pretty good, and I'm trying to include that more. The problem with supplements is that the biggest available dose is 99mg per tablet, so I'd have to take about 20 tablets a day!

REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
6/10/10 1:35 P

You may want to try some nuts like macadamia nuts or almonds, about 2 net carbs per ounce and nuts generally have potassium. Or perhaps some edamame (5 net carbs/100g), you can get it roasted or cook it as a side. There are also sunflower seeds. I almost forgot spinach! These might help if you're not eating them already. You could also take a supplement.

Edited by: REBECANOLA at: 6/10/2010 (13:40)
JODYDESSI Posts: 102
6/10/10 12:30 P

I started Atkins four days ago. I'm seeing good results already, and feeling pretty good. Except for one thing. I am getting muscle cramps, especially in my ribs and back. I think it's because of the decreased potassium in my diet. I drink plenty of water (about a gallon a day).

Does anybody have any suggestions about how to get some extra potassium while on the Induction Phase of Atkins? I can only consume 20g of carbohydrates each day, so all fruit such as bananas and tomato juice is not allowed. I am getting about 1500-2000 mg of potassium a day, but I would like to get at least 4000 mg. Any ideas? Thanks!

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