Giving It a Number

One way to look at nutrient value is to measure the concentration of antioxidants in food. Antioxidants are a special group of vitamins and phytochemicals that protect your cells from the ravages of environmental pollution, stress, disease and aging. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston studied the antioxidant capacity of common vegetables and assigned each vegetable an antioxidant score. I've taken that score and divided it by the number of grams of carbohydrate in the same-size serving of each vegetable or fruit and thus computed what I now call the Atkins Ratio.

The higher the number, the more antioxidant protection you get per gram of carbohydrate. Talk about bang for your buck. If you used this tool to maximize your nutrient intake and simultaneously exercised regularly and controlled your carbohydrates by following Atkins, I would defy you not to be an outstanding physical specimen.

Look at the numbers in the Atkins Ratio below. As you can see, garlic is in a class by itself. The cruciferous vegetables-broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage-which extensive research has shown to be a group of potent cancer fighters, are well up there. Onions also play a starring role. From this already rich list, let's identify some vegetable allstars.

Good Carb Diet

Good Carb Diet

WHAT IT IS A three-phase plan that has been likened to the low-carbohydrate Atkins program because during the first two weeks, South Beach eliminates most carbs, including bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit and most dairy products. In PHASE 2, healthy carbs, including most fruits, whole grains and dairy products are gradually reintroduced, but processed carbs such as bagels, cookies, cornflakes, regular pasta and rice cakes remain on the list of foods to avoid or eat rarely.

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