I have been "doing" Atkins since March 1, basically staying in induction mode with the addition of small amounts of fruit and high fat dairy. I have lost just over 30 lbs and feel great. There have been only a few times that my husband and I have gone off the diet, the last of which was the week of the 4th of July.
I have basically switched over to following primal guidelines since July 7, but still weaning myself off of Atkins "acceptable" diet sodas. I am currently keeping high fat dairy and small amounts of cheese in my diet.
1) Stevia??? Is it OK? I have used it instead of succumbing, again, to the "Atkins acceptable" artificial sweeteners, aside from that nasty diet pop that I didn't consume prior to Atkins. I think my tastebuds are changing, though, as the diet pop really doesn't taste that good to me anymore.
2) Cholesterol Labs taken July 17 (10 days after a week of food debauchery--and I am serious about that; it was simply disgusting). I have no baseline before I started Atkins or any time prior, so I may have made drastic improvements, for all I know. My family has a history of high cholesterol. My brother has remedied his by basically becoming vegan.
LDL: 143 (they want it less than 99)
HDL:55 (they want it higher than 60)
I am wondering what influence, also, the prior week's diet could have upon those results. They are calling for retesting in 4-6 months.
3)Also taken July 17 Vitamin D:23 (range 25-70; they would like it to be at least 30 and are calling for D3 supplementation) I was taking fish oil in good quantities (probably a tablespoon a day)Greener Pastures and more recently, Garden of Life up until probably June when I ran out and my co-op stopped ordering it, and I haven't bought a new bottle. I live in MI, am pretty sure I suffer from a bit of SAD. Have been getting more sun this summer, but obviously, not enough.
I am wondering if cod liver oil supplementation wouldn't be the answer for both of these problems.???
I have not begun exercising yet, though after shedding 30 lbs., I'm feeling much more ready to begin that path!
I'm sorry, I'm not much help with most of your questions but I did want to chime in and say that I do use stevia (alcohol free kind) once in a while for my coffee or in my sparkling water. It's a nice treat. I used to use it more than I do now. I think eventually you just sort of lose a taste for ultra sweet stuff.
I don't use any sweeteners at all (but that's just me), but I've heard that stevia is the least 'bad.'
In terms of your lipids--I get mine checked regularly by my endo, and I've found that what I've eaten just a couple of days before affects my numbers. My suggestion would be to supplement with fish oil AND eat more fish than meat. Personally, I've found that using olive oil as my major fat (all my life because I'm Italian/American) and eating a lot of fish has really given me good numbers. However, my sister, who eats the SAD, also has great numbers, so I suspect most of this is genetic!
Keep in mind that the 'numbers' don't tell the whole story. I have high HDL (in the 80-95 range) and low triglycerides (50-70). For years, all my doctors kept bothering me about my LDL, which has been about 160, and they want it about 100. Then my endo did a VAP test, and 100% of my LDL is "pattern A" which is actually heart healthy. Nevertheless, 4 months later, the same doctor was 'questioning' my 'high' LDL. I reminded him about the VAP test, and then he shut up!
In addition, a 'better' test of potential heart issues is the C-Reactive Protein, but most doctors don't do that because there are no meds to improve those numbers--only dietary changes, so Big Pharma hasn't 'brainwashed' them into doing that test!