New bread: It's high on taste, low on carbs
This company thinks low-carbohydrate foods will explode just like lowfat foods did.
INDIANA, Pa. (AP) -- Labels all over grocery and specialty stores entice consumers with promises of lowfat, low-calorie, high-fiber, low-sodium and organic products that companies, doctors and even government agencies would have you believe are best for a healthful lifestyle.
The latest weight-loss craze picking up followers quicker than a cult actually has been around since the 1970s.
In fact, Dr. Robert Atkins, the best known in the land of low-carb eating, has worked this lifestyle since 1963.
In the past few years, the Atkins low-carbohydrate diet -- and others like it: the Zone, Protein Power and Carbohydrate Addicts diets -- has picked up steam enough to be a real threat to lowfat dieting programs already set as social institutions.
This trend is helping people shed pounds, but asks them to give up pasta, bread, potatoes and other carbohydrate-laden -- but deliciously filling -- foods.
But that is about to change. Like lowfat products that have swept the market, low-carb products are beginning to take shape, specifically the shape of a loaf of bread.
Jeremy Grata of Indiana has been on a low-carb diet since 1999. He said he initially craved something crunchy like potato chips but wanted to stick to his diet.
He said he sought out pork rinds, which satisfied his crunchy cravings, but when he wanted a different flavor, he was hard pressed to find something other than plain and barbecue.
When his cravings for a sandwich got to be too much, there was nothing to fill in for bread like pork rinds filled in for chips. He said he spent months searching for a satisfactory replacement.
In the end, he decided that if he wanted something he liked, he'd have to do it himself. That's what prompted the creation of Grata Inc., a company focused solely on low-carbohydrate breads and cereals.
With an idea similar to veggie-burgers developed for vegetarians who missed eating a burger, these low-carb dieters who missed eating cereal, spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches and mashed potatoes are doing something about it.
The outcome: a low-carb bread, called Paraclete, and an entire low-carb company with products on the verge of blowing the low-carb diet product market wide open.
"That's what we really want to do is help the low-carb dieters," said Grata, president of Grata Inc., the company that makes Healthy Returns.
There are a few low-carb dieting products available now, most of which are marketed with the Atkins diet, but Alex West, chief information officer of Grata Inc., said their quality and taste have reached a plateau that is unsatisfactory.
The company's leaders met when they were all employed by Biocontrol, an Indiana medical-technology development company. They worked nonstop for more than a year experimenting with sawdust, among other things, as a carb-substitute. They tried bamboo, pine and other "flavors."
The right taste
Their final taste-based decision was to use a tiny bit of real flour, which added a minimal amount of carbohydrate and a lot of real-bread taste. By January, they "had some really good, ultra-low-carb bread."
The first product, made almost wholly of fats and proteins, looked, smelled and felt like bread.
Unfortunately, the taste wasn't up to the creators' standards of quality. Sure, it would be OK for the hard-core dieter, West said, but it needed a little more flavor to surpass similar products on the market.
Grata said they juggled the amount of flour and carbohydrate level and their final product, Paraclete, is made completely of wheat products and matches carbohydrate and caloric levels of similar products made with soy or other wheat-substitutes.
"It's a far better flavor than anything we've ever tasted," said Larry Meyers, operations manager for Grata Inc., who has lost about 34 pounds from his 6-foot-1-inch frame in three years.
Since developing the bread recipe, the low-carb recipe they considered most difficult to master, they have found it easy to continue the low-carb product line and have developed low-carb pancakes, spaghetti, pizza crust, lasagna and fried-chicken batter, Grata said.