In our fat- and carbohydrate-conscious society, where the Atkins diet is the latest craze and one of the books on the New York Times bestseller list is The South Beach Diet, how do we still give our taste buds a workout along with our thighs?

In general, spices have no nutritional value; therefore, a “Nutrition Facts” panel does not appear on the package label. Exceptions include paprika and chili products, which may contain vitamin A. Many seasonings contain other ingredients, such as sodium, which does have a nutritional value.

The use of spices by Americans has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, to more than one billion pounds, according to the American Spice Trade Association's (ASTA, Washington) latest spice statistics report.

Cooking With Herbs and Spices: Easy, Low-Fat Flavor, a cookbook by Judy Gilliard, includes quick and easy recipes demonstrating how herbs and spices can take the place of oils and butters to add flavor to low-fat foods.

Take Subway (Milford, Conn.) as a prime example of eliminating carbs without compromising taste by adding spices. The new Atkins[r] Nutritionals Inc.-endorsed (Hauppauge, N.Y.) wraps have between eight and 10 net carbs. The turkey and bacon wrap is topped with a chipotle southwest sauce, adding piquant flavor to a sandwich whose bread only has 5g of carbohydrates.

According to ASTA, the hottest trend in spices today is the taste for those with heat, such as black and white pepper, red pepper and mustard seed. These items now account for 41% of the U.S.'s spice usage and, as a group, they have increased 71% in tonnage since the late 1970s. The hottest seasonings have registered the largest gains: spicy capsicum peppers are up 125%.

Texas Pete[r] (T.W. Garner Food Co., Winston-Salem, N.C.) hot sauce, McClancy Seasoning (Fort Mill, S.C.) and Lance[r] (Charlotte, N.C.) snack foods have teamed up to bring pork-skin lovers everywhere the taste of Texas Pete. Texas Pete approached McClancy Seasoning to blend and manufacture the powder version of their famous hot sauce, Texas Pete Dry Flavor. McClancy assisted Lance in providing customers with this tangy, high-flavor, zero-carb snack--perfect for those on the Atkins diet.

“McClancy is a fully-integrated food development company that imports premium spices, grinds and packages them so they are ready to flavor any low-fat or low-carbohydrate dish,” says Reid Wilkerson, president of McClancy Seasoning Company. “We at McClancy understand that the American society is becoming more and more health-conscious. It is our desire that our spices flavor healthy dishes so folks won't have to forgo taste while counting carbs or fat grams.”

McClancy specializes in a wide range of food production, including desserts, salad dressings, gravies, sauces and soups, meat seasonings and marinades, batters, breadings and bakery items, snack foods, dairy blends, drink mixes, and whole and ground spices. Additionally, the company has expanded its capabilities to include more sugar- and dairy-based products to accompany the time-tested savory goods McClancy has been known for the past 55 years.

For more information:

McClancy Seasoning Company

Reid Wilkerson • 800-843-1968,