Whether it's called filleting or hollowing or pulling the insides out, the bagel as we know it is undergoing a liposuction of sorts.

"It used to be that stores would do it once a week, but in the past year, it's gotten more frequent," Greg Kotler, local spokesman for Noah's New York Bagels, says of the scooped-out bagel. "West L.A. seems to receive more requests than others."

It's also fueled by the popularity of the Atkins diet and other regimens that call for little or no carbohydrates.

A single plain bagel typically contains about 62 grams of carbohydrates, the equivalent of three to five servings of bread enough to draw frowns, if not gasps, from the growing crowd of Angelenos who have embraced a high-protein/low-carb regimen.

While bagel shops report an increasing number of customers requesting the scoop out, most do not advertise the option, for fear of slowing down customer service.

But Shirley McClain, assistant manager at Noah's in Studio City, says complying with such requests is a snap.

"We have our gloves on, so we just split it in half and pick out the bread with our fingers," said McClain, who scoops about a dozen bagels a week. "We've gotten pretty fast at it pluck, pluck and it's out of there."

Some nutritionists say that cutting carbs is OK, as long as it's not taken to extremes, and scooping may be a way of trimming carbs without cutting them out altogether.

Scooper Kaija Leimanis, 27, orders her bagel with tomatoes and cream cheese. "I'm trying to lose weight, so I don't want to eat a lot of carbs," said the West Los Angeles resident. "And, I don't feel so full afterwards."

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