The South Beach Diet
Developed by Dr Agatston in 1999, to help patients avoid
or combat heart problems, it also boasts weight loss. Celebrity
successes include Bill and Hillary Clinton. It works on the
idea that carbs cause weight gain, which is similar to the
Atkins diet, however the South Beach diet does not eliminate
carbs completely. It divides them into 'good' carbs (e.g.
high fibre cereals, wheat breads) and 'bad' carbs (e.g. biscuits,
pasta). 'Bad' carbs make you feel full temporarily, but cause
your blood sugar levels to rise sharply. When they fall again
they leave you feeling lethargic and hungry. The South Beach
diet also differentiates between 'good' fats (monounsaturated)
and 'bad' fats (saturated). You eat 3 healthy balanced meals
a day and snacks are allowed, however, by eating the right
kinds of foods you will feel fuller for longer.
The South Beach diet works in 3 phases.
Phase One - 2 weeks of
strict dieting. This is the initial weight loss period. You
still eat normal portion sizes but nearly all carbs are avoided.
In studies people lost between 8 -13 lbs. during this phase.
Phase Two -
lasts until you reach your desired weight. 'Good' carbs are
slowly introduced while weight loss continues.
Phase Three - returning
to normal. This is all about maintaining your desired weight
with a healthy balanced diet. If at any point the dieter starts
to gain weight again simply return to phase one.
As with all diets it is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses
of water a day and it is also recommended that followers of
the South Beach diet take a daily calcium supplement. It is
not recommended for people with kidney problems. Always consult
a doctor or dietician before undertaking weight loss plans.
Dr Agatston says "Everyone will cheat or fall off the
wagon at times. This does not mean forget it."
South Beach diet : Reasons for
- Scientifically sound and recommended by Dr Cheskin of
the John Hopkins Weight Management Centre.
- It improves cholesterol and insulin levels
- It does not omit any major food groups, rather it is about
finding a balance
- It had only a 5% drop out rate in tests
- You don't have to exercise!
South Beach diet : Reasons against
- Much of the initial weight loss may just be water loss
caused by cutting out carbs.
- Can be limiting if you are unable to eat or dislike dairy
- It can be hard to find the time to prepare meals in a
busy modern lifestyle and it is easy to be tempted by fast
food and ready meals.
South Beach diet : verdict
Overall this is a good diet. It keeps your heart healthy
while reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. It has one of the lowest
dropout rates for modern diets and provides practical eating
patterns. It provides quick weight loss at the beginning and
a steady weight loss continues until you reach your ideal
weight. With this diet the weight is more likely to stay off.
You can have a look at the South Beach Diet Book here.