The South Beach Diet and Weight Loss Programs

What is the South Beach Diet?

Developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, the South Beach Diet is self-described as “neither low-fat nor low-carb,” but rather a method that teaches followers to rely on the “right” carbs and the “right” fats.

Like the Atkins Diet, this plan is divided into phases: Phase One lasts 14 days, and is the strictest. Normal-sized portions of lean protein are allowed, as are vegetables, nuts, cheese and eggs

What is the The South Beach Diet Like?

This diet focuses on a healthy balance between carbs and fats — good carbs and fats.

Dr. Agatston says decreasing the bad carbs will help you metabolize what you eat more effectively and will also improve insulin resistance, leading to weight loss.

On the South Beach Diet you would consume more low-glycemic carbs, or good carbs, such as whole grains and vegetables. These are absorbed gradually into the blood stream and so don’t trigger the spikes in your sugar/insulin cycle.

Dr. Agatston believes that excess consumption of so-called “bad carbohydrates”, such as the rapidly-absorbed carbohydrates found in foods with a high glycemic index, creates an insulin resistance syndrome—an impairment of the hormone insulin’s ability to properly process fat or sugar. In addition, he believes along with many physicians that excess consumption of “bad fats”, such as saturated fat and trans fat, contributes to an increase in cardiovascular disease. To prevent these two conditions, Agatston’s diet minimizes consumption of bad fats and bad carbs and encourages increased consumption of good fats and good carbs.

Amazingly the weight loss benefits of this diet are a secondary outcome; they were not the original intention. Dr. Agatston designed his diet to help his cardiac patients maintain a healthy lifestyle and lose weight. When lots of patients began to report positive weight loss he decided he was onto something and quickly dashed off the book.

You work the diet in three phases, which initially restrict certain foods and then restore them to your diet.

In Phase 1, which lasts 14 days you eliminate most of the carbs from your diet and instead you eat protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, chicken, fish, nuts, cheese, eggs, vegetables and olive oil.

Cravings for bad carbohydrates should be eliminated by the end of this phase.

The second phase lasts until you reach your target weight, and is less restrictive than Phase 1. Shoot to lose one to two pounds per week.

You can eat good carbs like whole grain breads, sweet potatoes, brown rice, pasta and fruit. You can also have chocolate and wine in moderate amounts.

Once you hit your target weight you should be coasting. The diet becomes part of your life style, you’re eating complex carbs again and the carb cravings should be gone.

South Beach Diet – Effectively Changing Eating Habits to Lose Weight

In developing the South Beach Diet, Dr. Agatston reduces the consumption of believes “bad carbohydrates”. These carbs quickly absorbed by the body, and have a high glycemic index; in the long run, there is insulin resistance. This means that the insulin seizes to process fat or sugar in the correct way. He also takes a very critical look at saturated fat and Trans fat; these two are the biggest contributing factors to cardiovascular ailments. The South Beach Diet emphasizes on reducing the consumption of “bad fats and bad carbs” and of course increases the consumption of “good fats and good carbs”.

What are the pros to the South Beach Diet?

In today’s dieting world where low-carb, high-fat diets are in vogue, it’s good to see a diet that recommends eating fewer foods packed with saturates and replacing some of these foods with heart-healthy monounsaturates. Diets based on eating low GI foods are also becoming increasingly popular and in general, encourage you to ‘de-junk’ your diet and cut down on carb-rich foods that are packed with few other nutrients such as white bread, sugary cereals and sweets.