What You Need to Know about the South Beach Diet

November 12, 2012

What You Need to Know about the South Beach Diet

One of the most successful weight loss programs is called the South Beach Diet. It was developed by the Director of the Mount Sinai Cardiac Prevention Center, Arthur Agatson, MD. This cardiologist also developed the popular but controversial Atkins diet. Obesity is a main contributor to heart disease or heart attacks. Because Dr Agaston works near the beaches of Florida, he christened his diet the South Beach Diet.

Dr. Agaston claims that people crave highly processed foods that cause the body to make fat deposits. The more of these foods we eat, the more we crave them. Following the rules set out in his best-selling book, “The South Beach Diet”, the dieter can break this vicious carb-craving cycle.

Like other weight loss plans, the South Beach Diet assigns numerical values to different kinds of foods. The lower the number means the better it is. Dr. Agatson assigned these numbers based on the glycemic index, or how many carbohydrates are in the food item. Dieters follow three phases to lower consumption of carbohydrates (carbs), lose weight and balance their blood sugar levels.

Phase One

Phase one lasts for two weeks. Dieters are not allowed to eat sugary foods, foods rich in carbs, foods made with processed wheat flour and alcoholic beverages. This means that many common foods like bread, rice, pasta, corn and potatoes are eliminated from the diet. Foods that are allowed include fruits, green vegetables except for peas, onions, fish, beans, nuts, low-fat cheese, eggs and lean light-colored uncoated meats.

Many followers of this diet report losing a noticeable amount of weight during Phase One. Critics of the South Beach Diet argue that any weight lost in this time is only water weight.

Phase Two

The next phase in the South Beach Diet is to gradually add high-carb foods back into the usual diet. In this phase, the dieter is given free reign to pick which foods he or she wants back into the diet. But the overall goal is not to eat so many high-carb and fat-inducing foods ever again. The dieter is now to eat smaller portions of high-carb, high-sugar foods.

The theory is that after two weeks, the body no longer wants to eat the same amount of high-carb foods that was consumed before starting the diet plan. The body has learned to appreciate healthier foods which it can turn into energy rather than into fat.

Phase Three

Phase Three lasts as long as the rest of your life. The dieter takes the principles learned in the first two phases and keeps on applying them. If the dieter gains weight, then the dieter can go back to Phase One and start all over again.


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