The South Beach Diet is a diet thought up and made by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon. It is designed as an alternative to the other low fat diets to prevent heart disease and reduce cholesterol. Additionally, it does help you lose weight by having you replace bad carbs with good carbs and bad fats with good fats. This is done by eliminating saturated fats and trans fats and replacing them with unsaturated fats. Replace high fat meats with lean meats and learn to distinguish the refined carbohydrates, with complex carbohydrates using the glycemic index.
South beach diet works in phases. Phase one is a 2 week long elimination process, leading to the ultimate goal of eliminating the hunger cycle. This is done by cutting out processed carbohydrates, fruits, sugar, and some high Glycemic Index (GI) vegetables for 2 weeks. Phase 2’s duration depends on how long the person dieting wishes to lose weight. This phase consists of reintroducing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains slowly and properly. Phase three is a lifetime process of maintaining, and continuing to eat healthy.
Pro’s of South Beach Diet include weight loss, reduction in bad cholesterol, and reducing risk of diseases and conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay
- High blood pressure
- And thyroid conditions
Another pro to the South Beach Diet is that it is not a ridiculously low carb diet, and it does not make you cut out any of the essential nutrients. Also, there is a vegetarian version of The South Beach Diet, making it very versatile and user friendly. The South Beach Diet was not designed to tell people what they can and cannot eat, but rather what they should eat instead. For example, choosing brown rice over white, whole grain and whole wheat over white pasta and bread, red potatoes over white and so on. The South Beach Diet trademark foods are not meant to replace unprocessed healthy foods, but rather just give you a quick alternative that helps meet the diets requirements.
The con’s of South Beach Diet include carb restriction on the first phase, while the diet is relatively safe, restricting carbs too much can cause ketosis. Ketosis is a state which you become fatigued, weak, and more severe cases, dehydrated. Also, the South Beach diets first phase instructs dieters to temporarily stop eating fruit. Fruit is essential for good health, being that it has essential vitamins and nutrients, not to mention it keeps you hydrated. Fruit should be consumed in any diet since it does have all those vitamins and minerals, plus the fiber from the fruit keeps you fuller for longer and helps curb cravings. Additionally, Agatston did not conduct a very long study, nor did he do multiple studies. Therefore, people who do the South Beach diet for an extended period of time should be monitored regularly by a healthcare professional, as the side effects of long time dieters are unclear.
As with any diet, there are good things and bad things. With the pro’s and con’s of the South Beach Diet it is clear there are more pro’s than con’s, however, in a long term circumstance, so it may be best to weigh the con’s heavily. The South Beach Diet has a lot of design around the Glycemic Index, so if you find you want to learn more, the Glycemic Index is a good place to start. Also, it is best to speak with a doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen.