Nutrition a car in south beach

Published on January 8th, 2014 | by Joe Starks

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Eat That! The South Beach Diet

In 2003, cardiologist Arthur Agatston M.D. published the South Beach diet book. Since then the diet has become one of the most popular choices together with the famous Atkins diet. It is often considered a fad diet, yet many fans disagree with that term. In this article we’ll look into how the diet is supposed to work and if it is a fad diet or not. Even though opinions differ on the subject, we will stick to the simple scientific facts and make up our own opinion based on them.

What is the South Beach diet?

The South Beach diet has three different phases you have to go through:

  • In the first phase you cut out all starches and sugars (as far as that is possible) from your diet. This means no pasta, bread, rice, potatoes and fruit. This phase obviously looks a lot like the Atkins diet, which is also all about not eating many carbs. However, in the South Beach diet this phase only lasts 2 weeks, so you soon get some carbs on your plate again. During phase one you mainly eat lean meat or plant proteins, low carbohydrate vegetables and low fat dairy products.
  • In phase two you gradually begin to introduce back some carbohydrates into your diet. This means you begin to eat small portions of whole-grain bread and pasta, as well as brown rice. Phase two is a very long phase designed to help you lose 1-2 pounds a week. This phase ends only when you reach your goal weight.
  • Phase three is your actual maintenance phase. This means you should stay in phase three for the rest of your life. You now can eat more freely, always using your experience and new knowledge gained from phase 1 and 2. In phase three you can indulge once in a while, but are encouraged to continue making leaner choices most of the time.

The diet itself does not include a necessary exercise program, but newer edition do suggest that exercise can help you achieve your goal sooner and give you a better result. Some versions of the book include certain exercise plans.

Upsides of the South Beach diet

Thankfully the South Beach diet has plenty of good points to it. The most important of those are:

  • It is a “slow and steady” kind of diet that helps you lose weight and keep it off. Everyone can lose weight on a diet, but most people can’t keep it off afterwards and here is where the South Beach diet tries to differ. You might not have fast results, but you have better hopes of being in that small percentile that doesn’t get back to their old weight.
  • It includes all food groups in healthy portions. Only the two first weeks are a bit restrictive when it comes to carbohydrate intake, but you soon enough get carbohydrates into your diet again in phase 2, so the diet can’t be considered dangerous if followed carefully. Do not extend phase 1 beyond two weeks for any reason or you might suffer from ketosis.
  • It allows you to eat healthier versions of your favorite foods. Turkey hot dog with whole-grain buns etc can be a delicious way to shed the pounds once you get used to the idea of eating healthy. Most diets don’t allow you to choose your meals so freely.

Downsides of the South Beach diet

There aren’t many downsides to the South Beach diet, simply because it follows many of the rules every dietician and nutritionist knows by heart. It takes a lot of willpower to go through such a long term eating plan and not slip up and not everybody can deal with the idea of dieting for 2 or more years to reach their goal weight. Nonetheless slow diets are actually the most successful as far as obese and seriously overweight people are concerned. Even if it takes a few years to reach your goal weight you will be thinner every month and enjoy the weight loss journey as well. This is a diet for people who are ready for serious, life-long commitment and change.

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