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South Beach Diet: Diet Meals Recipes and Foods in South Beach Low-Carb Diet

South Beach diet Review

The South Beach Diet was created by a highly respected cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, to work with the body and not against him.

The diet is associated to the low-carbohydrate diets group. It’s not a traditional low-carb diet and adheres to more responsible and healthier approach than Atkins’ diet. The opinions about the diet are varies from hard to follow to the obligatory introduction phase to the best there is.

One of the things that contributed to the diet popularity is that many restaurants have included Zone diet meals in their menu.



Theory behind the diet

The diet is promoted as one which differentiates carbohydrates and fats as good ones and bad one. When the dieter chooses to follow the South beach diet he learns which are the right carbohydrates and fats and which are not. 



What is South Beach Weight loss rate?

According to the theory behind the diet when one consumes bad fats and carbohydrates the felling of hunger appears sooner and causes to more food intake. When right ones are consumed the dieter stays full for longer period of time and it’s expected to achieve 8 to 13 pounds lose in just 2 weeks.



Foods in the Diet

The food intake in the South Beach Diet is restricted to lean meat, seafood, eggs, low fat dairy products, nuts, vegetables (most of them, anyway), artificial sweeteners and a couple of carbohydrates of the low glycemic variety.



How the diet is structured?

South Beach Diet is divided to 3 phases:

- "The shock" phase last 2 weeks. Normal size meals of meat fish, eggs, nuts, plenty vegetables, reduced fat cheese, low fat yogurt. There are some snacks and deserts. Most fruits and vegetables are restricted.

Some of the dieters find this stage hard to follow because of a low energy level, tiredness feeling accompanied with nausea. The good thing is that not all dieters feel those symptoms and it’s perhaps on a genetic level.

The good part of this diet is replacing of the simple carbohydrates as sweets, pasta and bread with healthier complex carbohydrates as wholegrains and vegetables.

The worst part is that in order to achieve fast weight loss healthy and long term consuming approach is abandoned.

The second - Sensible eating habits and advices, introduction to right carbs: wholegrains and most of the fruits, some indulgences become allowed. The phase last until weight loss goal is achieved. The recipes of meals provided by the author are very good. For dieters who suffer from lack of time Pre-packaged South Beach food are available.

The third - "The Maintenance" phase. The diet plan becomes more like lifestyle instead of diet plan when the dieter continues to take good consuming choices.


The South Beach diet pros and cons question is vividly debated by both sustainers and detractors. There are solid arguments in both directions. And here are some:



South Beach Diet Pros

  • South Beach is a healthy diet (the diet was originally designed for preventing and reversing heart disease, and weight loss is the very pleasing side-effect):
    • It recommends prevalent consumption of foods containing heart-healthy unsaturated fats (mono and polisaturated ones) in the detriment of the saturated fats and trans fats.

    • It encourages complex carbs consumption and banns simple carbs, thus helping the regulation of the insulin level and the body response to food.

    • Also, it is based on eating low GI foods which discourage the consumption of junk-food (white bread, sugary cereals and sweets).

    • It is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein, and it doesn't omit any major food groups (during phase 2, 3).

  • Cravings disappear due to the restriction of refined or highly processed carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies, which are quickly digested and leave you feeling hungrier faster. Lean protein and healthy fat are more filling.

  • Weight loss is fast. During the South Beach diet phase 1 you can lose up to 13 pounds. In a comparative study of South Beach Diet and American Heart Association Diet the results were in favor of the South Beach Diet. Thus, dieters on South Beach experienced a spectacular weight loss, a decrease in waist to hip ratio, a dramatic decrease in triglycerides, and their good to bad cholesterol ratio improved more than the AHA group.

  • It's easy to follow. It does not imply counting calories, tracking points, or measuring your portions. It is not too limiting, all food groups are allowed (in Phases 2 and 3). The diet is fairly balanced after the initial strict phase. It also permits occasional indulgence plus the food is delicious!

  • You won't get hungry. Dieters are encouraged to eat regular portion sizes and healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.



South Beach Diet Cons

  • Insufficiency of scientific data on the South Beach diet � there is only one study that Dr. Agatston conducted with some of his own patients, but it was not a long-term study and the patient-sample was not very large. Dieters should be monitored long term, as high protein intake makes the kidneys work harder and strip the body of calcium.

  • Phase 1 is the most restrictive and has some inconveniences:
    • Ketosis might occur due to the lack of carbs resulting in fat burn, and thus its effects of weakness, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, dizziness, glucose body depletion, dehydration.

    • The fruit lack results in loss of vitamins and minerals.

    • Eliminating all carbohydrate-rich foods during this phase will also cut out some other good sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. (e.g. wholegrain breads and cereals are rich in fibre, B vitamins and iron, and milk is an excellent source of calcium and zinc).

  • The rapid weight loss is not recommendable. Some nutrition experts say that it is safer to lose no more than 2lb a week for good health.

  • South Beach diet seems to be expensive: protein is more expensive than carbs.

  • The recipes are very complex and time-demanding.

  • For those that are accustomed to carb-rich diets the South Beach diet is very demanding. It requires a great deal of willpower. There is the danger of lapsing back into the old eating habits.

  • It was said that the beneficial effects on blood lipids and insulin resistance are due to the weight loss, not to the change in caloric composition.

  • There is the risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake (that is why supplements are recommended), as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalities overall. South Beach uses the glycemic index to make food choices, which can be inaccurate. The GI is variable with: the way of cooking, ripeness, particle size and many other factors. It is also established for specific foods eaten alone.

  • The absence of any significant mention of exercise.

  • The lack of options for people who don't like or can't eat dairy products. (many snacks are dairy-based, yet the diet bans soy in the first two weeks).

To summarize it all, The South Beach Diet is quite a good and safe diet plan which thought 3 phases prepare the dieter to a healthy lifestyle and the eating habits changes. After this diet plan the dieter needs to motivate himself to adhere to knowledge about good and bad food and continue to make good choices for better long term weight maintenance.

Valuable information got during The South Beach Diet is something that should stay with the dieter through the years if he wants keep shaded weight from returning.


Read more about The South Beach Diet ...

The South Beach Diet - good or bad?







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