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South Beach Diet

The South Beach diet is lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats and protein.  It does not eliminate all carbs but encourages low glycemic index carbs as well as lean proteins and unsaturated fats and divides carbs and fats into ’good’ and ‘bad’ groups.  High glycemic index carbs can lead to weight gain and possibly diabetes.  The South Beach diet consists of three phases.  The first phase is very restrictive but only lasts for two weeks and helps you to reduce the cravings.  The second phase is less restrictive and this phase lasts until you reach your goal weight.  The third phase is even less restrictive.  You begin this phase once you have reached your goal weight and it will help you to maintain a healthy weight and life style.

PROS

Weight loss:  Studies have shown that those following the South Beach diet do lose weight.  They lose weight quite rapidly in the first two weeks while in Stage 1 but continue to lose weight steadily while in Stage 2.  While this may seem slow it is considered a very healthy way to diet.

Reduced risk of heart disease:  The South Beach diet was developed by cardiologist Dr Artur Agatston.  Unhappy with many of the fad diets his patients were following, Dr Agatston developed the South Beach diet to not only help people lose weight but also reduce their risk of heart disease.

No food is not allowed:  One you have reached your goal weight and are in stage 3 you are allowed all foods and can have ‘treats’ as long as you do not over-indulge in some foods.

It is easy to maintain:  The worry with many diets is that once you stop you will put on the weight you lost.  The South Beach diet is easy to maintain in the long run, especially in stage 3 and will help you maintain a healthy weight.  Many who follow the diet say that they have been able to keep the weight off after reaching their goal weight.

Many South Beach diet recipes are available:  There is a huge amount of South Beach diet recipes as well as meal plans available online.

You won’t go hungry:  No part of the South Beach diet requires you to go hungry and allows snacking.  It is more about what you eat than how much you eat.

CONS

It is very restrictive in the first phase:  Some may struggle with the South Beach diet to begin with.  The first phase is the most restrictive which may be difficult.  However, it is only for two weeks and more foods can be introduced in phase 2.

Allows fats that are high in omega-6:  The South Beach diet does allow fats that are high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as soybean oil and sunflower oil.  Too much omega-6 can lead to inflammation and other health problems.

The diet allows processed foods:   The South Beach diet does allow some processed foods but these do have other health risks attached to them.  To remain healthy, it would be best to choose the non-processed options in these cases.  While the diet does allow processed food, it does encourage eating mainly unprocessed food.

CONCLUSION: The South Beach diet is low in carbs and encourages eating mainly unprocessed foods, liberal amounts of vegetables and healthy, high-fibre carb sources.  The diet has been proven to promote weight loss as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.  It is not a diet to be used if you want to lose weight in a hurry but it is sustainable and helps one maintain a healthy weight.