The South Beach Diet was created by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon as a response (more or less) to diets such as the Ornish Diet, the Pritikin Diet, and the Atkins Diet in particular. The diet gained popularity in the early 2000s due to success on the diet by Agatston’s own patients. The thrust of the diet relies on eating foods according to their glycemic index, rather than their overall carb, fat, or protein content, or merely by their calories. Due to this, the diet tends to trend toward a “low-carb” lifestyle, which is why it is very often inaccurately categorized as a low-carb diet. In principle the diet as actually fairly simple; in short, dieters replace “bad carbs,” and “bad fats” with “good” ones. This is accomplished through a three phase diet plan along with the “South Beach Living” product line designed by Kraft Foods to meet the requirements of the diet.
Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet:
Phase one of the South Beach Diet is the shortest of the three phases. The goal of this phase is to quickly break bad habits and bad cravings for bad foods. It lasts only two weeks and is helps dieters eliminate their cravings for sugar and refined starches, e.g. white bread, white rice, and white potatoes (a theme emerges…). This makes the South Beach Diet the best diet, or at least a very ideal diet, for those folks who are diabetic, or pre-diabetic. It is also great for the many of us who like our dessert before our dinner…you know who you are.
Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet:
Phase two of the South Beach Diet is the long term weight loss phase of the plan. You may be thinking, “well I don’t really like sugar or refined starches, so this isn’t for me,” but you may want to look closer. This is the place where you would start, as this phase is designed to help dieters lose weight and in general become healthier, as is the real goal of the diet. This phase really lasts as long as the dieter wants to lose weight, and re-incorporates many of the foods cut out by phase 1, but with healthier choices, and in much healthier servings.
Phase 3 of the South Beach Diet:
This is the lifelong phase of the diet. Like a few of the other diets you’ll read about on Free Dieting Review, the South Beach Diet aims to give members lifelong education so they can maintain a healthy lifestyle forever. This phase begins when the dieter hits his or her goal weight. Dieters maintain the principles learned from phase 1 and phase 2, but is more independent and less structured. This phase allows basically all foods, and allows for occasional indulgences, but of course still advises against overdoing sugars and refined starches.
There aren’t really any foods strictly forbidden by the South Beach Diet, except in phase 1, which makes it an attractive choice for many people seeking a diet. The diet even promotes what they call “strategic snacking” designed to help people from overeating during regular meal times. The diet simply advises against those foods that are very high in the glycemic index, which are typically also high in starch or sugar.
People who want to join the South Beach Diet community can do so for around $5 a week, which will provide you with your own customized meal plan, tools to track your weight, phase, and diet goals as well as 24 hour support. Of course, the most important thing you can expect from the South Beach Diet is results.
“Is the South Beach Diet Right for Me?”:
The South Beach Diet has a lot of success stories, as well as scientific data claiming its validity, but it isn’t perfect, and it isn’t for everyone. Two of the major complaints against this diet is the “low-carb” stigma it has received in large part due to phase 1. This isn’t accurate because it really is a low glycemic index diet, and just espouses good carbs, which most people don’t like to eat (let’s face it, a fresh baguette is hard to beat). The second thing is that for those people who may be a little lacking in the self-discipline area, the South Beach Diet may be a little tough. While they do offer 24 hour support, the structure isn’t as well developed as it is for some other diets.
A final complaint, and a warning, is to beware diets that claim to be doctor created. While the South Beach Diet is a great diet overall, and it was created by a doctor and a nutritionist, beware the doctor stamp of approval. Doctors are not necessarily nutritionists, and there is no substitute for doing your own research and coming to your own conclusions about these diet plans. People trade on the “doctor” stamp because they know it inspires confidence, but please, just remember to consider the source.