South Beach Diet: General Information

Diet Author The author of the South Beach Diet is Dr. Arthur Agatston. Though his medical career was initially focused on cardiology, namely noninvasive cardiac imaging, Dr. Agatston has always been interested in the methods to prevent the variety of heart diseases caused by obesity. He suggested that a proper diet could be beneficial for cardiovascular system, but among the existing diets the doctor could not find the one, which would meet all the requirements and become an effective tool in treating overweight or obese patients with heart diseases. To solve this dilemma, Dr. Agatston designed his own eating plan and called it the South Beach Diet.

Diet Categorization Either to underline all the uniqueness of the South Beach Diet or to separate it from the other popular but highly controversial diets, Dr. Arthur Agatson starts his book with the statement that the South Beach Diet is neither a low carb, nor low fat eating plan. In general, it is the second phase of the diet that is a balanced eating program, introducing all the necessary food groups into the daily ration. However, the initial phase of the South Beach has many signs of a typical low carbohydrate diet.

Diet History South Beach Diet appeared in 2003, when the book “The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss” was published by Rodale Inc. The first book, which became the #1 New York Times bestseller, was followed by the South Beach Diet Cookbook and the South Beach Good Fats/Good Carbs Guide (2004).

Diet motto The key idea of the South Beach Diet is to help people lose weight by modifying their eating habits and menu. It is achieved mainly by teaching people how to differentiate good fats and bad fats, good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Glycemic index plays the role of a judge here: foods with high GI are bad, and foods with low GI are good and, consequently, the latter are welcomed by the South Beach Diet.

The South Beach aims rather at helping a dieter understand WHAT he eats and HOW this food affects his body, than at filling the life of a dieter with multiple restrictions on food options and eating regimen or at making him eat with a calculator in his hand to count all the calories he consumes.

It is interesting to note that the South Beach is not a diet, which defines exercising as the key condition or at least a component of the successful weight loss. So, people, preferring not to go to the gym and still lose weight, may find many interesting postulates in the book.

Diet Duration There are three stages within the South Beach Diet program. The first phase lasts for 14 days. It is the time of the strictest limitations and bans on certain food types (any bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, fruits, sugar and alcohol). It is during the first phase when weight loss process is the most rapid and the internal changes in the human body are the most drastic.

The next phase of the South Beach Diet is more loyal to the majority of previously banned foods. A dieter is encouraged to introduce back into his daily menu some of the foods, which have been a taboo in the first phase. However, bad carbs and fats are still off-limits. The duration of this stage is not defined by the diet. It is recommended to stay in the second phase until one reaches his desired weight.

The final phase of the program is more a life style then a diet. When a dieter completes two previous stages successfully, the author recommends “to forget about the South Beach Diet,” but to keep in mind its few basic rules.

What improvements are declared by the diet? There are three major improvements one can expect from following the South Beach Diet. The first one is visible weight loss. The diet ensures 8-13 pounds of weight loss during the first 2 weeks of dieting and 1-2 pounds per week during the next stage of the program till the target weight is achieved.

The second result of the dieting is its positive influence on the way body responds to food. The diet is said to decrease the severity of physical cravings for food, which make people eat more then they actually require and which result in storing the excessive body fat.

Finally, since the South Beach Diet is developed by a cardiologist, it is designed to be beneficial for the health of cardiovascular system. Dr. Agatston says that his diet plan improves blood chemistry, normalizes levels of insulin and sugar, and reduces the risk of heart diseases development. Though the third change is invisible for a dieter, it is of the key importance for the maintenance of the human health and vitality for years.


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