Tag Archive for 'South Beach diet'

Just when you think you know how to lose weight.


Whoever finds a single fool proof way to lose weight is guaranteed to become the richest person on earth. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, a one-size-fits-all super diet will probably never be discovered. If it is not enough that our bodies are so different, there are many, many other factors at play including cultural differences, lifestyle differences, socio-economic differences and taste preferences. The list of factors that can impact on weight loss success just goes on and on.

It’s really no wonder then that we are bombarded with conflicting and confusing scientific reports. It is very difficult to conduct an experiment that considers all of these variables. As a result, we are left with many reputable and conflicting scientific reports, each claiming that yet another dietary approach is the be-all and end-all for losing weight. Whether it is the Atkins or the Mediterranean Diet, the Low Fat or Low GI diet, or even Weight Watchers; the list is never-ending. It is just too easy to become a bit cynical after a while. How refreshing then, to come across a scientific study that found that most well balanced popular diets work well, irrespective of whether it is high in protein, low in fat, low in carbohydrates or any combination of these!

This study, called the “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” was published on February 26, 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Its aim was to try and put an end to the age-old debate around the question “Which type of diet is most effective for weight loss”. The research team was of the opinion that many of the conflicting scientific reports on the weight loss topic published previously were based on populations too small to be representative, and that many studies did not track the progress of participants for a long enough period to provide sufficient information for assessment.
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Review of the South Beach Diet

The South Beach diet was developed by a practicing cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston. Dr Agatston did not initially set out to develop a weight-loss plan. He simply got frustrated when his patients, when following the standard, low-fat American Heart Association diet, failed to lose weight or improve their blood chemistry. He then developed a new diet specifically for his patients, which later became the basis for The South Beach Diet, an international best seller. The South Beach Diet was first published in April 2003 and has been on the New York Times best seller list for more than 96 consecutive weeks, with more than 8.5 million copies in print. It was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for 38 weeks.

The diet is formulated on the premise that many of us are addicted to carbohydrate foods. Many experts commented that the South Beach diet is really just a revised version of the Atkins Diet. Both of these diets kick off with a first stage designed to get rid of addiction to high levels of carbohydrate consumption. The South Beach diet varies from Atkins in that it consists of three instead of four phases. While the first and last phases of both diets are very similar, the middle two phases of the Atkins Diet has been replaced by a single stage in the South Beach Diet. As result of this difference the typical rate at which South Beach followers lose weight is lower than that of Atkins followers, but fans claim that the South Beach diet is easier to stick to since it offers greater variety at an earlier stage in the diet.

The South Beach Diet is introduced as a balanced weight-loss and maintenance plan that encourages people to eat a variety of foods, such as lean sources of protein, reduced fat cheeses and dairy products, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and good fats like olive and canola oil.  Snacking is encouraged along with approved sweet treats and desserts on a daily basis. The glycemic index (is a ranking system for carbohydrates based on their effect on blood sugar) plays a critical role in the diet, as it forms the basis for Agatston’s advice on how to choose the best carbohydrates to accompany a meal. The concept of the glycemic index (considered with the actual glycemic load) is generally accepted as a crucial component of healthy diets nowadays.
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