Dr. Arthur Agatston created the South Beach Diet in 2003, and many called the diet “a low modified carb diet.” The diets overall message, is that they will teach you how to eliminate the “bad carbs” from your diet all together. The book is based off the notion that the overall balance of good carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats consisting diet will be sustainable and easy to follow long term. Foods with higher glycemic index levels are avoided as they can spike your blood sugar, and boost your appetite, which results in over eating.
There are three different phases to the South Beach Diet:
- Phase 1: This is a two-week phase that aims to completely cut out all refined sugars and starches from your diet. You are not allowed to drink any fruit juice or alcohol during this period either, as it is truly meant to be a detox phase. The focus is placed on consuming healthy fats, oils, and proteins.While no grains, fruits, or refined sugars are eaten, there are carbs in vegetables, which you can eat plentifully, and in dairy products which also are encouraged during phase 1.
- Phase 2: This is a long-term weight loss phase that is meant to get you to reach your weight loss goal. You are allowed to slowly add in foods that were prohibited in phase 1 like starches and pastas (in moderation). You can stay in this phase until you reach your weight loss goals.
- Phase 3: Once you have reached your weight loss goals, you can eat most foods in moderation. There are no restrictions in this final phase, because it is meant to be implemented for a lifetime. The idea is that in this phase you will have learned to eat healthier foods, and indulge in other foods only in moderation.
Do Dieters Lose Weight?
The book states that when following the South Beach Diet you can lose 8-13 pounds in two weeks! Holy cow, this is a bold statement, and I do not know if I can believe them whole-heartedly or not. Normally, when this much weight is lost so rapidly, it can mean you are losing large amounts of water weight or lean tissue that is vital to your health. Many times when large amounts of weight come off, it is not from fat but rather from water and muscle mass. Overall there was a mix of reviews saying the program worked for them, and then some that did not notice any changes in their weight at all.
Is It Easy To Follow?
Overall this diet demands a lifestyle change, and a complete diet change in the first few weeks. With the total elimination of carbohydrates you can leave your body feeling drained from ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body does not have enough energy coming in from sugar and glucose storage, so it starts to take from your fat storage. The side effects from this are nausea, dizziness, headaches, mental fog, and irritability.
Like any other diet book, it will not guarantee a magical weight loss reaction the minute you start reading, rather it is a guide to help educate you. Many people said in their reviews that the book was okay, and the implementation overall was harder than it seems. There are recipes that are given in the book, which many people found helpful and used it long term. Other people said that the book was okay, but the recipes were hard to stomach initially. It is all about finding the right balance that works for you, as one book or program may not be the end to all your diet and weight loss needs.
South Beach Diet social media platforms have been well established by their followers, and the interface to their website is user friendly. When calling into their support line I was routed all around, as this company is rather large and corporate. Once getting on the line with a support agent, I asked simple questions which were answered. The diet does not make you count calories, or join counseling sessions, and it educates you on healthy eating choices for life. They also offer you their South Beach brand snacks, which I do not personally care for and only see it as a marketing strategy for them. Overall, it does not seem like a complete waste of time investment, but there will be a lot of discipline and commitment involved when taking the time to change your diet all together.
So What Really Works?*
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*Individual results will vary.