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South Beach Diet - Solid and Effective

South Beach Diet - Solid and Effective

As a practicing cardiologist Dr Arthur Agatson was getting more and more frustrated when his patients failed to lose weight. They were faithfully following the standard, low-fat American Heart Association diet on his advice, with no results. He noticed that, not only didn't they lose weight, but their blood chemistry did not improve. The results he was looking for was an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol). Eventually, he developed a new diet specifically for his patients, which later became the basis for his best seller book, The South Beach Diet, which was first published in April 2003. This very successful diet was on the New York Times best seller list for more than 96 consecutive weeks, and in excess of 8.5 million copies have been printed. The book was listed as #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for 38 weeks.

Like many other so-called "low carb" diets, the South Beach Diet assumes that many of us are addicted to carbohydrate-rich foods. The weight loss program's approach is very similar to that of the the Atkins Diet; so much so, that many people believe it is just a revised version of the Atkins Diet. The first phases for both diets are designed to get rid of the body's addition to carbohydrates. Where the Atkins Diet has four phases, South Beach only has three, with a single phase replacing the second and third phases of Atkins. The last phases of both diets, again, are very similar. Since a greater variety of foods are introduced earlier on in the South Beach nutritional plan, dieters tend to lose weight at a slightly slower pace than those on Atkins, but fans find the South Beach program easier to stick to.

This diet focuses heavily on balancing the blood sugar levels; and as such, the Glycemic Index plays a very important role in this diet. The Glycemic Index is a ranking system for carbohydrates based on their effect on blood sugar. Carbohydrates are selected using the Glycemic Index tables; the lower the ranking the better. This also leads us to one of the South Beach Diet's major differences from the Atkins diet. South Beach followers are typically allowed most carbohydrates (preferably only those high in fiber, like multi-grain bread and wild rice), while these same products are regarded as too high in carbohydrates for most Atkins followers, even on the maintenance phase.

Another area where the approaches of Atkins and Agatston differ quite drastically is on the healthy intake of fats. Atkins followers are encouraged to ingest saturated and monounsaturated fats in the first phase, and then gradually reduce the saturated fat content of meals during later phases as more carbohydrates are introduced. Dr. Agatston advocates mostly monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, nuts and oily fish like salmon, throughout his diet. You will not find butter, bacon or anything fried in the South Beach meal plans, whereas they are positively encouraged during the first Atkins phases.

One of the benefits of Agatston's diet has over many of its competitors is the alliance with Kraft Foods. Together they launched a whole range of convenience products, which covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and even snacks. Examples of the convenience food on offer include breakfast cereal, meal replacement bars, frozen pizzas and frozen entrees. Dr Agatston once stated "My goal is to help change the way America eats, and these great-tasting, nutrient-rich products from Kraft are convenient, making it easier for people to follow The South Beach Diet - whether for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss."

As with many of the other popular diet books on the market, it is very difficult to find specific scientific proof supporting this weight loss program. Some aspects of the diet may have been scientifically studied and reviewed, for example the benefits of monounsaturated fats, or the benefits of regulating your blood sugar. In general though, it is safe to say that the South Beach Diet is based on sound principles, and can offer you a well-balanced and sustainable way of life.

Joana Campbell is an expert in the field of weight loss and management. She writes for OptimalBodyWeight.com. For free weight loss tools; including online weight tracking, online food diary, weight loss journal, nutritional analysis, and many more check out MyOBW.

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south beach diet, glycemic index, weight loss, carbohydrate addition, anti-inflammatory diet, fat

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