The South Beach Diet: A Doctor's Plan for Fast and Lasting Weight Loss Paperback – 7 Apr 2003
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The verdict is in: those simple carbohydrates we've been living on are killing us. For good health, we've got to get our blood sugar under control and stop the incessant cravings. Or so says Dr Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet. The first half of the book details the science behind the diet. Most of the explanations revolve around why things you thought were healthy--orange juice, wholemeal bread, carrots--are actually evil. To avoid blood sugar surges, Agatston created a modified carbohydrate plan, recommending plenty of high-fibre food, lean protein and healthy fat and reducing bread, rice, pasta and fruit. Major differences from other diets include a lack of concern over portion size and a serious indifference to exercise. Feeling full while on a diet is a beautiful thing, but it seems odd that a cardiologist buries his exercise recommendations in a solitary sentence.
The last half of the book covers his three-stage plan; daily diets are mixed with recipes, some of which are from South Beach restaurant chefs. The most restrictive period lasts just two weeks, enough time to stabilise your urges and lose a few pounds; stage two adds fruits and a handful of other carbs, while stage three is meant to last the remainder of your life, with occasional lapses for white bread or birthday cake.
While the diet is sound, the book could be better organised. The first half mixes scientific study with anecdote in a seemingly random way, while the mix of meal plans and recipes can be confusing. Still, the recipes are varied and tasty and you'll never feel deprived, unless you currently happen to live by bread alone. --Jill Lightner
A diet proven to be good for your figure, your heart and your healthSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The best thing about this diet is that it's healthy. It was designed to lower cholesterol and other nasties in your blood, not to lose weight. But it does both.
It is a really refreshing look at diets and I think that it won't be a passing fad but the diet of the future. Lets face it, existing diets aren't working for the population as a whole - people are getting fatter. As he explains, some fat is good for you - like olive oil etc whereas processed carbs don't satisfy your hunger. The result is that restricting fat whilst consuming carbs isn't an easy way to lose weight. So here your aloud good fats and have to exclude bad carbs. Sounds pretty balanced to me.
For the first 2 weeks though you have to severely restrict your carb intake: no bread, biscuits, alcohol, fruit, not even cereal. Despite what he says this IS a low-carb time! As the book promised, I didn't really feel hungry during this phase but I did REALLY miss my carbohydrates. It's also difficult to keep up if you are away from home. Breakfasts were incredibly dull - bacon and eggs, quiche, omelette....all of which I like but started to get really sick of every morning. I even managed to go off lean steak in the evening because I was eating it so frequently. I lasted 10 days on this phase as I couldn't face a further weekend. If you start the diet, I'd recommend starting it before a weekend so that you come off it (2 weeks later) before a weekend and the tricky weekend days don't coincide with the tricky end of phase 1 days.
Also, buy yourself a good book as you'll have plenty of time sitting on the toilet to read it (things went a lot slower without my All Bran...)
Although I found the first phase frustrating, it worked. And the weight has stayed off.
In general I liked the set-up of the book giving the background to the diet, the "rules" (of which there are few) and some pretty convincing background to the health benefits which contribute to the weight loss you will experience. He's right when he says that most low-fat processed foods have been pumped up with sugar or other carbs - check the labels for yourself, I did.
After selling 5 million copies though you think he would have proof read the recipes by now, as there are some annoying contradictions: the text says to enjoy full fat mayo, caffeinated coffee but not a drop of alcohol in phase 1, whilst the recipes and meal plans include low fat mayo, de-caffeinated coffee, and some alcohol.
On the whole, the South Beach diet isn't an extreme "low-fat, high-carb" of most diets or the other extreme "no-carb high-fat" diet of Atkins but a sensible balance between the two. If you want to improve your blood chemistry, lose some weight, improve your cardiac health and find out how some accepted nutritional advice isn't so smart, try the South Beach diet. It has this layman convinced.
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Most recent customer reviews
Tried Atkins ..this is bit Atkins with lo fat
Would definitely recommend.
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