Diet Review: De-constructing the South Beach Diet
Allows calorie control without starvation.
The first two weeks are tough.
The South Beach diet is a great diet for heart health and weight loss, all without starving yourself.
The South Beach diet started with good intentions. Created by cardiologist, Dr Arthur Agatston, and dietician, Marie Almon, in the 80s to prevent heart disease, it became the trend setting diet of the 90s. By the 2000s, magazines sniffed weight loss centre spread potential and the South Beach diet began to lose it’s scientific nature and became the Miami bikini diet.
Today, most people rubbish the South Beach diet by assuming that it says no to carbs and fats. These will mostly be people who haven’t read the book and don’t know what the South Beach diet’s principles are. For some strange reason, successful weight loss stories come from people willing to read, learn, and adopt to support a healthier diet pattern. If that’s you, then the South Beach diet could well be your diet mojo forever.
Disclaimer: What you are about to read has nothing to do with starvation, endless hours of jogging or getting a PhD degree.
The South Beach diet’s guiding principle is - know what’s good for you. In fact a large part of the diet merely tries to educate readers about which foods are healthy. The diet relies heavily on Glycemic Index referencing.
A few South Beach Diet quickies:
- Highly processed foods digest quickly, induce cravings and ultimately lead to unhealthy weight gain.
- Food intake affects blood chemistry. This in turn affects or leads to conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cholesterol.
- Fiber slows digestion, therefore making sure that there are no insulin surges in your blood stream.
- Beer will always be unhealthy. Congratulations, you were paying attention. Beer contains maltose, the most easily digested sugar type, that leads to immediate deposits and cravings. So yeah, unhealthy.
- Whole is better than sliced. Sliced is better than diced. Diced is better than pureed. And everything is better than juice.
- Foods don’t have to be low carbs, but they do have to be the right carbs. Read: Any food with a low Glycemic Index.
- Don’t be stingy with portions. Eat till you’re full, but no over-eating or bingeing.
- Eat three balanced meals in a day, and three functional and balanced snacks
The Three Phases of The South Beach Diet:
Once you’ve achieved your ideal weight in Phase II, you can move on to Phase III. This is how you will eat for the rest of your life. By now, you will be quite aware of which foods are good for you, since you would have studied each food’s index, performance, figured out its accessibility etc. If you find yourself backtracking and breaking diet norms at any point of this stage, you can go right back to Phase I and start all over again. But know this: Every time you cheat, you have to restart from Phase I. Think of Phase I as detention for a fortnight. But be thankful that you’re not expelled straight away.
Of course, the South Beach diet is much more than a blog post. If I were to explain why the diet says - ‘Anything that keeps food intact longer is beneficial for weight loss,’ or ‘Store bought orange juice does more harm than good,’ then this post would never go up. While reading the book, I also realised something that I wasn’t aware of earlier - I have been on the South Beach diet for three years! And I definitely don’t starve myself.