South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet was developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon. The diet was originally designed for Dr. Agatston's patients in order to reduce heart disease, but eventually it was popularised as a diet for weight loss.

South Beach Diet & Atkins Diet

The South Beach Diet is designed very similar to the Atkins Diet but also has some basic distinctions. Both of the diets are based on a high protein, low carbohydrate regimen. Unlike Atkins, however, the South Beach Diet is more concerned with the risk of heart disease from the overeating of saturated fat that can come with high-protein meals. As a result, the South Beach Diet has a limit on its use of saturated fats and recommends foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. The Atkins Diet instead recommends eating a variety of fats, from saturated to unsaturated. Another distinction is that the Atkins Diet counts every gram of carbohydrates eaten, while the South Beach Diet does not count non-starchy vegetables in its carbohydrate count. Other carbohydrates are counted by size and the number of portions.

Although the diet is often lumped together with other low-carbohydrate diets, Dr. Agatson rejects this label. He defends his diet in saying, "It is my purpose to teach neither low-fat nor low-carb. I want you to learn to choose the right fats and the right carbs."

South Beach Diet Phases

The South Beach Diet is divided into different phases. The first two phases of the diet eliminate high carbohydrate sources by restricting refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white potatoes, and white rice) is favour of vegetables, beans and whole grains. The philosophy of the diet states that frequent long-term consumption of high carbohydrate foods leads to spikes in blood sugar, causing insulin resistance and cycles of hunger.

The first phase of the diet is meant to stop the hunger-cycling.  This phase lasts two weeks and restricts the most food. The second phase is designed for weight loss and the dieter may stay on it as long as they like. The third phase is life-long maintenance of weight and healthful eating. There are no restrictions of foods during this phase, it is simply up to the dieter to follow the principles of the diet. The South Beach Diet eliminates trans fats and discourages saturated fats in favour of lean meats.