Morgan is a doctoral candidate in the field of clinical nutrition and nutritional neuroscience, having received her bachelors degree from Central Washington University.
There are three macronutrients from which we derive Calories in our diets: Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrate. The objective of the South Beach Diet is to learn to moderate your intake of these three macronutrients, beginning with a restrictive phase where foods are more limited, and then progressing to phases 2 and then 3, wherein foods are added back to the diet, helping you to identify the exact amount of each nutrient they should consume to maintain your new, lighter weight. The first stage, referred to as Phase 1 on the South Beach plan, focuses on lean proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables that are low in carbohydrate content, prohibiting fruit and fruit juices, alcohol, and grains. As you move to Phase 2, these foods are allowed in small, appropriate portions. Phase 3 is a maintenance phase, the place where you can maintain your new weight, following the principles that you’ve learned during the first two phases.
The South Beach Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist, as a heart-healthy alternative to low-fat diets that his overweight clients had difficulty complying with. Agatston found that instead of diets that reduced fat intake, a diet that taught his clients to choose healthy fats and moderate carbohydrate consumption was far more effective.
Thanks to the South Beach emphasis on non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins, dieters will likely be physically satiated by this diet, thwarting diet-busting hunger. Dieters following the South Beach plan will likely find long-term success if they are able to overcome emotional challenges that accompany lifestyle change; the South Beach website offers a member support section and optional consultations with South Beach nutritionist for dieters in need of motivational support.
The South Beach Diet is fairly low-cost. The only cost to dieters is the South Beach Diet book and groceries. A personalized, optional online program is also available at a cost of $4 per week. Multiple free online resources are also available.
The South Beach Diet is not very time-intensive; the only time spent involves reading South Beach material and preparing meals.
The South Beach Diet is a very safe and healthy diet overall. None of the methods promoted by the South Beach Diet are problematic, and the nutritional quality of the South Beach diet is very high. However, dieters with pre-existing health conditions should always discuss dietary changes with their doctors.
The South Beach diet only loses points in one area- Calorie counting. The majority of dieters require a total Calorie cap in order to successfully lose and maintain weight; because the South Beach diet does not require Calorie counting, lasting weight loss is not a guarantee. However, followers can overcome this by counting Calories while they adhere to the dietary composition rules of the South Beach plan.
Benefits: The South Beach diet increases carbohydrate awareness and can promote weight loss and lower cholesterol.
Downsides: Dieters may not lose weight as effectively as they would if calorie-counting were a component of the South Beach plan.
The Bottom Line: The South Beach diet provides exceptional nutritional quality, but would be made more effective by employing Calorie counting, which would ensure lasting weight loss while improving cardiovascular health.