The South Beach Diet was started by cardiologist Arthur Agatston. The diet emphasizes the consumption of good carbohydrates and good fats. Dr. Agatston developed this diet for his cardiac patients to improve their health based on his studies of dieting research.
The diet is based on the belief that bad carbohydrates and bad fats leads to an increase in cardiovascular disease, and to prevent this, consumption of bad fats and bad carbs are minimized while increasing the consumption of good carbohydrates and good fats.
There are 3 stages to the South Beach Diet:
Stage 1 – this stage lasts 2 weeks and carbohydrate foods such as bread, pastas, rice, sugar, fruits, sweets, are disallowed.
Stage 2 – low glycemic index carbohydrates are re-introduced into the diet slowly in this stage. Foods such as whole grains, and most fruits are slowly added back into the diet. However, carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, potatoes are still not allowed. This stage lasts until you reach your desired weight goal.
Stage 3 – this is the maintenance phase where a wider range of foods are allowed.
The South Beach Diet replaces the bad carbs and bad fats in the diet with good carbohydrates and good fats. According to Agatston, huger is triggered by high glycemic carbohydrates that digests quickly and creates a spike in blood sugar. These includes foods such as heavily refined sugars and grains. These types of foods are eliminated from the South Beach Diet and replaced with relatively unprocessed foods such as vegetables, beans and whole grains.
The South Beach Diet also eliminates trans-fats discourages saturated fats - these are called the "bad fats". These bad fats are replaced with the good fats which includes omega 3 fatty acid and foods high in unsaturated fats. Fatty portions of red meat and poultry are excluded and replaced with other lean meats such as fish.
There have been various studies done on the South Beach Diet. In 2004, Agatston, et al reviewed a 1998-1999 study involving 54 participants over a one year period. Another study in 2005 was done by Kraft Foods involving 69 subjects over a period of 3 months. Both studies found that the subjects following the South Beach Diet had favorable results in terms of weight loss.
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