Slimming on the South Beach...
Invented by the cardiologist Arthur Agatston, the South Beach diet is a three stage diet based on the idea of moving the food intake in the direction of 'good' , and away from 'bad'.
'Bad carbohydrates', such as refined sugar and grain, are replaced by 'good carbohydrates' like pasta and brown rice. Carbohydrate sources are 'good' only if they have a
low glycemic index
The same applies to fats with the 'good fats', like olive oil and omega 3 rich fish oil, replacing the unhealthy trans-fats and saturated fats which make up a big part of the western diet.
How does the South Beach Diet Work?
The South Beach theory proposes that the intake of 'bad' quickly absorbed carbs causes a rapid high in blood sugar levels. The body releases a surge of insulin to cope with this which reduces blood sugar levels, leading to feelings of hunger and a desire for more carbs within a relatively short time.
The reduced blood sugar levels can also make you feel tired and listless and looking for the next 'high'. Hence the craving for cakes chocolate and all the other sweet stuff we're trying to avoid!
Consult your doctor or medical professional before beginning any diet
or exercise plan.
The South Beach diet divides into three stages:
Phase 1 -The Induction Phase
This the stage where you get your body out of the sugar high-low cycle and aim for a more regulated blood sugar level, which in turn leads to a more consistent level of insulin production and the reduction of hunger pangs. This stage gives a high initial weight loss but can be difficult to follow as it bans pretty much all carbohydrates. On the positive side, by the time you finish stage one, you should be free of food cravings and you might have lost almost a stone...
Stage two begins two weeks after you start stage one and relaxes the allowed foods a little. In stage two, you can eat good carbs such as brown or wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, fruit and veg. The secret to success in this stage is to re-introduce the foods you are allowed in moderation - don't go mad and overdo the pasta just because you are allowed some!
Phase 3 - Maintenance Phase
When you have reached your ideal weight and found the right balance of carbs and fats which at you can maintain your desired weight, you are in the maintenance phase.
It's given this name because in common with every other diet, you can't just lose weight and then revert to your previous heating habits without gaining the pounds again - the new slimmer you requires maintenance!
What foods does the South Beach Diet suggest?
A days eating on the South Beach diet might look like this:
Advantages of the South Beach diet
The three stages of the South Beach diet make it easy to follow, although the induction fortnight can require a little willpower as you pretty much cut out the carbs. On the plus side, this can give you significant weight loss in the two week induction phase making it another good option for fast weight loss.
The South Beach diet is also reported to be good at getting rid of the 'spare tyre' or 'beer gut' excess weight around the stomach area.
Difficult for those who enjoy carbs and suggested meals can increase food expenses.
Alcohol is banned during Stage 1 and limited during Stage 2.