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The South Beach Diet

“The South Beach Diet is not low carb,” claims the author, Dr. Agatson, in the very first sentence of his book. But, in reality the South Beach diet is just a modified Atkins diet with a few improvements. From any perspective, it’s definitely low carb, which, right from the get-go, reflects negatively on all the rest of Agatson’s claims.

Sure, he recommends eating more low glycemic carbohydrates and less saturated fat, and that’s very good advice, but his program still adds up to too few carbs and too much fat, which makes it just another low carb/high fat diet. And, like the Atkins diet, people lose some weight in the beginning because they are essentially eating fewer calories - no matter how it’s explained.

And, “explained” it is. Like all fad diet books, mixed in with some “science” and personal anecdotes, Agatson tells people what they want to hear – “lose weight fast”, “never go hungry”, “13 pounds in two weeks” and the ultimate promise that “most of the weight will come off your midsection.” Wow! That would be great, if it wasn’t total nonsense!

But Agatson is telling the truth when he says the South Beach Diet is “not low fat.” It’s actually very high fat. In the beginning induction phase, the diet is as much as 70% fat, which is two or three times what’s recommended for a healthy lifestyle. In the maintenance phase, the average is about 50%, but the dinner menus are still as high as 70%.

Bottom line, can you eat healthy on the South Beach diet? It’s possible. But you’d need to skip the induction period (which causes too much water weight loss), increase the low gycemic carbohydrates and decrease the overall fat by at least half. Once you make all these changes, you would have been better off to just start with a healthy low glycemic, moderate good quality fat, low calorie diet in the first place.

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