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Is the South Beach Diet for You?

Dr. Arthur Agatson invented the South Beach Diet for his cardiac patients in Miami, Florida. The basis behind the South Beach Diet is to avoid bad carbs and bad fats, while still eating good carbs and good fats. Consumption of bad carbs will create insulin resistance syndrome. This impairs the insulin’s natural ability to process fat and sugar. Saturated and trans fat are both considered to be “bad” fats. Limiting the bad fats helps prevent cardiovascular disease. The good carbs are the ones that are high in fiber and have a lower glycemic index. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are “good” fats.

The South Beach Diet has three phases. Phase I lasts two weeks. In this phase, you must avoid high or moderately high glycemic carbohydrates. This includes dairy, sugar, candy, bread, potatoes, fruit, cereals, and grain. By avoiding these the first two weeks, you are eliminating the insulin resistance. Most people report losing between 8 and 13 pounds during phase I. You can eat normal helpings of meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and nuts in your three meals a day, but you cannot have alcohol. You should have small snacks between each meal.

Phase II of the South Beach Diet allows you to add whole grain foods, fruits, and dairy products. But, you will probably be consuming these in much smaller amounts that you did before you began the diet. Sweet potatoes may be added and you may also have red wine.

Once you have obtained the weight you would like to sustain, you go into Phase III. This is your maintenance phase. You can now have three servings of whole grain and three servings of fruit each day.

The South Beach Diet differs from other diets in that you don’t have to count calories or limit your servings. You are encouraged to simply eat until you are satisfied.

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