Through his research, Dr. Agatston discovered a condition commonly called insulin resistance, which is when a normal amount of the hormone insulin is no longer able to help the body   process fuel, fats and sugars. The body, in turn, begins to store more fat than it should, especially around the midsection. He also found that most of the excess weight comes from eating carbohydrates from highly processed baked goods, breads, snacks and other convenient favorites. He found that by decreasing the consumption of these “bad carbs,” the insulin resistance begins clearing up on its own.

Dr. Agatston devised a simple eating plan that allows the consumption of good carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and limits the bad carbohydrates (the highly processed foods stripped of fiber). Whole grain breads and cereals, and whole grain pastas are permitted, while white flour and pasta are unacceptable. He observed that most people have a difficult time maintaining a low-fat diet over time, so The South Beach Diet permits lean beef, pork and lamb. He also recommends turkey, chicken and fish, along with nuts, low-fat cheeses and yogurt. He claims that oils, such as olive, peanut and canola can actually reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and these are also allowed on his diet plan.

The South Beach Diet allows the dieter to bend or break the rules, as long as they are aware of the damage they’ve done, and how to reverse it. The diet plan has three stages, which   allows the dieter to move easily from one stage to another. Dr. Agatston’s goal is to teach people to choose the right fats and the right carbs, and to learn to enjoy foods that taste good, satisfy their appetites without creating hunger hours later. His goal is for people to adopt his diet and eventually develop their own eating plans that allow short-term weight loss, long-term weight management and optimal health. In following the plan, they can also control their blood chemistry and metabolism through their food choices.

The three phases of The South Beach Diet:

Phase 1: All moderate-to-high glycemic carbohydrates are  eliminated from the diet for two weeks. Suggested meals during this time include lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, nuts and olive oil. Coffee and tea are also allowed. Followers are told to avoid are bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, fruit, milk, sweets, cake, biscuits, ice cream, sugar and alcohol. A weight loss of 7 lbs to 13 lbs can be expected by the end of the first stage.

Sample Menu Plan for Phase 1:

Breakfast

2 eggs scrambled with fresh herbs and mushrooms and 2 strips of grilled lean bacon. Plus a small glass of tomato juice and a decaf coffee or tea.

Morning Snack

1 small chunk reduced-fat Cheddar cheese.

Lunch

Chicken Caesar salad (no croutons) with 2 tbsp. Caesar dressing.

Afternoon Snack

3 Tbsp. low-fat cottage cheese with 1 tomato and cucumber

Dinner

Grilled salmon with steamed asparagus and a salad made from mixed leaves, cucumber, green pepper, cherry tomatoes and 2 Tbsp. low-sugar dressing.

Dessert

Lemon Ricotta Creme made by mixing 115g/4oz reduced-fat ricotta cheese with a little sweetener and ¼ tsp. each of lemon zest and vanilla extract. Serve chilled.

Phase 2: Moderate to high glycemic foods are slowly introduced back into the diet by adding one slice of whole grain bread, and one piece of fruit per day. Until the target weight is achieved, the Phase 1 foods are recommended, and fruits, wholegrain breads, cereals, pasta, and low-fat milk are reintroduced into the diet. Wine is also allowed. Phase 2 of the diet may last for a year or more, depending on the amount of weight needed to lose. This phase promises a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.

Sample menu plan for Phase 2:

Breakfast

Bowl of porridge made with 115g/4oz porridge oats mixed with 225ml/8floz skimmed milk, topped with cinnamon and 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts. Plus 15 strawberries and a decaf coffee or tea.

Morning Snack

1 small, fat-free yogurt.

Lunch

1 slice Granary bread topped with 75g/3oz lean roast beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard.

Afternoon Snack

1 apple and 1 triangle of low-fat cheese spread.

Dinner

Chicken and vegetable stir fry made from 2 tsp. rapeseed oil, 50g/20z cooked chicken breast, 75g/30z mixed vegetables, 1 tsp. soy sauce and 75g/30z fresh spinach. Serve with a salad made from mixed leaves, cucumber, green peppers, cherry tomatoes and tossed with a little olive oil and vinegar.

Dessert

1 pear with 1 tbsp. ricotta cheese and a couple of crushed walnuts.

Phase 3: This phase introduces a wide variety of foods but aims at keeping the dieter’s weight steady, and maintaining this program for life. Dieters have more freedom, but are discouraged to return to their previous eating habits.

Sample menu for Phase 3:

Breakfast

1 scrambled egg with 2 strips of grilled lean bacon and 1 slice Granary bread. Plus 1 orange and a decaf coffee or tea.

Lunch

Tuna salad made from 1 small can tuna in brine, romaine lettuce, cucumber, 1 tomato, ½ medium-sized avocado, 3 sticks of celery and 10 radishes. Serve with a dressing made from 4 tsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. lime juice, garlic and pepper.

Dinner

Grilled chicken breast with 6 tbsp. couscous, steamed asparagus and a salad made from romaine lettuce, 7 black olives, a sliver of feta cheese and 2 tbsp. low-sugar dressing.

Dessert

1 pear poached in red wine.

While moving through each phase, there is no limit on portions, and Dr. Agatson recommends dieters eat 3 meals a day, as well as snacks when hungry. “The South Beach Diet” also does not forbid coffee or teas because Dr. Agatston believes they are too difficult to give up and he wants dieters to focus more on their eating habits.

By following this diet plan, Dr. Agatston believes that dieters will lose weight, lower cholesterol, prevent metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) and lose fat around the midsection.

While this diet may appear to be an easy way to lose weight and regain health, it is lacking in several important areas.

This diet may yield some positive short-term results, but in the long run, the dieter might begin to develop deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals because they are not being consumed by a pure means. Most of the food recommended on this program is cooked,  not organic and acid-forming, such as the meats, eggs, coffee and teas that are suggested. It also recommends artificial sweeteners which are laden with toxic chemicals. It doesn’t seem that Dr. Agatston is aware of the importance of eating organic, raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that provide vitamins and minerals, as well as “healthy” fats and oils that he deems important.

This diet may be beneficial at first because the dieter is removing some unhealthy foods from their diet, but it may not provide long-term vibrant health and weight loss people are seeking. Consuming a vegan, raw-food, organic diet will provide more short and long-term results while providing the vital nutrients that are lacking in “The South Beach Diet.” The Hippocrates Health Institute Diet Plan provides the most efficient means to obtain vibrant health and weight loss.

Andrea Nison is an employee of Hippocrates Health Institute and has been living a raw-food, vegan lifestyle for seven years. She is dedicated to helping others understand the importance of diet and nutrition, and also assists her husband in spreading the message of true health.

Vol 28 Issue 4 page 30

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