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The South Beach Diet

What it is: While not drastically different than the Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet is often considered the more heart-healthy weight-loss plan, created by cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Cardiac Prevention Center in Miami Beach.  After debuting the plan in his book, “The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss” it became a pop culture phenomenon across America.

How it works: Dr. Agatston describes his diet as “not exactly a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet.”  Instead, the South Beach Diet prohibits unhealthy fats but strongly endorses healthy ones. As for carbs, South Beach Dieters are encouraged to eat only low-sugar carbs—or those with a low glycemic index (meaning they cause your blood-sugar levels to fall less quickly).  The diet plan begins with a more intense beginning phase, followed by a long-term meal goal.

What you do: The three phases of the South Beach Diet include-

·         The 14-day intro period outlawing bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goodies, and fruit.  And don’t even think about a drink – no beer, wine, or alcohol of any sorts! You may allot yourself two servings of dairy a day – but stick to low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, or buttermilk.

·         The “re-introduction of carbs” phase begins next.  Pick and chose, but do so gradually and limit yourself to “just a little,” from fruits, veggies like carrots, tomatoes, and onions, and pasta here and there.

·         Once you hit your target weight, begin the last phase – the phase for life! Eat smart, eat normal-sized portions, and know your limit.

·         And always remember to snack away!  Snacking is an important part of this diet plan. Have a little bit of a healthy snack to quell hunger and prevent yourself from having larger meals.

Benefits:  Fortunately for followers of the South Beach Diet, many dieticians feel that the plan meets much of the criteria for a truly, healthy diet by not leaving out any major food groups and promoting vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein.  Also, when followed correctly, the South Beach Diet leaves those who attempt it with a well-balanced, healthy meal plan for life.

The Downside: During the first phase of the diet, much of the pounds lost come from water weight.  By losing this much water from your body, you run the risk of throwing your electrolyte levels off-balance.  Work closely with a doctor or dietitian for proper health during your weight loss plan.

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