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 Weight Control 


Popular Diet Plans

The South Beach Diet TM

The South Beach Diet was developed by renowned cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, MD. He developed an eating plan that would improve the cholesterol and insulin levels of his patients with heart disease. He has found that the plan not only improved the cholesterol and insulin levels in his patients, but it also has helped many people lose weight.

The South Beach Diet emphasizes the use of the right carbohydrates and the right fats. The major emphasis is on staying healthy. It can also help you lose weight. In fact some people lose as much as 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks of entering the program. But, more importantly, it also improves your health.

Not All Carbohydrates Act the Same

Proponents of South Beach Diet say that much of our excess weight comes from the carbohydrates we eat. The main culprits are the highly processed carbohydrates found in baked goods, breads, snacks, soft drinks, and others. These foods had been stripped off their nutrients and fiber as a result of the processing they undergo. They are not the same anymore, definitely not the same wholesome food our ancestors ate.

When you decrease the consumption of simple carbohydrates, studies showed that the insulin resistance starts clearing up. (Insulin resistance, caused by excess weight, is an impairment of insulin's ability to do its job of processing fuel (fats and sugars) properly. The body stores more fat than it should as a result resulting in more weight gain and further insulin resistance.) Weight decreases, and you begin metabolizing carbohydrates properly. The craving for carbs disappears once you cut down on them for 2 weeks. Cutting out processed carbs (or simple carbohydrates) also lowers triglycerides and cholesterol, and hence is good for heart health.

See Also:

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates: What are they and how are they different

Use The Right Fat

To compensate for the overall cut in carbohydrates, the South Beach diet allows ample fats and animal proteins in the meal. Chicken, turkey, and fish are recommended, along with nuts and low-fat cheeses and yogurt.

Dr. Agatston recommends that you avoid eating low-fat prepared foods. He says that the fats in these foods are replaced with carbohydrates. So, they are fattening. Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are low-fat and recommended. They are nutritious and not fattening.

South Beach Diet incorporates plenty of healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils in the diet regimen. They make the food to taste good and palatable. They also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

How Does the Program Work?

The South Beach Diet is divided into three different phases. The first phase lasts for two weeks. Each phase includes specific meal plans and recipes.

Phase 1:

Phase one is the strictest part of The South Beach Diet. For two weeks, you'll be totally eliminating fruit, bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, sugar, alcohol, and baked goods from your diet.

This means you'll be eliminating many foods you may be accustomed to eating now such as a roll with dinner or a banana in the morning. And say good-bye to junk food. However, after the initial two weeks are up, you can beginning adding the excluded foods back into your diet.

The theory behind phase one is that there is a "switch" inside us that affects the way our bodies react to the foods we eat that make us overweight. When the "switch" is on, we have urges to eat foods that actually cause us to store fat. According to Dr. Agatston, at the end of the first two weeks of the diet that "switch" has gone from the on to off position.

Details of Phase 1:

See Also: Food Recommendations: South Beach Diet - Phase 1

Phase 2:

After 14 days of "detox," you can begin adding the foods that were off-limits before. You can begin to add bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, or cereal to your meals... it's up to you. You can add fruit, too, if you wish.

You can pick which of these foods you add back into your diet. While you can't eat them all, nor eat the ones you choose with abandon, they'll no longer be off-limits. The key here is to re-introduce these foods in moderation and to not eat them as often as you were before.

Details of Phase 2:

See Also: Food Recommendations: South Beach Diet - Phase 2

Phase 3:

Phase three is the final and least restrictive phase of The South Beach Diet. Dr. Agatston says as long as you follow some basic rules, you'll continue to manage your weight. In fact, he suggests you'll even forget you ever were on a diet and what you've learned will simply become a way of life.

Details of Phase 3:

Benefits/ Effectiveness

Dr. Agatston says that people lose anywhere from five to 100 pounds on the diet. The major benefit is that it is good at is improving heart patients' lipid profiles.

In clinical trials, people on the South Beach diet see dramatic reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases in HDL (good) cholesterol. And they do so without much calorie counting.

In one 12-week study of 40 overweight people, those who followed the South Beach Diet lost an average of 13.6 lb, almost double the 7.5 lb lost by those on the strict "Step II" American Heart Association (AHA) diet. And the South Beach group showed greater decreases in waist-to-hip ratio (belly fat) and triglycerides, and their good to bad cholesterol ratio improved more. Plus, only one person dropped out compared with five in the AHA group.

According to Cindy Moore, RD, the director of nutrition therapy at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA), "South Beach diet meets several criteria for a health-promoting diet. It appears to be scientifically based. It is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein, and it doesn't omit any major food groups."

See Also:

Low-Glycemic Index Foods (GI less than 55)

Intermediate-Glycemic Index Foods (GI 55-70)

High-Glycemic Index Foods (GI over 70)

Food Recommendations: South Beach Diet - Phase 1

Food Recommendations: South Beach Diet - Phase 2

Pritikin™ Program

Ornish Diet

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