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South Beach Diet Pros and Cons – Make Your Choice Wisely

Posted Mar 24 2010 10:55pm
Cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietitian Marie Almon devised a heart healthy diet called the South Beach Diet. The idea behind the program was to reverse the increase in heart problems that occurred in the ’80’s when the American Heart Association started promoting a low fat diet. The South Beach Diet grew in popularity in the past few decades due to its reputation of being a highly effective weight loss program.

This simple to follow diet plan simply endorses replacing “bad carbohydrates” and “bad fats” with “good carbohydrates” and “good fats”. Below is a list of examples:

1. Replaced foods that contain heavily refined sugar with relatively unprocessed foods such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

2. Don’t eat foods with high levels of saturated fats since they can raise your LDL cholesterol levels. Instead eat more foods rich in unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids since they can help increase your HDL cholesterol levels.

The South Beach Diet isn’t set up in such a manner that you have to make sweeping changes in your daily routine all at once. It’s divided into 3 phases: the first two phases are your ‘learning’ phases when you will become comfortable with the plan and lose weight in the process, and the last phase is the maintenance phase where you will learn to apply the basics to your everyday life thus ensuring your lifelong weight loss success.


1. Prevent heart disease; remember that weight loss is only the nice “side effect”.

2. The South Beach Diet food list will help you avoid eating too many low saturated and trans fats, which is recommended by doctors, nutritionists and other experts in order to keep your heart healthy.

3. Using this diet plan will help you lose weight fast, sometimes as much as 13 lbs. during the first phase alone.

4. The plan is based on the Glycemic Index (GI) so it will teach you to restrict the amount of junk food you eat.

5. With the wide range of food choices available, no food group is off limits, it’s a more realistic diet plan that can easily be followed for a lifetime.

6. Simple plan that doesn’t include calorie counting or portion control. Simply follow the food list that comes with the program.

7. Since you will be eating regular portion sized meals and two snacks you don’t have to worry about hunger becoming a problem.


1. The 1st phase is very strict, limiting the consumption of all carbohydrates completely. Some people believe that the weight loss gained during the phase is all water loss, not fat loss; this will cause you to gain weight again after you resume your carbohydrates intake.

2. The strict first phase, where you are very limited in what you eat could lead to side effects ranging from fatigue and weakness to dehydration and lack of vitamin and mineral intake.

3. Some in the medical community are skeptical of using the Glycemic Index as a factor in deciding which foods you should eat and which you should avoid since many foods that are high on the GI have a lot of nutritional benefits.

4. The plan only mentions exercise in passing and doesn’t really emphasize the importance of a steady exercise routine in maintaining weight and long term health benefits.

5. The plan has a very high protein intake which will put stress on the kidneys and force them to work harder.

6. The diet plan is fairly expensive, especially at first, since buying high protein foods is more expensive than buying high carbohydrate foods.

7. Vegetarians are not supported by this plan since soy, a common meat substitutes, can’t be consumed during the first two weeks. Most of the snacks in the plan are based on dairy product so this makes it even more difficult.

8. The first two stages of the program offer a very limited foods list to follow which could quickly lead to boredom and make it difficult to stick with the diet plan.

9. Most of the recipes are time consuming and complicated in preparation.

South Beach Diet is just another alternative for you to lose weight. After you read the pros and cons you should be able to judge whether it can fulfill your need or not. The main issues I want to pinpoint here are this diet offer lifetime maintenance, which is good; but ignore the importance of exercise in a healthy diet, which is not good.

Selecting a diet that suit you is not an easy task; before you decide anything visit Diets That Work for a useful information regarding selecting a diet wisely and healthy diet to found out criteria that should be met by a good diet by Stefan Vincent. Hopefully these two guides will make your task a lot easier

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