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The South Beach Diet

Posted Feb 17 2010 10:47am
After my last post, I started thinking about what I was going to do in regards to diet and fat loss, and began looking at the various options
Should I modify Atkins to fit the fat and protein parameters I used before? Should I do Protein Power at Level II? Should I construct my own diet from all that I've learned and embraced so far? Or should I look around at the various other diets available, and try something completely different?

I was actually leaning towards constructing my own diet, but decided to go into the South Beach Diet subgroup over at Low Carb Friends first. I was curious in regards to how that higher-carb diet handles the problem of fats.

I knew from watching a lot of people climb the Atkins' Carb Ladder, and fail, that very few of them knew, or were willing to, cut back on fats in order to make the higher carb level work for them. Most wanted to take their current luxurious lifestyle with them, while dining on higher carb items they'd been denying themselves for months.

Which really isn't possible without getting yourself into trouble. Because when you add carbs, fats have to come down to compensate. Otherwise you'll end up stalling at best, or you'll begin repacking on the pounds.

Now the South Beach Diet Group posters seem to be a friendly, helpful bunch. They've got wonderful testimonials to this way of eating, and many of them have achieved and are maintaining their goal weight. Have been for quite some time now. They're more than willing to explain what has worked for them, how they've personally tweaked the diet for themselves, how they've rectified the conflict of the principles of the diet with the changes and recommendations that don't always fit into those guidelines.

What I've observed there, is that many pre-Atkinites who only reached part of their goal with the Atkins' diet and then stalled for months, have made the switch from high-fat Atkins to lower-fat South Beach, and have gone on to complete their journey. Probably because it teaches them what the Atkins Carb Ladder failed to do.

In fact, results in lowering their fat intake was so dramatic for most of them, that even those who were coming to the table from a stalled low-carb plan were making claims of losing anywhere between 5 and 14 pounds after following South Beach's Phase I diet for 2 weeks.

Needless to say I was intrigued...not because of the dramatic weight losses, but because I couldn't figure out why folks were reacting to Phase I as if they were totally carbed up. Yes I had read all of the food lists posted to that sight, and yes I had read countless posts describing what they were doing and why. But it still didn't make sense to me.

So I went to our local library and checked out the original version of the plan.

I knew from my food lists that it wasn't low-fat as I had initially supposed. That it was higher in fat than the old Weight Watcher exchange program was, even though it was quite a bit lower in fat than typical Atkins. What I wasn't prepared for was Dr. Agatston's attitude and beliefs regarding saturated fats. The black and white thinking that they are completely bad.

I had assumed that the lower fat dairy products and other recommendations was in regards to one's total fat intake. Not their saturated fat intake. However, I happen to be an open-minded soul, and began to realize that my beliefs regarding saturated fats don't come from personal study, but from what others have told me. What others' believe.

So I made a note to change that. Especially since I have read a couple of studies over the years I've been on Atkins, posted now and then on low carb sites, where the research showed a strong connection to saturated fat intake and insulin resistance. Leaving the low-carb community, and especially the poster of the study, completely baffled. It didn't fit into their current paradigm.

Now I'm not saying saturated fats are bad. I'm saying that at the current time, I don't know if an "unlimited" and "over-abundance" of them is good. Because even though the testing I had done on my arteries awhile ago said my arteries and heart were in excellent condition -- thanks to low carb -- I was also eating lower-fat and very low saturated fat for months prior to that testing.

I do understand that polyunsaturated fats have a tendency to become rancid and cause havoc on our bodies. And that saturated fats are less likely to become denatured, thus creating less free radicals. But, from what I read so far, the saturated fat that protects our cells is created by the liver. Not from the foods we eat. So for me, the jury is still out on that.

Now granted, there are those who have tried to take their higher fat content with them into this plan, and stalled. And there are those who have made the transition from Atkins to South Beach who want to skip Phase I, thinking it isn't a necessary part of the plan. Mostly because they just want to add carbs back into their diet, and don't want to wait any longer to do that. But those types of individual folks can be found within any plan.

So far, the results of this plan look promising. So I have decided to give Phase I a whirl.

I actually started the plan a couple of days ago, Monday morning, but didn't get the opportunity to post about it until today, because I accidentally glutened myself with some unsweetened coconut I ate over the weekend. I had forgotten that we had bought it out of a bulk bin at the health food store, and it turned out to be contaminated.

My initial weigh-in for this trial period is 179.8 lbs. I will be weighing in again come next Monday. The half-way point.
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