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South Beach Diet: The Good, The Bad and Some Important Facts to Remember

By Edited Sep 8, 2015 1 0
Weighing scale
Credit: Wikimedia commons - National Human Genome Research Institute (public domain image)

A lot of diet plans promising exceptional slimming effects are constantly promoted. Some have proven its worth while others have garnered scrutiny, skepticism and negative reviews. Regardless of that statement, keep in mind that most of these regimens have scientific explanations to support its claims. The determining factor of its efficacy is mostly based on your dedication and how you incorporate it in your daily activities.

With that said, most of you have probably tried several weight loss regimens before finding the right one. Some are still trying to find a plan that is ideal for their day-to-day routine. If you're still in search, you may find this topic interesting.

As the title states, South Beach Diet is the main concept of this article. But, I'm not going to present to you its detailed step-by-step procedures or phases. Instead, you will read about the concepts behind this specific regimen along with its pros and cons. Through this, you can easily discern if this diet plan is right for you.   

The Concept Behind

If you're familiar with Atkin's and Paleo diet, the South Beach diet has similar notions with these weight loss programs. But, of course, there are some variations that make each of them unique. So, what is the common denominator between these diet plans?

Basically, they all share the concept of a low-carbohydrate diet. To give you a better view, “the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis” is one of the foundations of this weight loss approach. Basically, insulin is not only known as a “fat storing hormone”. It can also curb fat metabolism.

To explain further, high levels of insulin in your body is a sign that there's an abundance of glucose (sugar) in your system. Once your body recognizes this copiousness, your tissues will start to use carbohydrates as fuel and halt any fat burning processes.

One way to increase your insulin levels is by excessively consuming refined and highly digestible starches and sugary products. Take note, I used the terms “refined” and “highly digestible”. This is mainly because your enemy is not the whole carbohydrates family per se. Remember, if a starch or sugar is easily digested and absorbed, it will bring forth a rapid increase in your blood sugar. Thus, a sudden fluctuation in insulin levels. However, this phenomenon is temporary and fat metabolism will resume once everything is back to normal. So, this is just a part of a bigger picture. 

Using another concept, several studies have deduced that proteins are actually the key players in any low-carbohydrate diet. How so?

South Beach Diet

Well, proteins can affect your weight loss journey in various ways. First, is through satiety. It can easily make you feel full and at the same time delay hunger. Another is through energy expenditure. Surprisingly, one Sweden study showed that compared to carbohydrates, a high-protein diet can make you feel more alert and energized. Furthermore, it will also help you burn more calories.

If you put those two concepts together, one may say that any low-carbohydrate diet has a very promising percentage of success. However, keep in mind that there are other variables such as your genes and metabolism that can alter or affect your success. 

If you want to know more about the difference between the Atkin and the South Beach weight loss programs, this article entitled "South Beach Diet Versus Atkins: Which Diet is Best?" can give you more insights. 

What Makes the South Beach Diet Unique?

Although the South Beach Diet adopts the concepts of a low-carbohydrate diet, it will not urge you to totally shun or even limit your consumption of “go” foods. In fact, it actually encourages people to eat any amounts of carbohydrates they like as long as it is the right kind. To be specific, one should only opt for products that are commonly found in the lower part of the glycemic index.

Wheat products

Another factor that makes this weight loss program unique is its affinity for unsaturated fats. While it is a given fact that all kinds of fats can delay food absorption and bring forth satiety, one should again pick the right kind. Several studies have actually shown that unsaturated fats are not only good for your health. It can also help control both your insulin and blood sugar levels. Olive, flaxseed, canola and fish oil are some of the highly recommended oil substances you can include in your meals.

Another varying factor is that calorie counting and monitoring is not part of the South Beach Diet. This is actually an advantage especially for some people who find this activity tedious and vexing.

Lastly, exercise is definitely included in this program. But, don't worry, these activities are not extreme and it won't take much of your time. However, it is imperative that you do it every day. This is one explanation why carbohydrates and proteins are essential parts of your daily meals. For people who don't prefer daily exercises, you may find the 1,500 calorie diet an interesting alternative. 

The Good Side

As you know, every diet plan is not perfectly designed to make your weight loss journey an easy road. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can evaluate if it is easily adaptable to your lifestyle and daily routine. So, what makes the South Beach Diet a good choice? 

If you're searching for a fast-paced weight loss program, this is a good regimen you can take. This is mainly because you can already observe positive results during the initial phase. Seeing these improvements will definitely uplift your spirits and push you closer to your goal with a determined attitude. But, of course, you have to remember that the hard part is not reaching your desired body mass. It is without doubt doable. The determining factor that will make-or-break your success is how you can maintain your achieved weight in a long run. Well, you're in luck. This is because at the end of this program you will not be left clueless on what you should do next. In fact, one of its main goals is to help you transit and opt for healthy lifestyle choices. So, if you're looking for a weight loss program that can give you long-term results, this is an ideal option. 

In another point of view, the main reason people try to find weight loss programs like the south beach diet is to improve their physique. There's nothing wrong with this. However, don't lose track of your health. As you know, almost all diet fads are meticulously evaluated. This is to ensure the public that it will not cause detriment to their body. Having said that, this diet plan has met the necessary dietary standards. Hence, it is a healthy choice.

In addition to that, this weight loss program will not only help you shed those unwanted pounds. It can also offer several health benefits especially to your cardiovascular system. 

Different food products
Credit: wikimedia common - National Cancer Institute (public domain image)

The Bad Side

As presented above, the South Beach Diet is without a doubt a top-rated weight loss program. However, this diet is not for everyone. Furthermore, there are also some drawbacks related to this regimen. Even so, most of its drawbacks are manageable. So, what are its disadvantages? 

Price is one of the common drawbacks of this diet plan. As you know; whole wheat products, quinoa, brown rice and other whole grain food products are more expensive compared to its refined counterparts. So, you have to consider your budget before trying this program since this is not temporary. It is a lifestyle decision that as much as possible must last a lifetime.

Aside from price, time is also considered in this program. Basically, most recipes offered in this program require some cooking time. So, if you have a very fast-paced schedule, you may or may not have some time to prepare a home-cook meal. Furthermore, if you're someone who constantly eats out, this can be challenging since not all restaurants can offer menus that are diet-friendly. 

Aside from those drawbacks, not all people can try this diet plan. This is especially true for children. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are strongly advised to avoid the phase one of this program. If you are one of them, don't worry, you can still opt for this diet just go directly to phase two.

Finally, people who have sensitivity to gluten and pasteurize casein should be cautious when using this diet since grains and pasteurized milk are usually advocated as part of your everyday meal specifically in phase two and three. Nonetheless, if you really find this diet plan ideal for your day-to-day routine, there are gluten-free recipes and ingredients you can use as substitutes. But, of course, generally speaking, don't forget to consult your physicians first especially when you have insulin sensitivity and other kinds  of food allergies

A Final Note

lose weight now!
Credit: Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver/Flickr

It is a fact that finding the right weight loss regime is not an easy task. Some may even undergo trial and error before they can find an effective program. But, don’t let one or two failures discourage you.

If you are really adamant in shedding those surplus fats, there is a way to achieve that goal without resorting to unhealthy measures. However, keep in mind that discipline is imperative. You have to do your part and as much as possible stick to it.

Remember, finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow may seem hard, tedious and even improbable. But, once it is found, it can definitely give you a very satisfying feeling. 

A Cookbook for Your Weight Loss Journey

The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less
Amazon Price: $28.99 $4.37 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 8, 2015)
For individuals looking for recipes that follows the concept of the South Beach diet, this book offers recipes that you will definitely enjoy.

More Information about the South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life
Amazon Price: $7.99 $3.72 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 8, 2015)
As discussed in the video above, this book is a revised version of the original the South Beach diet book. But, along with its revision came more tips in transforming your weight loss journey into a healthy lifestyle for your long-term weight goals.
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Bibliography

  1. Angela Haupt "South Beach Diet." US News. 8/12/2013 <Web >
  2. Raw Michelle "Proteins, not sugar, increase energy expenditure." Natural News. 8/12/2013 <Web >
  3. David Despain "Is it time to stop blaming insulin for “fat storage”?." Evolving Health. 8/12/2013 <Web >
  4. "Are All Fats Really the Same for Stopping Hunger Pangs?." Mercola. 8/12/2013 <Web >
  5. Stephan Guyenet "The Carbohydrate Hypothesis of Obesity: a Critical Examination." Whole Health Source. 8/12/2013 <Web >
  6. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD "Yes, a Low-Carb Diet Greatly Lowers Your Insulin." Diet Doctor. 8/12/2013 <Web >

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