The South Beach Diet Essay

2362 words - 9 pages

Dieting and the South Beach DietThe nation's scales are on the rise and it is clear that American people have a serious obesity issue at their hands that needs to be turned around. The bad new is that currently only 33 percent (71 million people) of U.S. adults are dieting and are even trying to get into better shape (Calorie Control, 2006). Some of the key factors to a good weight loss plan are developing a positive attitude towards oneself and the process of change one is about to face, learning what the right foods are to eat and when to eat them and choosing an active lifestyle.

In this paper, we will discuss the South Beach Diet and its components as well as research the U.S. recommended guidelines for effective body functioning and the potential side effects of not meeting these minimum guidelines. We will also identify what are the basic components of a healthy weight loss program. Last, we will compare and contrast the South Beach Diet with the U.S. recommended food pyramid in an effort to answer whether the South Beach Diet meets these benchmark requirements in an effort to determine if this diet is a healthy and effective method for achieving weight loss.

Description of the South Beach DietThe South Beach diet is one of several popular fad diets that the American people are choosing to use as their diet plan. This diet was created in the mid-1990s by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a highly respected cardiologist, to work with the human body safely and effectively using a three phase process. The South Beach diet is billed as neither a low-carbohydrate diet nor a low-fat diet (Schnirring, 2004). Agatston's goal is to teach dieters to select the right carbohydrates such as whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables; the right fats, such as olive and canola oil; and lean sources of protein.

Components of the South Beach DietThe diet itself is rather simple and there are three phases to the diet. The first 14 days are restrictive with the intention to "resolve the insulin resistance … brought about by eating too many (mostly processed) carbohydrates" (Agatston, 2003, p. 111). This phase allows ample portions of protein, good fats, and the lowest glycemic index carbohydrates needed to satisfy the dieter and lower the blood sugar. Certain items are unlimited, such as salads and vegetables. The idea is to get the body to cease craving unhealthy carbohydrates by teaching it to desire healthier foods while losing weight.

Phase two introduces many of the restrictions in phase one. If a person is a bread lover and did without for two weeks then he or she could introduce bread back into the meal plan. This is the same with pastas, potatoes, and wine. The intention of phase two is to continue losing weight by learning to eat the correct combinations...

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