Last updated: September 22, 2019
Topic: Food
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The South Beach Diet, which originated with Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist, began as a response to the growing rate of heart disease patients in the United States. He found that many of the fad diets were focused on high carbohydrates, which were not affecting the type of weight loss needed to reduce heart disease. The center, or heart of the diet, is focused on healthy lifestyle living, and maintenance around nutritional choices. The South Beach diet focuses on three phases: Phase one is the kickoff to weight-loss; eliminating all carbohydrates.

Phase two focuses on the re-introduction to carbohydrates; making healthier carb choices. Phase three is about diet maintenance and making healthier lifestyle choices. With the brief overview explained, this paper will discuss the background of the diet, s sample of the diet and how it compares to the recommended daily allowances of proteins, vitamins and minerals, the ongoing maintenance of the diet, and finally whether this diet can be considered legitimate. Background The South Beach Diet was designed by Dr. Arthur Agatston to help people to lose weight and reduce cases of heart disease related to diet. The goal of this diet is to help control cravings for bad carbohydrates by eliminating them completely from a person’s diet and then slowly reintroducing them. There are three distinct phases that are completed during this diet with the third phase being an ongoing maintenance phase. In the first phase the dieter eliminates all carbohydrates. Nutrition comes from meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and vegetables. The idea is to eat three balanced meals a day and also to eat enough to fill hunger needs.

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This phase lasts about 14 days and gives an expected weight loss of 8-13 pounds. In phase two, the dieter starts to re-introduce carbohydrates back into the diet one product at a time. The individual also introduces foods that will not give into hunger cravings between meals. The dieter should still be avoiding starchy carbohydrate foods like potatoes, carrots, bananas, and honey. During this phase, a weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week should be observed. Phase three begins once the individual finds a desired body weight.

This is the maintenance phase and more carbohydrates can be re-introduced; but sparingly. It is essential that the individual maintain a degree of self-control and does not consume high glycemic index foods. Appendix A provides a sample diet of the daily intake for a person on this diet. It is the initial weight loss period that some people have shown concern about because it is mostly water-weight loss due to the removal of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help water storage in your body and when this is removed you will also lose the water that is retained with it.

When your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to consume then it goes into a state of ketosis, which is dangerous and causes weight loss. These fad diets have all claimed weight loss and also have potential side effects. None of them include regular exercise as part of the diet and so the nutrition requirements of an endurance athlete are not looked after; furthermore, none of these are suitable for any endurance athlete. The carbohydrate intake needed by an endurance athlete is not covered in the Zone, Atkins, or South Beach diets.

Diet Maintenance By phase three of the diet – which is the final phase – the dieter has already achieved his or her ideal weight. This phase is all about maintenance. At this point the dieter should be on a routine that is easy to accommodate. The diet does not count calories or contain strict portion sizes, but eliminates sugary carbohydrates. According to Cindy Moore, RD, a director of nutrition therapy at The Cleveland Clinic, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, the diet meets several of the criteria for a healthy diet.

It does not leave out any major food groups. It is important to state that Moore warns that during phase 1 of the diet most of the weight lost is water weight. She advises that it is important to work closely with a registered dietitian or your doctor (The South Beach Diet, 2006). This seems simple enough but the vast majority of people today jump on fad diets due to their lack of resources and time. They want the quickest way to lose weight fast. The diet does not involve additional supplementation or specific exercise routines.

The diet itself is continually changing due to new research and frequently asked questions from dieters. In fact the creator of the South Beach Diet, Dr. Arthur Agatston, provides a website where subscribers can ask questions and read up on new changes. Critics of the diet argue that the diet does not stress exercise as much as it should. Dr. Agatston states that only 20 minutes of exercise a day is enough while on this diet. The critics argue that of those trying to lose weight, 20 minutes is not enough; especially for those who are already out of shape (Mercola ; Vaszily, 2007).

The South Beach Diet’s mainstay is that through smart food choices, the dieter can maintain his or her weight. A Case for Legitimacy? Along with the South Beach diet, there are literally hundreds of other diet programs on the market that supposedly offer a healthy weight-loss solution to the dieter. However, most of these, including the South Beach diet, are considered fad diets simply for the fact that most of the people that go on them only stay on them a short period of time. Because of this fact, the legitimacy of these diets must be questioned.

In the case of the South Beach diet, Angderson (2006) writes, “South Beach is really a low-carb diet despite claims by the author that it is not. Again, starving off carbohydrates can increase ketones, thereby increasing the risk of various health diseases. In addition, depriving yourself of carbohydrates leaves you tired and weak. More likely, you will end up binge eating and reverting to former eating habits despite this diet’s aim to abolish it completely. ” In fact, many of these diets will show an immediate, sometimes dramatic, weight loss which the dieter assumes will continue for a long period of time.

However, after only a short period of time, the weight loss slows and many dieters loss confidence in the program and quit. These fad or quick-fix diets, as they are sometimes referred to, are easy to spot. Many will have the following characteristics: -They do not include a variety of foods necessary for good health -They do not teach good eating habits -They claim to “trick” the bodies metabolism into wasting calories -They make dramatic weight-loss claims These diets are usually not effective because they are not safe for all dieters and are not meant for long-term weight loss on their own (Sorgen, 2006).

With all of this information available, it can rightly be claimed that the South Beach diet, although very popular, is not a healthy, legitimate diet plan. In order for a person to lose weight in a healthy manner, he or she must include a variety of foods from all the food groups in moderation combined with physical exercise, preferably under the consultation of a physician. Healthy weight loss is a long-term, slow process which allows the body time to adjust without the shock of a drastic change. Conclusion

With the focus of today’s generation being centered on health and appearance, it is not surprising to find that “fad” diets have found their way to the top of every person’s to-do list. The South Beach diet has become very popular and addresses many concerns around increased rates of heart disease and ultimately “healthy” weight loss. The diet stresses that there are three phases to ultimate weight loss. The program calls for the removal of all carbohydrate intakes during the first phase. Once completed the next phase focuses on gradually reintroducing the carbohydrates back in to the body while slowly losing weight.

The final phase is a maintenance phase that the dieter will use to maintain the desired weight. Research studies and suggestions state that although the south beach diet does assist with weight loss it is not considered healthy weight loss because the diet lacks in structural exercise routines and eating well-balanced meals. The ultimate outcome and the purposes of this paper conclude that with all of the information available, it can rightly be claimed that the South Beach diet, although very popular, is not a healthy, legitimate diet plan.

References

Agatston, A. (2003). The South Beach Diet. New York: Random House. Agatston, M. D. , A. (2004), The South Beach Diet Cookbook. Pennsylvania: Rodale, Inc. Angderson, C. (Winter 2005, Vol. 4). Fad Diets: The Skinny behind the Scam. Retrieved May 12, 2007, from JPHAS: Journal for Pre-Health Affiliated Students. Web site: http://www2. uic. edu/orgs/jphas/journal/vol4/issue1/invitedops_ca. shtml. Mercola, J. , ; Vaszily, B. 2007). Twelve Reasons to Avoid the South Beach Diet. Retrieved May 13, 2007, from www. mercola. com. Sorgen, C. (2006). Dieting: Does Fad Equal Bad? Retrieved May 12, 2007, from CBS News Web site: http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2006/09/01/health/webmd/main1960463. shtml. The South Beach Diet. (2006, June). Retrieved May 13, 2007, from WebMD website: http://www. webmd. com/content/article/92/102028. htm.