Friday, 9 August 2013

The South Beach Diet Review: Will You Lose Weight Doing It This Way?



The South Beach Diet is one that I tried many years ago. It was before I decided that Weight Watchers was the way to go for me and when I was going through a time of trying all the fad, crash and latest diets to hit the streets.

For me, the South Beach Diet just didn’t work. It was a little like the Atkin’s diet for me. I did lose a lot of weight in the first week—if I remember correctly, I lost 11lbs—but that wasn’t sustainable. After that first week, I just couldn’t stick to it and found it very hard to live on.

It’s time that I write my own South Beach Diet review to help you understand why I don’t think it’s the way to go. This is just my opinion though and you may find that it works for you.

What Is the South Beach Diet?


Before starting my South Beach Diet review, you need to know what the diet is. It was created by American cardiologist, Dr. Agatston, who needed something for his heart patients. He wanted something that would help to improve the health of their heart and found that it helped them lose weight too.

According to Agatston, this isn’t a low-fat or low-carb diet. It focuses on eating the right types of fats and carbs. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is still quite restrictive. The first two weeks there are very few carbohydrates allowed and that includes those in fruit! After that, you need to introduce them back into your diet slowly.

In short, it uses the glycemic index to determine the best foods to eat. Those that are deemed low GI foods will break down in the body slowly. The energy is released over a longer period of time so it is less likely to sugar into the blood. Carbohydrates break down into sugars and lead to spikes in blood sugar. To counter that, the body releases insulin. Eventually, the body can become immune to the effects of the insulin or not enough is released and it can lead to diabetes.


My South Beach Diet Review: What I Think About It


It’s extremely restrictive. The diet is split into three phases and the first once involves banning most of the carbohydrates. This includes many fruits. I don’t see how that is right considering you’re supposed to eat five fruit and vegetables a day to be healthy! Instead, you’re having to get all your nutrients from vegetables and you won’t get all the ones that are mainly found in fruits!

Milk is also banned during the first phase. It led me to question how you would get enough calcium for that two week phase. While kale and other dark leafy greens are full of calcium, I personally prefer to get it from milk and other dairy sources. But that is a personal choice. Low-fat cheese is allowed during this phase, which gives you some dairy products but it wasn’t near as many as I usually eat.

Once you’ve completed the first phase, you move onto the second one. This is the main part of the diet, which lasts until you successfully reach your goal. It can be a long process and this is when some of the carbohydrates are re-introduced. However, this is when I really started to struggle.

The South Beach Diet just wasn’t flexible enough for me. I wasn’t allowed most of my favourite treats at all and I ended up really craving for them. I don’t like being told no. Childish, yes, but that’s just the way I am. If I tell myself I’m not allowed something, that’s all I want. This is why my South Beach Diet review is so negative. I just hated that I couldn’t have biscuits, cakes, white pasta and my favourite yogurts.

Phase three is the maintenance plan and when you get to re-introduce more carbs. You may have guessed that I never got to this stage!

No Portion Sizes – Huh?


Something that really confused me was the fact that there are no portion sizes when it comes to the South Beach Diet. You don’t need to limit the amount you have as long as you feel satisfied. You’re encouraged to snack, as long as they’re healthy.

I’m sorry but no portion control? One of the main reasons for gaining weight is because we eat too much! If there’s no portion control, how do you know when you’ve had enough? Sure, you could listen to your body but does that really work for everyone?

That’s what I like about Weight Watchers. I have a set number of ProPoints to eat and that’s all.

South Beach Diet Review: How Much Weight Can You Lose?


I lost about 11lbs in the first week or so. Yay! It works…

Think again! I put all that back on and more once I realised that the South Beach Diet wasn’t for me. If I’m honest, even if I got to my goal weight, I’m not sure how sustainable this diet is. Yes, there’s a maintenance phase but how liveable is it? At least with the Weight Watchers maintenance phase it’s all about incorporating the healthy eating habits you’ve learnt while losing weight into your everyday life to maintain your weight.

It’s a lot to lose too, right? Well, not in the first week or two. This is when you’re more likely to lose a lot and you will start to ease off afterwards. During phase two, you’re more likely to lose between one and two pounds, which is a healthy amount. That’s if you can control your portions…oh wait! There is no portion control.

You may think that my South Beach Diet review is a little cynical but that’s just because it didn’t work for me. There are people out there who found it worked. I just don’t like all the restrictions. Not only is it hard to stick to the plan but you’ll find it hard to get all the nutrients your body needs. I have to wonder why a doctor would come up with something so potentially dangerous!

Image credit: marin/freedigitalphotos.net

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