A review of the popular carb-cutting diet

The South Beach Diet was created by cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston, and is essentially a low-carb, high-protein diet that was detailed in his book “The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss”.

The premise of the diet seems promising. The goal is to encourage lifelong healthy habits, which a lot of fad diets don’t emphasize. The book covers a lot of very important areas of interest, like food glycemic index and load as well as the importance of choosing the right, healthy fats in your diet in order to reduce cholesterol.

The glycemic index rates carbohydrate heavy foods in terms of how much they raise glucose levels. Whether or not we eat foods with a high glycemic index is something that a lot of us do not consider.

Participants in the South Beach Diet follow a basic meal plan, which allows for about 2000 calories a day.; about 28 per cent of those calories come from carbohydrates. Comparatively, a typical diet can have as much as 65 per cent of the calories from carbohydrates.

The diet consists of three phases: phase one is two weeks without any carbohydrates including fruit, alcohol and bread in order to reduce any carbohydrate cravings.

Phase two is the longest portion of the diet, which only allows a certain amount of carbohydrates per day. The third phase is the maintenance phase, in which you are allowed to eat all foods in moderation.

Each day consists of breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as one dessert and healthy snacks. Advocates of the diet claim that you will lose 8-13 lbs the first phase and one to two pounds in the second week, which is a very healthy and sustainable weight loss goal.

Obviously, calorie intake depends on height and gender, so this diet allows flexibility by letting you tailor the diet to your own needs. In the original book, Dr. Agatston did not outline exercise and stated that the diet did not depend on exercise.

He recently came out with a new book called “The South Beach Diet Supercharged”, which outlines exercising tips. It is important to note that you must be careful when calorie cutting and working out. Less food means that you will become more fatigued and have less energy during a workout, which can lead to fainting and injury. The diet also comes equipped with an online support forum that can be used to track your weight and talk with others who are also on the diet.

In 2003, Harvard Health Letter evaluated the diet to have some problems ‘typical of diet books: lack of proof, and some dubious claims’. Nevertheless, many have found great success with the diet, though you must be willing to put in the effort and stick with it to see results.

“I’ve heard of the South Beach Diet but low carb, high protein is usually good for building muscle, so I’d only try if I wanted to get more muscular,” says Sophia Shim, a first year life sciences student.

Stay up to date. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, sent straight to your inbox:

* indicates required