The South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet is perhaps one of the more "fashionable" diets in existence today. This is largely due to the huge amounts of money the people behind the South Beach Diet have poured into promoting it. In fact, it is probably the first "low carb diet" (cough splutter - more on this later) to become more popular than, the diet that seemed to start it all, Atkins. However, this is not the only reason the South Beach Diet is so big. The simple fact is, that it has worked well for so many people and in my opinion it is one of the more healthy diets around.
So then, what about this "low carb diet" lark? Is it a low carb diet or isn't it? Well, many people say that this is NOT a low carb diet and well - they're kind of right. However, I would say that the South Beach Diet could be seen as a low carb diet in some respects. Firstly as we shall see, the diet is split into three stages, the first stage of which can only be described as "low carb". Secondly, the diet highlights the importance of cutting back on particular types of carbohydrate, so you will still be reducing the intake of carbohydrates that fall into this category.
What carbohydrates does the South Beach Diet recommend cutting back on? The simple answer, is simple carbs. On the South Beach Diet, simple carbs are *out* and good, complex, carbs are *in* (within reason). For those that don't know, simple carbs are what we call refined carbohydrates like white bread for example. Complex carbohydrates, being things like wholemeal bread.
The South Beach Diet leans towards selecting complex carbohydrates for one main reason - they get released at a slower rate into the blood stream. For this reason, your body doesn't have to deal with the sugar highs and lows that are a problem with refined, simple carbohydrates. This means that insulin is not being released in spurts to deal with the sugar rush. If there're less carbohydrates in play, the body will not be able to employ them so readily as primary fuel source. Hence, over time, you start burning fat instead. Your body will also feel far less hungry for snacks throughout the day as you're not having to replenish energy left by a dip after the sugar high.
The South Beach Diet is split into three phases as follows:
The first stage of the South Beach Diet lasts for two weeks and is involved with getting used to a new way of eating. In this stage of the diet you will basically be cutting out almost all carbohydrates, including fruit, bread, pasta, potatoes and alcohol. Sounds tough? Well, not really because it only lasts two weeks and there're loads of other delicious foods that you CAN still eat. These include: seafood and meat, cheese and nuts, eggs, salads. Basically, you will not go hungry!
This is the really strict phase of the South Beach Diet - so if you choose this diet - do yourself a favor and get off to a good start here! You will also find that in the second week, weight loss will probably be rapid.
In this phase, the South Beach Diet begins to add in some of the food that was "banned" in the first phase. However, the food is re-introduced in a controlled manner; Only the good carbs and good fats! Bringing them back in this way is healthy and it will mean that you continue to lose weight at a good rate. The foods that you've missed will be re-introduced, such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit and even some wine! In this stage you will basically lean how to pick the right types foods to eat instead of having to cut out these foods altogether as you would have to on other low carb diets.
You will continue on this phase of the South Beach Diet until you reach your target weight. Many people are surprised at how easy this phase is and how the weight continues to drop off without much effort!
As you will have guessed by now, the South Beach Diet is all about changing your lifestyle in a way that is EASY to maintain. Your body will be re-balanced and you should feel so much better by this stage. You will probably WANT to continue with South Beach Diet phase 2, but it's important that you don't and that you look to the future now.
Phase 3 is about eating healthy for the rest of your life and maintaining the body weight that you want. If you've overdone it a few times, then you can simply switch back to phase 2 for a short period if you feel the need. The new understanding you will have gained from the South Beach Diet will mean that you can control your weight by simply selecting the *right* types of food. If done right - it will lead to a healthy body for life.
For more information see this South Beach Diet site.