Previously we looked at how the GM Diet stacks up against the Atkins Diet. In this article, let us look at another popular diet, the South Beach Diet. Americans are believed to spend six billion dollars annually on diet books, pills and health programs. In a world obsessed with size zero figures, a diet to lose weight quickly, and to keep it off forever is nothing less than manna from heaven. Several diets have come and gone over the years, in a world where obesity, ironically is on the rise. One of the chief contenders for the top slot of a ‘diet answering every question’ is the South Beach diet.
Developed by cardiologist, Dr. Agatston, of the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, in Miami Florida, this diet advocates reduction in carbohydrate intake, abstinence from alcohol and a reduction in the intake of saturated fats. It is heart friendly and is to be followed life-long for a healthy heart and an optimum weight.
The South Beach diet consists of three phases
- Re-introduction of carbohydrates
In the induction phase, the dietary intake of carbohydrates is severely restricted. This is done to break the vicious cycle of hunger-excess carbs-excess insulin-hunger. The carbohydrates are further divided into two groups, good and bad depending on their glycemic value. Low glycemic carbs like oats, legumes and sprouts, which release energy slowly are allowed in normal amounts. A normal serving is one which satisfies hunger, but does not allow one to gorge. A two- week phase of eating such servings is believed to habituate the person to eat only to satisfy hunger. High glycemic index carbohydrates such as sugars, white flour, and sweet fruits and vegetables like sugar beet and corn are also to be avoided. Abstinence from alcohol is advised to avoid empty calories. Fats rich in mono- and poly- unsaturated fatty acids like canola and olive oil are advised, while saturated fats in the form of fried food, animal fats and trans fats are to be avoided completely. Proteins are to be included in normal amounts, mainly in the form of lean meats and fish.
In the second phase, carbohydrates like beet, corn and pasta are gradually reintroduced. They maybe eaten in small or moderate amounts if the person craves them occasionally. It is thought that the person becomes used to smaller portions by now and does not gorge. In the last phase, these inculcated changes become a part of the person’s life so that he/she eats healthy always.
The main advantage of the South beach diet is its emphasis on portion size, rather than counting and weighing the grams of the nutrients involved. It is also advantageous because it does not leave out any of the major food groups and nourishment does not suffer. It also does not require any drastic changes in the diet, but merely a gradual shift from unhealthy eating habits to healthy ones. It is easy to maintain and does not affect the general health of the individual.
The GM diet in contrast is undertaken in seven day cycles and can cause rapid weight loss. That said, it must be said that the weight lost during the seven days always tends to come back if you do not change your eating habits and lifestyle. Many people tend to stop working on their weight and eating habits once the initial seven days are done with. Pretty soon you will start seeing all those pounds piling back on. Most people fall into this category. Another point to keep in mind while on the GM Diet is to watch out for dehydration during the diet. Also, the General Motors diet is not advised for people suffering from medical conditions like diabetes.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that there is no ‘one size fits all’ as far as diets are concerned and it is better to personalize each after consulting a dietician. We at gmdietworks.com always recommend that you talk with your physician and a dietician to find out if the GM Diet or any weight loss diet plan is appropriate for your before you start. Each diet requires dedication and back-up in the form of a strict exercise regimen. It is best to look at a diet program or plan as the start of a long journey towards good health. Finding the right diet, eating habits and exercise regimen is very important and these healthy habits should become the habits of a life-time.