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The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet runs in 3 phases:

Phase 1 sounds very much like Atkins Diet with normal quantities of meats, olive oil, lots of vegetables, cheese, and nuts. No carbohydrates for the first 15 days; so this means no bread, pasta, rice, wheat, sugar, sweets, cookies, pastries, alcohol, or fruit! This phase is high protein and high fat only. The diet claims that one can lose about 4 to 6 kgs in that time.

The negative aspects of Phase 1:
1. Most of the initial weight loss is usually water.
2. A nutrition supplement might be required to make sure that the body doesn't get nutrient deficient.
3. A sudden decrease in carbohydrates, particularly sugar, alcohol, and other high-calorie foods, which are so much a part of the Western diet, can to some extent explain the weight loss.
4., Piling on animal proteins and fats will only increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
5. This can become monotonous if followed regularly.

Phase 1 comes with a vegetarian option as well- meats replaced with pulses, legumes, and soy foods.

Phase 2 reintroduces carbohydrate foods but rather slowly to prevent weight gain. Bread, pasta, rice, cereal, chocolate, wine, and fruit are brought into this phase. This phase lasts till the target weight is reached, which could be a long time! Weight loss expected is up to 1 kg a week, which sounds reasonable. However, if one gets stuck at a particular weight, one needs to go back to Phase 1 again! Phase 2 might be more nutritionally balanced but requires patience to reach the target weight.

Phase 3 is called "diet for life" where "normal" foods are allowed in "normal" quantities for maintenance of the lost weight. Yet, some foods that are higher on the glycemic index are not allowed in this phase either, and this is not based on fact. Changes have also been announced this year, such as tomatoes, carrots, and onions which were earlier restricted in the first two phases, are now allowed.