Diet Miami-Style – Go South Beach

In the 1980s, the American Heart Association was recommending that people adopt a low fat diet to improve their health and decrease their risks of heart disease. The problem was – it wasn’t working, and Dr. Arthur Agatson, a Florida cardiologist, was seeing its failures in his office everyday. He knew something had to change, and the result of his brainstorming and research became known as The South Beach Diet.

Agatson’s South Beach Diet turned “conventional” wisdom about dieting on its ear. No longer were fats and carbohydrates the enemy, and no longer was protein the golden child that could do no wrong. With his first “guinea pig” – himself! – he found out that this way of eating was not only amazingly effective at losing weight, it did an outstanding job of lowering other risk factors of heart disease – and it didn’t make him feel deprived at all.

The new science of the glycemic index, developed in the 1980s, was key in the development of the South Beach Diet. The foods that flooded the body with glucose quickly (high glycemic index) were restricted, and the foods that allowed a more slow and steady glucose release (low glycemic index) were promoted. Trans-fats and saturated fats were frowned upon, but unsaturated fats, and fats that contained omega-3 fatty acids (like nuts and fish) were encouraged. These “good fats”, in moderation, helped patients not only feel more satisfied, but they promoted HDL cholesterol – that’s the good cholesterol.

When you’re on the South Beach Diet, you start off on the most restrictive phase, phase 1, where you’ve gotten rid of sugars, fruits, processed carbohydrates, and some high-glycemic index vegetables. You’re only on this phase for 2 weeks, however, to stabilize your blood sugars. After that, you stay on the more liberal phase 2 until you reach your target weight. You don’t measure your food intake – you eat allowed foods until you’re satisfied. You learn to use the right carbohydrates and the right fats, and you don’t have to overdose on meat. Vegetarians can be quite happy on this plan.

If you’re looking for a way to lose weight and keep it off, using a diet plan that you can actually follow without a degree in nutrition or the willpower of a saint, you owe it to yourself to check out the South Beach Diet.

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