As regular readers will know, I’m reviewing some of the most common diet plans over the course of this summer and fall. This week, I’m sharing my thoughts on the South Beach diet.
South Beach is a lower carb approach, but not as rigorous as the Atkins diet in terms of carb restriction after the first two weeks (read my review of Atkins here).
The South Beach Diet is divided into three phases:
- Phase 1 (2 weeks): avoidance of most carbohydrates
- Phase 2: gradual reintroduction of lower glycemic index carbs
- Phase 3: lifelong maintenance phase – up to 28% of energy can come from carbs in this phase
Healthy food choices are emphasized, including lower glycemic index carbs, monounsaturated fats, and lots of fibre.Overall, the South Beach approach is pretty good in the long term, though I don’t agree with the carbohydrate avoidance in phases 1 and 2. My preference would be to skip straight to Phase 3, which provides a reasonable balance of macronutrients (protein vs carb vs fat) while advocating for healthy food choices. This is a permanent lifestyle change that has a better chance of longevity than many other food plans that are not realistic; but remember, no one food plan is the right one for everyone. It’s all about following it over the long term, and a permanent change has to be the one that is right for you.
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