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The South Beach Diet
A Great Way To Reach Your Goals

The South Beach diet is primarily a weight loss diet. Even though it is not geared to lowering cholesterol, it includes many vegetables and sources of fiber that are known to lower cholesterol.

As an approach to weight loss this diet uses three very effective phases. Depending on which of the three phases an individual is currently on, there are certain foods that are permitted and certain foods that must be avoided.

The South Beach diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist in Florida. With his knowledge of how carbohydrates affect insulin levels, Dr. Agatston set about to design a diet that would bring about reduced cravings by controlling insulin levels. In the diet this is accomplished by cutting back on all high glycemic foods, including fruits.

The truth that weight loss is accomplished by burning more calories than are consumed is still at work in this diet. The difference with the South Beach diet lies in the the way those calories are used. Rather than storing the calories as fat, the body is able to burn them as energy.


Phase One - Decreased Cravings

The first phase of the South Beach diet lasts 14 days. The emphasis during these two weeks is on eliminating all sugars and carbs in order to reduce cravings. Speaking from experience, it really does work. After phase one my cravings were completely gone.

All high glycemic fruits (which includes most fruit), refined sugar (candy, soft drinks, etc), and high fat meats are eliminated during this time. Consumption of beer and wine are also avoided during the first two weeks. By doing this we retrain our bodies so that the "need" for sugar and fats goes away.

In phase one portion sizes are not minimized. There is never a need to eat only 3 oz. of chicken or a half serving of something you really enjoy. One dinner when I was exceptionally hungry, I ended up having 3 chicken breasts. It may not have been following the diet perfectly, but it did not become a cause of my cravings to return.

One great thing about this diet is there is no counting of calories, which makes it easy to follow. Just follow the list of acceptable and not acceptable foods for the first two weeks. The South Beach Diet Online is a valuable resource during phase one.


Phase two - Consistent Weight Loss

Phase two of the South Beach Diet now allows many foods that were not permitted in the first phase. Some carbs such as low fat cuts of beef, small portions of nutrient dense carbs such as wild rice, whole grain cereals and breads, and more fruits. During the second phase there is still the emphasis on eating low glycemic foods.

Granny Smith apples are one fruit of choice. They have much lower natural sugar content and therefore will not lead toward sugar craving like higher glycemic fruits can.

This phase of the diet lasts until your goal weight is reached. For some this phase may only last a few weeks. For others with higher weight loss goals it may last for several months. My experience with the South Beach diet was that it took about six weeks total for phase 1 and phase 2 in order to lose 20 pounds.

Phase three - Permanent Weight Loss

As with any diet, the key to success is keeping the weight off. Many of us have experienced the frustration of seeing that hard earned weight loss disappearing as the pounds begin returning over time. This is addressed during phase three. The third phase of this diet is a commitment to a permanent change in eating habits that will result in maintaining our goal weight.

Phase three stresses healthy eating. Good carbs are in. Bad carbs are out. Good fats are acceptable. Bad fats are rejected. There's room to splurge occasionally, but if it becomes a habit, it is time to go back to phase one.


Final Recommendations

The South Beach diet is an excellent plan for weight loss and lowering cholesterol. While some low carb diets include too much fat for lowering cholesterol, this is not the case on this diet. The only caveat here is that you may want to cut back on the cheeses. Some of the recipes are delicious, but primarily due to the cheese content.

If you decide to follow this weight loss plan I highly recommend obtaining the book named after the diet by Dr. Arthur Agatston. Because it includes a daily meal plan for each day of phase one and 30 days of meal plans for phase 2, we found it very helpful in following through with the diet.

We also joined the South Beach Diet Online for the additional recipes it provided. It is reasonably priced and greatly enhances the diet experience.

As with any diet, be sure to discuss your diet plans with your physician.

Combining your diet plan with cholesterol supplements is the most effective way to lower cholesterol.

Lipi-Rite is a product that has helped many individuals lower their cholesterol levels without having to resort to medication.

There's more than South Beach Diet on our diets for lowering cholesterol page.