The South Beach Diet itself and the book with the same name may be best-sellers, but not everyone is sold on the South Beach Diet. The probable reason for people having success with it is because calories are controlled, and whenever you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight, according to Go Ask Alice, Columbia University’s Health Internet Service.
The Glycemic Index
The theory behind the South Beach diet is based on the glycemic index of foods. Certain foods raise the blood sugars, creating insulin resistance, which leads to weight gain. By eating foods that do not raise your blood sugar, the theory goes, you will have less insulin resistance and be able to lose more weight. The problem that many nutritionists have with the South Beach Diet is limiting healthy foods, according to Go Ask Alice. Also, simply using the glycemic index is not very accurate. Many factors affect how the index works in your body, such as how the food is prepared, how the foods you eat interact with each other, how much food you eat, your age and your weight.
Low Carbs, High Protein
The South Beach Diet is a low carbohydrate, high-protein diet, similar to but more liberal than The Atkins Diet. The South Beach Diet aims to remove your cravings for carbs. The problem is that protein and fat by themselves do not provide people with all the nutrients needed for good health. Trying to make up for it by taking supplements is not as good as getting vitamins from foods, according to Virginia Tech. When you are on the South Beach Diet, you are limiting your breads, cereals and grains. Whole grains provide fiber, B vitamins and folic acid, which is important in preventing neural tube defects in babies. Also, carbohydrates provide your brain and body with energy better than protein and fats do.
Reasons to Avoid
Women and older people should avoid the South Beach diet because it is low in calcium, which people need for bone health. The natural sugars in milk and dairy products go against this diet. The South Beach diet is not very healthy in general because it limits fruits, vegetables and whole grains, according to Go Ask Alice. Fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of vitamins and fiber and help prevent disease, are limited on the South Beach Diet, especially during phase one, which lasts for two weeks.
No Emphasis on Exercise
The South Beach Diet does not emphasize exercise as part of your weight loss regimen, and that is not good, according to the Mayo Clinic. The South Beach Diet recommends taking a 20-minute walk daily to boost metabolism but that you will lose weight if you exercise or not. The reality is that if you want to maintain your weight loss, you need to incorporate some level of fitness in your lifestyle. Besides helping you to maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise has many health benefits.
The bottom line is that the South Beach Diet may allow people to lose weight quickly at first, which is why it is popular. But the Mayo Clinic warns that whenever you lose a lot of weight too quickly, this could be due to water weight or lean tissue loss, instead of fat. The Mayo Clinic recommends a more traditional method of weight loss where you take off 1 to 2 lbs a week. Incorporate that with taking in fewer calories than you burn and eating a healthy balance of foods, including whole-grains, fruits and vegetables.
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