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Health Food

Health Food

The South Beach Diet has swept the globe. Success story after success story has been reported. The rapid weight loss can be attributed to one stage in particular. Surprisingly, fruit is not considered a health food nor part of the initial weight loss process.

Whenever we think of health food, what comes to mind? That’s right. Fruits and vegetables is usually what you would think of. But on the ever-popular South Beach Diet, fruits are forbidden—for a short period of time. In fact all types of starches and sweets are banned in the beginning. How’s a sweet tooth to cope? With cheese? Is that really health food?

Short History

Dr. Arthur Agatston, MD, was just a doctor in Florida who was concerned about his patient’s health. He saw many patients who were either at risk for or had heart disease. He developed a special diet for them that would reduce or reverse their heart troubles. That diet was the prototype for the South Beach Diet. While he originally developed the diet for heart disease, Agatston was stunned to discover that his patients had lost massive amounts of weight. Now, the book is a bestseller.

The Claims

In his book, Dr. Agatston claims that not only will you never be hungry on this diet, but you can lose up to 13 pounds in the first two weeks! The author also claims that your belly will be the first fat-blasting zone.

How it Works

The diet is split into phases. The first phase is the strictest. All starches and sweets are banned, including fruit. Many of these diets eliminate fruit in the beginning of their meal plans. Why? The sugar. Even though fruit contains natural sugars, it is still sugar. The types of foods that are acceptable on the diet include lean portions of chicken, seafood, and low-carb vegetables. The first phase calls for three meals and three snacks. You can’t have fruits or any other sweets so snacks will consist of wacky things like chicken breast, celery sticks, and an ingenious ricotta desert that tastes almost like a shake. Depending on your starting weight, you will really see the pounds drop in phase one.

In phase two, your beloved fruit is now considered health food! This phase is very important because this phase determines how much weight you’ll ultimately lose. In addition to fruit, unbleached starches and whole grains are reintroduced into the diet. You will stay on this phase until you reach your goal weight.

Phase three is simply used for maintenance. According to the book, this is how you’ll eat for the rest of your life. You can basically eat whatever you want—in reasonable portions. If you feel your weight is slowly climbing, you can switch back to phase one and start all over again.

What about Atkins?

Some people have switched from Atkins to South Beach, probably because of its immediate results. Other people made the switch because they’re simply not into the foods that the Atkins diet peddles. While Agatston’s diet talks about healthy cuts and portion control, the Atkins diet really does neither. Because of this fact, health conscious people may not choose Atkins.

Health food is in the eye of the beholder. If you follow a low-carb diet, it may be steaks or eggs. If you follow a high-carb diet, it will probably be fruits and vegetables. Amazingly, the South Beach Diet is neither. Eventually, you will incorporate carbs in your diet. That’s why the diet is so popular.