The South Beach Diet claims you can lose 13 pounds or more in two weeks. To be completely honest, the only way that such a huge amount of weight could vanish that quickly is if you became dangerously dehydrated losing huge amounts of water weight. However, does the South Beach Diet work for losing fat?
Considering that fat can simply not melt off like that in two weeks and such weight loss will be temporary and quickly regained, my immediate answer would be no. How does the South Beach Diet accomplish such fast weight loss anyway? A closer look shows that, like the Atkins Diet, the first few weeks require restricting carbohydrates severely, which means you will lack essential nutrients and can easily trigger your body's starvation response. This type of dieting, along with being very misleading, has many negative consequences.
One of the consequences includes the breakdown of muscle tissue which results in your metabolism slowing down since muscle uses a lot of caloric energy. This means that your body will start to use fewer calories, and it will become easier to put on more fat. This is exactly studies show that majority of dieters who lose weight, often gain back more than they lost!
What's more, the author suggests that if you end up putting some of the weight back on you should immediately switch back to the first phase to lose the excess weight again. Studies have now shown that when you lose weight and gain weight by constantly changing your diet this promotes atherosclerosis deposits, which is a heart attack causing plaque.
Looking at the diet and suggested recipes and meal plans I can't help but ask myself how anyone could believe that this is a healthy way to lose weight. You're instructed to not eat watermelon because it is high on the glycemic index but you can eat bacon and cheese? Are you also expected to take cholesterol-lowering drugs as the author does too? Such drugs are known to cause mental confusion, muscle weakness and pain, radical changes in mood, and more.
Other ridiculous claims include French fries and potato chips being healthier choices than baked potatoes because of the fat in which they're cooked in. Yet such foods are very high in dangerous trans fats which experts now say are "the biggest food-processing disaster in U.S. history". In addition, many of the suggested meals can take a lot of time to prepare and many of the foods the diet recommends can be quite costly too.
The South Beach Diet also suggests that 20 minutes a day of walking is sufficient, but with respect to the author this is very poor advice to offer a nation where almost 35% of the population are now classified as obese. The truth is that many people have a serious exercise deficiency and need much more than simply 20 minutes of walking get back in good physical shape.
In the author's defence, however, he does recommend weight training for its impact on boosting your metabolism and also mentions how weight training helps strengthen your bones, which is especially important for women who may suffer from osteoporosis at a later point in their life.
On a final note, the alliance between the South Beach Diet and food manufacturer Kraft has brought the author's credibility into question. It would seem odd to partner with Kraft Foods considering he criticizes processed food in his diet book. Does the South Beach Diet work? If your goal is healthy and permanent fat loss, then I would have to say no.
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