What Is The South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston in the 1980’s. The diet proposes a reduction in bad carbs and bad fats and its replacement with “good carbs” and “good fats”. This is supposed to reduce the level of sugar in your blood, which should reduce the level of insulin in your bloodstream, which should eventually allow your body to better metabolize food. The end of the South Beach Diet is to end unnatural “hunger cycles” by keeping too much sugar out of your bloodstream. The South Beach Diet was around for the better part of twenty years, until the low-carb fad of the 2000’s.

When the Atkins Diet became a rage among dieters in the early-2000’s, people disatisfied with the diet began to look for other low-carb alternatives. Since the South Beach Diet also proposed lower carbohydrates intake (actually more selective carbohydrate intake), it became the second-most famous of the so-called “low carbohydrate diets”. Many people touted the South Beach Diet because it was a better alternative to Atkins, which led dieters to eat too much saturated fats and not enough fiber and carbs. It probably didn’t hurt that the diet had a slick name for marketing, since the South Beach Diet was associated in the minds of some with the well-tanned bikini girls of South Beach, Florida.

Theory Behind The South Beach Diet

So what is the theory behind the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is meant to regulate the flow of insulin to your bloodstream by controlling your intake of carbohydrates. When you eat certain kinds of carbohydrates, sugar enters your bloodstream. When sugar enters your bloodstream, your pancreas excretes insulin. This insulin tells your cells to absorb the sugar.

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After years of receiving short bursts of sugars you would get from carbs, your body’s cells becoming resistant to insulin. Therefore, your pancreas has to secrete more insulin than otherwise to signal your cells to absorb the sugar. Eventually, your insulin levels reach a level where your blood sugar is adversely affected. While once effect of low blood sugar is the potential for diabetes, another effect is what Dr. Agatston called “cycles of hunger”.

These cycles of hunger might cause a person to overeat, which leads to weight gain. Theoretically, eating fewer carbohydrates could end these unwanted hunger cycles and lead to weight loss. This, then, is what the South Beach Diet seeks to do. The South Beach Diet seeks to replace bad carbohydrates and bad fats with relatively good carbohydrates and good fats.

Atkins Diet vs. South Beach Diet

The Atkins Diet was created by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970’s, so Dr. Arthur Agatston knew about the other famous low-carb diet when he created his own theories. Dr. Agatston believed the Atkins Diet’s low-carb approach involved too few carbohydrates, too little fiber and too many saturated fats, which raised the risk of heart disease and other health problems. In fact, Dr. Agatston believes the South Beach Diet should not be placed in the category of low-carb diets. The inventor of the South Beach Diet suggested that his program should be considered a “right-carb diet” and “right-fat diet”.

See also: Is the South Beach diet healthy?