South Beach Diet Experts Opinions

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The South Beach diet was formulated by Dr Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist (a heart specialist) who created this diet initially just for his patients (he released the diet worldwide later), so the basis of this diet lies in helping obese people with heart and vascular problems get healthier with the focus on low GI foods and banning (or at least severely restricting) processed foods that cause a high spike in blood glucose levels and cause fat to be accumulated and thus have a negative impact on the heart and rest of body. Because of this, most health and nutrition experts do cautiously favour this diet as it has many of the ingredients of the recommended and healthy diet.

The main comments from health experts are as follows:

  • Nutrition Australia cautiously favours diets based on GI
  • Nutrition advice recommends eating all carbs, not just low GI
  • Australian Heart Foundation cautiously favours diets based on GI
  • Initial weight loss is not recommended by nutritionists
  • The Cleveland Clinic cautiously recommends this diet
  • The American Dietetic Association cautiously favours this diet
  • American Heart Association does not totally endorse this diet
Any type of diet which restricts or prohibits all processed foods has some advantages


  1. Nutrition Australia favours diets based on glycemic index. While Nutrition Australia does cautiously approve of this diet, there is some reservation about the first part of the diet which is severely restrictive of carbohydrates
  2. The Australian Heart Foundation (AHF) cautiously approves of diets that are rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, low saturated fat and lean meat, such as the South Beach diet. There are reservations about the initial weight loss through the severe restriction of many carbohydrates – the AHF recommends all nutrient-rich and natural carbohydrates should be eaten and not restricted
  3. The initial weight loss of up yo 7kg (13lb) is not recommended by dieticians as a healthy weight loss, due to the fact that it is mostly water and can disturb electrolyte balance in the body
  4. The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association cautiously approve of this diet with the focus on low fat protein, low glycemic carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, together with healthy unsaturated fat as these are the basis of a healthy diet. The only hesitation that these two organisations have is the amount of weight lost in the initial phase, which is mainly due to water loss and this could disturb electrolyte balance. In addition to this, when high GI foods are combined with low GI foods, the final GI load becomes low-medium and is recommended. They recommend working closely with a dietician or doctor to tailor this diet to each individual’s health needs and ensure weight lost is in a gradual manner
  5. The American Heart Association (AHA) currently (as at 10 January 2008) does not recommend any of the high protein diets that are popular today, as the AHA believes that these diets can cause a multitude of health problems and may not even provide all the nutrients required to keep the human body healthy. The AMA recommends no more than 35% of total daily calories from fat (of which only 7% of calories should be from saturated fats). The AMA also advocates the intake of all carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and grains to ensure there are adequate levels of all the nutrients in the diet



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