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The South Beach Diet

ISBN 0755311302 / 9780755311309 / 0-7553-1130-2

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Book summary

The verdict is in: those simple carbs we've been living on are killing us. For good health, we've got to get our blood sugar under control and stop the incessant cravings. Or so says Dr. Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet. The first half of the book details the science behind the diet. Most of the explanations revolve around why things you thought were healthy-orange juice, wheat toast, carrots-are actually evil. To avoid blood sugar surges, Agatston created a modified carbohydrate plan, recommending plenty of high-fiber foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while cutting bread, rice, pastas, and fruits. Major differences from other diets include a lack of concern over portion size and a serious indifference to exercise. Feeling full while on a diet is a beautiful thing, but it seems odd that a cardiologist buries his exercise recommendations in a solitary sentence.

The last half of the book covers his three-stage plan; daily diets are mixed with recipes, some of which are from South Beach restaurant chefs. The most restrictive period lasts just two weeks, enough time to stabilize your urges and lose a few pounds; stage two adds fruits and a handful of other carbs, while stage three is meant to last the remainder of your life, with occasional lapses for white bread or birthday cake. While the diet is sound, the book could be better organized. The first half mixes scientific study with anecdote in a seemingly random way, while the mix of meal plans and recipes can be confusing. Still, the recipes are varied and tasty, and you'll never feel deprived, unless you currently happen to live by bread alone. --Jill Lightner [via]