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The South Beach Diet    by Arthur Agatston order for
South Beach Diet
by Arthur Agatston
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In the opening chapter, Dr. Agatston explains that his initial goal in creating The South Beach Diet was to help his cardiac patients lose weight. In line with what other diet books have already postulated, Dr. Agatston suggests that restricting carbohydrates and sugars and then slowly reintroducing the 'good ones' into one's daily diet is the way to go. He tried the approach himself, consulted a nutritionist for further fine-tuning and thus his diet was born.

The first one hundred or so pages help the prospective dieter gain a better understanding of how the diet works and the rest of the book is dedicated to three well-outlined and easy to follow meal plans. Phase One is a concise two-week plan the dieter must follow in order to lose the 8-13 pounds Dr. Agatston promises. The 14 day plan is broken down into these categories: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and finally dessert. Agatston includes dozens of recipes (complete with caloric breakdown) for the Phase One plan. Phase Two is much the same, although more liberal, and it begins introducing certain good carbohydrates back into the daily eating plan in the form of whole grain bread, rice, pasta, sweet potatoes and certain fruits. Once the target weight is reached, you move on to Phase Three, the maintenance part of the South Beach Diet. Again there's a two-week plan to follow along with a whole host of recipes. There are also tips on what to order in restaurants.

Dr. Agatston suggests that by following the South Beach Diet for the rest of your life you'll not only lose that stubborn weight you've never been able to shed, but will also lower your cholesterol, blood sugar, and overall, feel much better. If you slide as he suggests most dieters do, simply go back to Phase One to shed those unwelcome pounds. There are a few drawbacks I can see to this approach. First, there seems to be lots of food preparation involved. Anyone with a busy schedule might have difficulty finding the time to whip up the required meals unless certain dishes are made ahead. Secondly, if you're budget restricted like so many of us are these days, you might find your grocery bill going up -- way up. Items like crab, pistachios, sirloin, ricotta, mahi mahi, smoked salmon, sole, artichokes, calamata olives, shallots (to name just a few) could stretch your pocket book.

On a more positive note, there are plenty of testimonials throughout the volume, all of them putting a very favorable spin on The South Beach Diet and the weight loss attained, despite the strictures of the first two weeks. Most agreed that weight loss was rapid and that eating habits changed, both very good motivators for anyone battling the bulge these days.

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