The South Beach Diet was developed by a Florida cardiologist who wanted to offer his patients a heart-healthy option for losing weight.
According to Healthline
, Dr. Arthur Agatston developed the diet after seeing that his patients following low-fat, high-carb diets were replacing eating too many sugars and simple carbs in an effort to replace unhealthy fatty foods.
"The basic premise is to replace 'bad carbs' with 'good carbs,' and 'bad fats' with 'good fats,'" reports Healthline. "Bad carbs, according to the South Beach Diet, are those with a high glycemic in index — i.e., those foods which increase your blood sugar at an especially fast rate."
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In addition, Healthline reports, "According to Dr. Agatston, carbs with a high glycemic rate make you feel hungry even when your body has all the food you need. So the South Beach Diet eliminates carbs with a high glycemic rate, such as refined sugars and processed grains, in favor of unprocessed foods such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains."
Here are three facts about the South Beach Diet and heart disease:
There are no long-term, randomized controlled clinical trials looking at the effects of the South Beach Diet on health, according to the Mayo Clinic
. But that said, Mayo also pointed out that some of the eating changes proposed as part of the diet, such as lower carb diets with healthy fats "may improve your blood cholesterol levels."
2. U.S. News & World Report
agreed that there is little real evidence about South Beach's heart health, but also cited two studies.
In a 2004 study, dieters following South Beach's plan dropped their LDL cholesterol (often called "bad" cholesterol), but with relatively small decreases.
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In a study in the Journal of Nutrition, those following the diet decreased their triglycerides, which can "jeopardize heart health," and also decreased systolic blood pressure slightly, the news site said. LDL cholesterol in that study was unchanged.
In an assessment of the book "The South Beach Diet," researchers examined the facts presented in the diet book and ranked them on a scale which determined whether they were supported facts; unsupported facts; both supported and not supported; and backed by no studies at all.
In results published on the National Institutes of Health websit
e, they found 42 facts in the book and determined that nine of those related to nutrition and cardiovascular disease. Of those, just three fell into the support/not supported category, while the others were supported by data.
However, regarding cardiovascular health, the study pointed out that one major claim in the book — "This program has been scientifically studied ... and proven effective for both losing weight and keeping a healthy cardiovascular system" — had absolutely no studies supporting it.
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