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Does The South Beach Diet Reduce Heart Risk?

By    |   Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 01:13 PM

For more than a decade The South Beach Diet has been a popular way to quickly shed unwanted weight, but some question if it goes far enough to help reduce heart risk as the founder of the program claims.

Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist and author of "The South Beach Diet" and other related books, says the diet he developed, which focuses on low-carbohydrate, low-fat, and healthy protein choices, can help people reduce their heart risk.

"By enjoying the wide range of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods that we emphasize on the South Beach Diet, you automatically take a big step toward reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke," he writes.

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The foods encouraged by followers of The South Beach Diet to reduce your heart risk include: lean low-fat proteins, such as those found in fish, poultry, and soy products; low-fat dairy; what Agatston calls "good-carbohydrates" — those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and unsaturated fats like those found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.

The claim that the diet can reduce heart risk is backed up by staff at the Mayo Clinic, who point out that the diet has evolved over time to include recommendations for exercise. Though the diet does recommend a prescriptive plan with a three-phase program to follow for short term success, Mayo staff note that in the long run it, "may promote certain healthy changes," such as "a long-term eating plan that's rich in healthy carbohydrates."

Mayo health experts also point out severe carbohydrate restriction can lead to a risk of ketosis, which can cause headache, bad breath, dizziness, and nausea. Ketosis, in which the body doesn’t have enough sugar for energy and burns fat instead, is actually the goal for the other hugely popular low-carb Atkins Diet. 

According to the American Heart Association, nearly two-thirds of the American adults weigh more than what falls in a healthy range. Those extra pounds are a major factor in heart disease. A reduction in weight by following any diet program will reduce heart risk.

Agatston agrees that diet is just part of the equation for reducing heart risks and general body wellbeing.

"You also need to exercise regularly and get adequate, quality sleep. This combination is essential for optimal health and will help you lead a happier and healthier life," he says in his book.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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For more than a decade The South Beach Diet has been a popular way to quickly shed unwanted weight, but some question if it goes far enough to help reduce heart risk as the founder of the program claims.
south beach diet, reduce, heart risk
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2014-13-19
Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 01:13 PM
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