The South Beach Diet series by Arthur Agatston, M.D. includes two books that describe the diet, The South Beach Diet and The South Beach Diet Supercharged. The series also includes three cookbooks, The South Beach Diet Cookbook, The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook, and The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook all of which are written in a straightforward manner that makes the diet easy to understand and follow. And this is 3 week diet review.
The South Beach Diet Book
Part One of The South Beach Diet analyzes the benefits of healthy carbohydrates and the detrimental effects of unhealthy carbohydrates as well as why other diets fail. Examples of how real life people have made the diet work for them give the diet a more personal and achievable feel.
Agatston focuses a lot of attention on making sure the reader understands the benefits of each phase of the diet, the challenges of each phase, and the reasons to follow the phases in order according to the time line provided. Agatston doesn’t address health issues that could be affected by a high protein diet in any detail, so people should consult their own physicians. At times, the writing feels a bit redundant especially when addressing the transitions from one phase to another and how to refocus on the diet when one indulgences in unpermitted foods.
In Part Two, Agatston provides precise daily meal plans for the different phases of the diet. Substitutions for ingredients are easily found using the approved food lists provided for each phase of the diet. He includes several easy to follow recipes with readily available ingredients for each phase; however, the recipes may not fit everyone’s needs precisely. Some recipes called for processed foods, so those who eat organically may need to find substitutes for those items. Overall, the recipes are helpful and tasty but some could use a little improvement.
A glaring omission is an in-depth discussion of exercise as part of the healthy lifestyle The South Beach Diet promotes.
The South Beach Diet Cookbooks
The South Beach Diet Cookbook, The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy, and The South Beach Diet Holidays and Entertaining each begin with an introduction to the diet; however, there isn’t quite enough information to follow the diet using only the cookbooks. The cookbooks contain recipes for all three daily meals as well as snacks, beverages, and desserts. The recipes are clearly marked for the three phases of the diet at the top of the outside corner of each page making it easy to locate recipes for a specific phase.
Many recipes are quite healthy calling for fresh fruits and vegetables. An occasional Phase One recipe will have a minute amount of a Phase Two ingredient or a Phase Two recipe will consist of only foods from the Phase One recipe list. Processed foods are sometimes used in a recipe instead of a fresh ingredient. Some recipes call for chemically derived sugar substitutes rather than natural low carb sweeteners.
Even people who aren’t on The South Beach Diet enjoy the recipes in these cookbooks making them good for anyone’s kitchen. Guests may be surprised when told they just ate a low-carb meal. A family could easily eat from these cookbooks for a year and not tire of the recipes due to the variety and ease of preparation. The food lists from The South Beach Diet and The South Beach Diet Supercharged make it easy to substitute an ingredient in the case of allergies or a disliked ingredient. Overall, the cookbooks contain easy to follow recipes with readily available ingredients.
The South Beach Diet Supercharged
The South Beach Diet Supercharged is an extension of the original The South Beach Diet book. Agatston demonstrates how research has changed his approach to some parts of the diet and addresses questions that arose since the first book though the new information is often difficult to locate amidst rehashing the original book. Agatston focuses a full section on exercise correcting his original omission. Once again success stories are sprinkled throughout the book. Agatston expands the food lists for each phase and includes a new meal plan and recipes. Many medical issues related to the intake of high levels of protein intake are only briefly discussed in this version as well, so anyone considering the diet needs to consult a physician.
Agatston applies his experience as a physician as well as the research of others in compiling a series of well researched books that is well written and easy to understand though redundant at times.