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The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 25, 2003

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--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale, Inc. (April 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579546463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579546465
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,220 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the glitzy title, this is one of the more appealing diet books among the new "anti-carb" programs. Agatston, a doctor based at Miami Beach's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, found that his patients not only were unable to stay on various popular diets but their cholesterol and blood sugar levels remained dangerously high after trying these plans. The doctor chose to alter his own diet-first avoiding all carbohydrates and fruit and then reintroducing these foods in moderation. Feeling better and losing weight, he then consulted a nutritionist to modify his strategy to devise a sound method for his patients. The South Beach diet begins with a somewhat restrictive two-week program, generally producing a weight loss of from eight to 13 pounds. The initial phase may be difficult for those who crave bread, pasta and fruit. But there are still choices, and snacks (cheese, hummus, vegetables) are a necessary part of the diet. People shouldn't feel hungry on this part of the diet, stresses the author. The second phase offers somewhat more choices, including whole wheat bread and other selected carbohydrates. Agatston advocates combining the "bad" with the "good." For example, take whole wheat bread and dip it into olive oil, rather than using butter. Eat a very small amount of pasta with lots of vegetables, meat and healthy oils. Complete meal plans along with simple recipes comprise roughly half the book. Of course, there's no perfect diet that works for everyone but the enthusiasm of the conversational tone and the inviting manner make the book more appealing than many other diet tomes.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

You WILL lose weight..
Edward Hart
If you're already familiar with the Atkins plan but can't seem to get it working for you, here's the diet book for you!
Say good bye to dieting and hello to healthy living, feeling great, and being able to eat like a normal person.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 185 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm 52 and have had a slight to moderate weight problem my entire life (about 25 lbs.) Have been on many diets and always lost weight but never could make it a "lifestyle change". This is so simple - I think some those who have given negative reviews are reading more into it and making it more complicated than it is. Who cares if it is a little like the Atkins diet in the first couple of weeks - at least I don't have to do any carb calculations!! I've been on it for 5 weeks, have lost 12 pounds and have lost my usual cravings for candy, cookies, and chocolate. I am able to totally ignore the Krispy Kreme donuts in the employee lounge. You don't have to eat the menu plan - those are just suggestions for people who don't have any creativity when it comes to cooking. Just eat the things on the allowed list and don't eat foods on the "may not eat" list and make sure you eat your snacks and eat enough at mealtime to satisfy you. Yes - once in a while I feel hungry because I've been too busy to eat what I should - so I just catch up by eating allowed foods. Up until now I've always been a "carboholic" and it's really an odd feeling to not need that. I find the Atkins plan too complicated. I have found that most people doing the Atkins plan don't really follow the "rules" but modify it to suit their needs, and I've never met anyone who has stayed on it permanently - so, to each his own!
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113 of 114 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I started The South Beach Diet with Phase Two and I continue to lose weight steadily. This diet has balanced my cravings for foods high in sugar. I no longer obsess over food or when I can eat again. The South Beach Diet is not based on fads. It is not about eating a diet of fatty meat products, drinking glass after glass of water, eating expensive prepared foods, preparing time consuming recipes, counting calories or counting points. It is about eating familiar, unprocessed foods that are accessible in all grocery stores and all restaurants. Dr. Agatston has researched and developed a diet that is simple and logical. That's why it works.
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110 of 114 people found the following review helpful By "sharon5378" on January 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Info below is from The Daily Dish (01/20/04) online newsletter for subscribers to [...]
South Beach Diet Updates
The South Beach Diet (SBD) continues to evolve as new nutritional studies and information come out. Recently, the results of new studies have shown that some of the "foods to avoid" may not be as bad for us as the original studies on glycemic index demonstrated. There are also some new, exciting studies about the role calcium plays in weight loss. The end result is that you can continue to enjoy all of the foods recommended for the SBD-as well as adding back in a few of your favorites! Here are the major changes:
Old Version:
Avoid all dairy in Phase 1, except for less than 2 tablespoons fat-free = and =, nonfat milk, 1 percent milk, or soy milk allowed with coffee.
New Version:
Phase 1:
Now includes low-fat milk (fat-free and 1 percent), soy milk, and yogurt (low-fat or fat-free plain or vanilla light/lite only) on the Phase 1 "foods to enjoy" list.
Phase 2:
May add light/lite fruited yogurt as a "food to enjoy" in Phase 2. Note: Since the SBD is still low in saturated fat, high-fat whole milk products will remain on the "foods to avoid" lists for all Phases.
Old Version:
Limited to one whole tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes per meal in all Phases.
New Version:
Not limited in any Phase.
Old Version:
Limited to = per day in all Phases.
New Version:
Not limited in any Phase.
Old Version:
Avoid carrots in Phase 1 and 2; allowed in moderation in Phase 3.
New Version:
Allowed, starting in Phase 2.
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128 of 135 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I can only tell you my personal experience with this diet and you can take it from there. I have tried several diets and they never worked because you couldn't stay on them long plus I stayed hungry all the time. I counted calories and exercised for two years and only lost 20 pounds and then stopped losing for months. With this diet, I have lost 27 pounds in 6 weeks and am still losing. The best part is that I can see myself doing this the rest of my life. The first few days is a little hard but you get excited because you will be amazed at how little you get hungry. I ate three large meals a day plus two snacks. I definitely had plenty to eat. Best part is that although I occasionaly have dessert, I don't crave them! And like the book says - I lost weight in my belly first (I am a forty-plus year old woman). It might not work for everyone - no diet does but this one is healthy and worked for me. It's worth a shot if nothing else has worked for you - trust me!
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Loren D. Morrison on November 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In brief, the South Beach Diet was originally developed by a Cardiologist (DR. Agatson) in conjunction with a Nutritionist as a diet to recommend to his patients who needed a diet to help alleviate their heart problems. It proved successful for many of its target audience. It's a low carbohydrate diet that differentiates between "good" carbs and "bad" ones. Simplistically speaking, good ones are found in vegetables, some grains, etc., while those that we can categorize as "bad" are most often found in flour based products (bread, cereals, cakes, etc.) and in starchy foods such as potatoes and rice.

The diet itself is broken into three phases which I like to compare to the gears in a car:

Phase one, the two week phase, is comparable to first gear. It gets you off to a start from a stndstill, and lasts for about two weeks. It is the most restrictive phase, and the average dieter loses around ten to twelve pounds during this start-up phase.

Phase two, like second gear in a car, is used to get you up to full speed in automobile terms, or down to your desired weight in diet terms. It is less restrictive than the first phase, and lasts, as I mentioned, until you are up to speed, or in dieting terms, down to goal weight.

Phase three is sort of like cruise control. You use cruise control to maintain a steady speed on the open road, and you use the even less restrictive diet in this phase to maintain your weight loss.

Yes, as mentioned in other reviews there are daily meal plans for each phase, and some of the foods are expensive and some of the recipes are complicated. I personally looked at these meal plans as guidelines to be followed, not as absolute requirements.
Read more ›
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More About the Author

Arthur Agatston, MD
Leader in Cardiac Disease Prevention and Creator and Author of The South Beach Diet

Dr. Arthur Agatston is the Medical Director of Wellness and Prevention for Baptist Health South Florida. A pioneer in cardiac prevention, Dr. Agatston's work with Dr. Warren Janowitz resulted in the Agatston Score, a method of screening for coronary calcium as an indicator of atherosclerosis that is used at medical centers throughout the world and considered by most experts to be the best single predictor of a future heart attack. Dr. Agatston is a clinical professor of medicine at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. His cardiology practice in Miami Beach is focused on preventing heart attacks in high-risk patients.

Dr. Agatston has published more than 100 scientific articles and abstracts in medical journals, including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Circulation, the American Journal of Cardiology, and the Annals of Internal Medicine. Among his many television appearances, Dr. Agatston was featured along with President Bill Clinton on Sanjay Gupta's 2011 CNN special, "The Last Heart Attack." He is a frequent lecturer on diet, cardiac imaging, and the prevention of heart disease both nationally and internationally and participates as a speaker, faculty member, and organizer of numerous academic cardiology meetings and symposia. Dr. Agatston has also served as an expert consultant to the Clinical Trials Committee of the National Institutes of Health and has served on committees of the American Society of Echocardiography, the American College of Cardiology, and the Society of Atherosclerosis Imaging. He is currently on the board of directors of the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE). In recognition of his contributions to cardiac prevention, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) created the esteemed Arthur S. Agatston Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Award in 2011, which is given annually to pioneers in cardiac prevention. In 2009, Dr. Agatston received the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Award from New York University Medical Center for outstanding achievement in the medical profession.

In 1995, Dr. Agatston created his balanced approach to healthy eating to help his patients improve their blood chemistries and lose weight. His eating plan worked so well that a Miami TV station asked if it could offer the diet to its viewers. Hundreds of South Floridians went on the diet and lost weight three years running, and its popularity eventually led to the publication of Dr. Agatston's internationally bestselling book--his first nonacademic work--The South Beach Diet, in 2003. Today, the South Beach Diet is the trusted choice of millions seeking a total solution for losing weight, reversing metabolic syndrome, and gaining health. There are more than 23 million copies of The South Beach Diet and its companion books in print worldwide, including The South Beach Diet Cookbook (2004), The South Beach Diet Good Fats/Good Carbs Guide (2004), The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook (2005), The South Beach Diet Dining Guide (2005), The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook (2006), The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook (2007), The South Beach Heart Health Revolution (2008), The South Beach Diet Supercharged (2008), The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook (2010), and The South Beach Wake-Up Call (2011). His most recent book, The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution, was published in April 2013.

The South Beach Diet lifestyle program has grown to include Web-based materials and a family of healthy and convenient foods, including delicious and nutritionally balanced bars and snacks. Its popular online program,, provides weight loss tools, recipes, exercise routines, customized meal plans, support from registered dietitians, and a vibrant community of South Beach Diet followers.

In 2004, Dr. Agatston founded the nonprofit Agatston Research Foundation for the purpose of conducting and funding original research on diet, cardiac health, and disease prevention. The foundation is dedicated to improving the heart health and wellness of the nation through research, education, and prevention. In the fall of 2004, the foundation implemented the Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) initiative to provide nutrition and healthy lifestyle education programming, including daily physical activity, to more than 50,000 elementary school children nationally. Data from the initiative, presented at national conferences, including those of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, show that children in HOPS schools improved their weights, blood pressures, and academic test scores more so than children in non-HOPS schools. Today the foundation is also working with the University of Pennsylvania on the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) to further pursue better nutrition in public schools and with the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Miami on research projects dedicated to developing healthier lifestyles and preventing cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Agatston also can be found on the Web at and, and he is an advisor on heart health for Prevention magazine. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida, with his wife, Sari. They have two grown sons.

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