The truth about... the South Beach Diet

Hailing from the sunny shores of Florida, just the words South Beach diet sound glamorous and you can almost see yourself, lithe and tanned, draped over a lounger next to some pool in Miami. So it sounds good, but does the actual diet deliver what it promises? The book, The South Beach diet, featured on the New York Times' bestseller list for over a year, so there's got to be something in it!

South beach diet

The theory

Like the GI diet, the South Beach diet aims to regulate blood sugar levels and avoid the dips in energy that cause those nasty cravings. The diet is broken into three phases all of which allow you to eat normal healthy portions as long as you avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates. "Forget low-carb and low-fat. Think right carbs and right fats", trills the South Beach diet website.

The upside

The diet was originally developed by a leading American cardiologist to improve heart health, but he found that one of its other effects was weight loss. Saturated fats are replaced with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats - definitely a good thing.

The downside

The first two weeks of the diet are very similar to the Atkins diet (no carbs whatsoever!) so it's quite difficult to do and you won't be getting your five fruit and veg a day.

Does it work?

Yes it does, though not all phases allow you to lose weight in a healthy way. In the first two weeks, the diet promises weight losses of up to 13lb which is an unhealthy amount of weight to lose in so short a time. After this, you should lose about 2lb a week, the amount recommended by experts to maintain good health.