South Beach Diet - the sanest WOE out there

View Full Version : the sanest WOE out there

05-30-2011, 02:14 PM
I would just like to say that after doing a week's worth of research on other types of low-carb/low-GI ways of eating, I have once again returned to SB.

Have you all heard about ketogenic diets? Paleo diets?

I don't mean to judge, and I am a true believer that everyone must find the best way of eating that works for them as an individual, but gosh am I glad that south beach exists for me. The extreme bacon-laden low-carbers were enticing at first but I am glad I can find a more moderate place right here.

Just showing some love. :carrot:

05-30-2011, 02:36 PM
Loving you right back! This is not a diet - it's the way we eat.

05-30-2011, 03:33 PM
Snoozlebug, I've been on SB for 3 years, but I'm very intrigued with the whole Paleo/Primal way of eating. I do a lot of reading and love Gary Taubes and the research he has done (Good Calories, Bad Calories & Why We Get Fat). While I think of myself as a SB person, I've been playing around with my WOE and pretty much cut grains out of my diet (except for special occasions). My lipid profile is perfect. But I can't really see giving up some of the stuff the Paleo/Primal restrict (like dairy) and can't get myself to eat a lot of saturated fats. I'm comfortable with SB principles and have maintained for 3 years now. I eat way healthier than I used to and love the food I'm eating.

Have you read any of Taube's books? I recommend them if you're interested in me of the questionable research that current nutrition guidelines are based on. I also like the blog of Dr. William Davis:

05-30-2011, 04:30 PM
South Beach has more in common with Atkins and Paleo than most people might think.

When I was working, I had two co-workers who were dieting. One was on
South Beach and one was on Atkins, and they were constantly arguing over which was the better diet and why, which was very funny to me because they were eating almost identical lunches and talking about the same foods. Lots of relatively lean meats and low-calorie vegetables, and to a lesser degree fruit and whole grains.

I also find it funny that Atkins is considered the "all-bacon" diet when Dr. Atkins warns in the book against bacon and other nitrate and nitrite containing meat (smoked meats and sausages). He advised using a nitrite/nitrate free bacon - which is so hard to find and so expensive when you do, that it's not something you would be able to eat frequently on most budgets. Also, OWL in Atkins allows you to add back healthy carbs slowly.

Sure you can twist the Atkins diet into the all-bacon diet, but that's not the real program.

Atkins led me to South Beach (courtesy of the The Low Carb Bible by Elizabeth Ward).

I moved from Atkins to South Beach, and from South Beach to a hybrid South Beach/exchange plan and am moving towards Paleo (in theory anyway , my actions are still a hybrid). In a nutshell, I've been drastically cutting grains.

I did great on South Beach for a month or two and then my weight loss stalled. I thought it was probably portion control, so I "converted" South Beach to an exchange plan (I used my standard exchange plan, and used South Beach to guide my choices in satisfying my exchanges).

Comparing the plans, I lost the most weight on very low-carb (even when calories were much higher), but if I go too low carb, I have blood sugar issues. South Beach helped with that, but I started noticing a reoccurence of health issues that had disappeared on very low-carb (on low-carb I experienced a remarkable, almost miraculous "healing" of many of my health symptoms, including my autoimmune and immune issues). My face has been oily, blemish-prone and bright fuchshi pink with rosacea since I was 10, and in the last few years I've been prone to autoimmune seborrheic dermatitis (hubby calls it face rot - and it really is that horrific). The change in my complexion on very low-carb was miraculous.

But it got me thinking were carbs my problem, or only specific carbs, so I started experimenting and discovered that my biggest problem was wheat and large amounts of sugar. Carb content was an issue, but I had to eat a lot of non-wheat "good carbs" to get a reaction, whereas even a small amount of wheat would affect my skin issues (to the point that hubby could tell if I had eaten wheat by looking at my face), and a large amount of sugar (even if it came from fruit) would also trigger symptoms.

That's when I started experimenting with Paleo, and discovered that I do best when I eliminate grains (and that's the core of paleo - grain-free or limited grain eating). Most paleo diets don't eliminate modern foods, they just strictly limit them (Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint advocates 80% on-plan, so it's not as strict as you'd think).

The underlying principle of both Paleo and South Beach, and even most low-carb is glycemic index, so the diets are more compatible than you'd think.

It may seem like a trivial point, but because Paleo and South Beach have more in common than not (especially the new edition of South Beach that includes exercise), I think it's important that people realize how similar the plans really are.

The reason I believe that the similarities are more important that the differences are purely practical. Because there's so much overlap, the recipes are often compatible. Not all the recipes and principles are compatible, but so many are that whether you're following low-carb, South Beach or a Paleo diet you can get a lot from the other plans' websites, books, cookbooks.... Sure you have to disregard what doesn't apply to your plan, but I've found more common ground than disagreement.

05-31-2011, 08:51 AM
Snoozlebug, I totally agree. I think I have finally found a WOE that I can maintain forever. Until SBD I really was down on myself for lack of willpower over sweets. Once I went through the sugar detox of phase 1 I am simply amazed!!!! at how I don't constantly crave sugary stuff. I just know I can lose and maintain with this WOE where I never could on the high carb/low fat WOE I was used to, and always gaining on.

Kaplods and Murphmitch, thanks for very informative posts. Like you I really like to research nutrition. But I take latest research with a grain of salt because there will always be new research refuting the old research. Having said that I do believe a diet eating non processed foods and as naturally provided by nature as possible to be the best diet. Though not a vegetarian, I am not a meat lover at all and could not maintain a mostly meat diet. I do love dairy though and SBD allows that in my diet. I do find the paleo diet interesting and would like to read up on it. Thanks for the links!

Thanks for such great reading, I really love the discussion especially since everyone is respectful of each others opinions.


05-31-2011, 11:15 AM
Kaplods and Murphmitch, thanks for very informative posts. Like you I really like to research nutrition. But I take latest research with a grain of salt because there will always be new research refuting the old research.

I agree, but the newness of the research isn't nearly as important as the acumulation of similar research. New or old isn't as important as the amount of research support for one theory over another. It's only by a preponderance of a great deal of evidence from identical and similar research that conclusions can be drawn (new or old, one study doesn't prove anything. Neither does 10. When you get into the 100's of supportive research, then you've got something).

As for research supporting the Paleo perspective, the research support is neither uncommon nor new. The Paleolithic Prescription was written in 1988 and (if I'm remembering correctly, it's been more than 20 years since I read it) the author cited much older research dating at least from the 1970's (I want to say the 1930's, but I'm not as sure of that. I may be remembering the book Neanderthin which was written in 1995).

Even so, as reviews of the literature, the authors pick and choose which research to cite, so a reader needs to understand that any one author may have left out conflicting reasearch to support their agenda, but that's as true of South Beach as it is of Neanderthin/Paleolithic Prescription/Primal Blueprint, any of Gary Taubes books (although I think Taubes is quite persuasive)... Regardless, It pays to read as much as you can, so that you get a "big picture" perspective. My personal views are based on dozens of books and even going directly to the research to see if it supports the author's claims, or if they're over-reaching.

All-in-all nutrition lags behind the other sciences, probably because we value it so poorly in this country. Nutrition is so undervalued that medical insurance rarely covers visits to a dietition (there are a few exceptions for certain, mostly metabolic conditions) and even when they do there's often a cap of only a couple hours per year. With a diabetes diagnosis, medicare for example will pay for 3 hours of diet counseling the first year, and only 2 hours every year after. However, for insulin resistance, Medicare covers only 2 or 3 hours total - no refresher course for you (if it covered more maybe fewer IR patients would eventually become diabetic patients).

Now I'm getting on my soapbox. Sorry. Now that I've gotten some of my health issues under control, I've been thinking about going on to get a second master's degree in nutrition or another preventive health care field.
I get a little carried away when discussing the subject because I'm so interested in it.

05-31-2011, 11:54 AM
Kaplods, don't apologize for the soapbox! Sincerely enjoy reading your posts and agree on nutrition being undervalued. Also agree that some authors in order to get published ignore some data to get their points across. I am sure there is a lot of pressure in academia, medicine and politics to publish something that has WOW factor, that important points are overlooked. So reading a lot on your own is very important.

Personally I do feel fruits and vegetables are foods we are meant to eat and have no plans on excluding them from my diet. Also plan personally limiting but not excluding my whole grains.


05-31-2011, 12:31 PM
Personally I do feel fruits and vegetables are foods we are meant to eat and have no plans on excluding them from my diet. Also plan personally limiting but not excluding my whole grains.

Most definitely. I agree, but ironically this statement/argument is often used as an argument against lower-carb and Paleo plans, but it's odd as an "argument" because most low-carb and Paleo plans do not discourage fruits and vegetables (and only certain grains).

No legitimate low-carb plan eliminates fruits, vegetables, and or whole grains permanently. They all (even Atkins) suggest that people eat the amount that their body can handle - in Atkins you add back carbs until you stop losing weight and then you back down. One person's appropriate carb level could be 200g (Atkins doesn't set an upper limit, only a lower one - your body's reactions to the carbs is supposed to be your guide).

Most paleo plans encourage abundant fruit and vegetable consumption, but warns that modern fruit and vegetables contains more sugar and less fiber than naturally occuring fruit, so we should compensate by choosing higher fiber, lower sugar produce whenever possible. Over the last 10,000 years or so, we've drastically bred fiber out of and sugar into our fruits and vegetables.

I think it was in Neanderthin or Paleolithic Prescription (and later other sources) that quoted nutritional anthropologists as estimating that paleo humans generally ate on average somewhere around 100 - 200g of fiber per day (and that wild chimpanziees our nearest relative average about 200g) that makes the FDA recommendation of 20 - 30g seem ridiculous.

Even when it comes to grains, the Paleo diets argue that not all grains are created equal. The seedlike psueudograins like quinoa, millet and buckwheat are closer to what might have been available to paleo humans. They also have higher protein and fiber contents and fewer or no anti- or counter-nutrients (substances that deplete specific vitamins or minerals).

Paleo diet books tend to grossly oversimplify because they don't go into what it is about the most modern of foods that is most harmful. As with South Beach, it boils down mostly to sugar, especially quickly digesting sugars (true grains also contain anti- or counter-nutrients that are also an issue, but even so, some grains, especially "older" ones like rice seem to be a more benign grain than "newer" grains like wheat and modern corn).

I think the biggest problem with most "diet plans" from South Beach to Paleo diets, in fact any diet with a popular book attached is that the information is oversimplified - and it has to be or average people would have no interest in reading it.

Oversimplification usually works ok for most folks, but it also lets superstition and myths creep in to the justification for or against a specific food plan.

If we had more nutrition education at the grade school to high school level, I think people would be better prepared in developing and evaluating a sound food plan (or even having one). But even medical doctors get very little formal training in nutrition. We say "see your doctor before begining a diet" but our doctors may be no more knowledgeable on the subject than we are (I've had many doctors admit the fact).

I do believe that obese bodies, especially super obese bodies like my own, work differently than healthy bodies. I think proper nutrition for someone with 200 lbs to lose, is very different than for healthier (average weight) and growing bodies, but there's not a lot of information on specialized nutrition, so we're left with a lot of guesswork.

It's why it still boils down to dieters having to be scientist AND lab rat.

Combined with the fact that we're a culture that seems to like and even prefer extreme, emotional, and controversial rhetoric to information grounded in fact makes our challenge that more daunting.

I love 3FC, because here for the most part, we're willing to talk about not only what we believe, but why we believe it. You can't always do that in the real world without facing a figurative lynching.

06-01-2011, 07:43 AM
Kaplods, I love your posts - they are so well thought out, and I get so much good advice from you. Thanks.

06-01-2011, 01:25 PM
Kaplods, that was perfectly put. Honestly, I've been researching Paleo, not because I'm planning on going that route, but because I'm finding RECIPES! Meat and veg.. yay!

Honestly, there seems to be a lot of variation in what I'm seeing in Paleo.. some say no dairy, some say eat all the fat on the meats.. some say eat lean protein only..

I think it really, again, boils down to what your body responds too.

Also, I agree that we have modified our foods to the point where they are not recognizable as their origins. Look at strawberries.. When I was a kid we used to find wild strawberries and they were the size of my thumbnail and if I recall, slightly tart.

06-01-2011, 01:43 PM
Good discussion going on here. We must save it as a sticky.