How Much Protein Should I Eat According To My Weight The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, Md

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The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, Md

Over the years, the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and practical weight loss experience has shown that the low-fat, high-carb diets promoted by the American Heart Association, Nathan Pritikin and Dean Ornish do not work.

What’s worse, the less fat Americans eat, the fatter they get, because they eat more carbohydrates.

We now understand that people need adequate amounts of protein and fat, which often go together in meat, dairy products and nuts.

People need carbohydrates, but too many carbohydrates cause insulin levels to skyrocket, adding fat to cells and, in the long run, causing many other health problems including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Dr. Atkins saw this problem in the 1970s, but his diet went too far in the other direction. It was all protein and fat and no carbs. People just had to keep eating that way, and according to Dr. Agatston, large amounts of saturated fat are also bad for the heart. (For the record, he believes the state of ketosis—when your body goes into fat-burning mode because you’re not eating carbs—isn’t particularly dangerous. But saturated fat is.)

In the 90s, Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades published PROTEIN POWER and Dr. Barry Sears THE ZONE. While their programs differ in the details, they both emphasize getting enough protein and limiting carbohydrates.

Dr. Sears’ Zone diet advocates eating meals that are 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 40 percent carbohydrates. He’s created a whole system—several, actually—to help readers follow his plan.

The South Beach diet is, in my opinion, very similar to those two, only simplified to the essentials. Dr. Agatston emphasizes eating foods with a low glycemic index. It goes well with grain-based foods as long as they are unprocessed, so they take longer to digest. He rails against white flour and sugar in a way that reminds me of Adele Davis.

So Agatston throws out the idea of ​​controlling how much food you eat, or how often, or counting calories, or counting fat grams, or keeping meals with a particular balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, or any other which overcomplicates the process.

Limit yourself to lean meat (it’s still against saturated fat), nuts, dairy products, whole grains and vegetables. You can add fruit after the first two weeks.

Of course it works for people. And it should, since it obviously keeps insulin levels somewhat in check — it’s certainly a big improvement over the typical American diet of gorging on high-GI carbohydrates.

It strikes me that in many ways it is similar to how our great-grandparents ate. They didn’t have white flour – they ate whole grain bread by default. They ate much more fish. No doubt they ate beef and pork, but not as often as chicken. They ate the eggs. They ate fruit only in season, but vegetables all year round. They cracked walnuts and picked pecans.

They got a lot more exercise just by going about their daily chores, and therefore were a lot healthier, except with infectious diseases, of course.

Dr. Agatston delves a bit into the science of insulin. I appreciated his explanation for insulin tolerance: It happens because your fat cells grow so large with fat that insulin can’t reach the fat cells’ insulin receptors.

Therefore, belly fat helps keep you fat and sets you up for heart disease and diabetes.

I am not a doctor, but I used to accept disability claims and I can testify that I have talked to many people who have the complex of high blood pressure, arthritis and diabetes. And later, heart disease and cancer. And most of those people were obviously overweight. I could almost predict everything they would say about their health issues — right down to their medication lists — just by watching them approach my desk.

However, if you want to learn more about the science of why too many carbs aren’t healthy for you, you need to read the Zone books.

I personally think that the Zone diet is more accurate, effective and healthier. However, if you can’t or don’t want to keep track of how many Zone Blocks you eat for each meal, following the South Beach Diet is much better than the conventional American diet.

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