Friday, July 11, 2008

Book review – THE SOUTH BEACH DIET SUPERCHARGED

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.11.2008

I’m reading The South Beach Diet Supercharged right now (actually, listening to it on audiobook), and it annoys me because he expounds on the proper foods to eat, not how to control portions.

It’s good that he encourages less refined white flour and white rice (eat whole grain breads and pastas and brown rice instead) and lots of fruits and veggies and lean meat, but he assumes you’ll just stop eating when you’re full b/c the foods are higher in fiber.

But I was on a low carb diet for almost a year, and while my exercise was shoddy, it wasn’t nonexistent, and I still didn’t lose weight because I was eating too much at each meal. Too much veggies is still calories, even if it’s not white bread or white rice.

I don’t crave white bread, but I do love French bread occasionally, and that’s a no-no on the South Beach’s phase 2 and only something to rarely indulge in in phase 3.

Also, it’s nearly impossible to make Japanese musubi rice balls with brown rice—the rice just isn’t sticky enough—but the diet says to eat mostly brown rice.

One thing he doesn’t address is how foods digest when they’re eaten together.

For example, I’m a bit hypoglycemic, but if I eat a high glycemic index food with several low glycemic index foods, I find that I tend not to have that blood sugar surge and drop that would happen if I only had the high glycemic index food.

But he only talks about avoiding high glycemic index foods, not how pairing them with other foods might be okay.

Also, the South Beach recipes don’t really sound that appealing. A few sound intriguing, but they’re nothing unusual that I’ve never heard of before.

(I think that’s partly why I like the French Women Don’t Get Fat book, because many of the French/European recipes are unusual and interesting to me, so I’m more likely to want to cook them.)

One thing I like about the South Beach diet book is that he goes into the biology and clinical trials behind some of the elements in his diet. For a former biologist like myself, it’s fascinating.

For instance, I didn’t know that clinical trials have shown that taking omega-3 fish oils reduce triglycerides, specifically. He suggests taking a fish oil supplement, and since both mine and Captain Caffeine’s triglycerides are high, we’re going to do that as soon as we have time for a Costco run.

What I also like about the South Beach diet book is that he explains the science behind interval training and why you can burn so many calories and increase your metabolism so much with only 20 minutes a day.

My downfall is a slow metabolism, so I’ve been doing intervals when I walk the dog every day rather than just a brisk walk. The intervals don’t really interfere with my enjoyment of the walk or listening to audiobooks.

He also has a terrific whole body workout that anybody can do and that doesn’t require a lot of equipment. It’s obvious he and his collaborators put a lot of thought into this workout and I could tell it’s fantastic, just by reading it. I have also started doing the exercises and they’re very easy.

It’s very low impact and the exercises gradually increase as you get stronger. Many of the exercises are also hard to do incorrectly, thereby avoiding most of the hazards of injury.

I’m glad I’m listening to the South Beach diet, if only to understand why it’s so popular and why it has worked for so many people. For me personally, because I enjoy foods so much and get so much visceral pleasure with my food exploration, the South Beach diet is unappealing, although the workout section is. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

4 comments :

  1. Hi Camy,

    Wait until you hit menopause. I was in control of my weight until then, then the pounds starting coming on and it's been a struggle to loose weight ever since. I've tried low carb, no carb, low fat, low calorie, and nothing seems to work for me. I think exercise is a huge key, and I need to get away from my keyboard and move more.

    They've been talking about dieting over at Girls Write Out, with some interesting posts.

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  2. Ugh! Can't I live in denial a little while longer? ;)
    Camy

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  3. I used to love the South Beach diet, but I can't eat that way now. I was on phase one when I was diagnosed with colitis, and it was directly because of all the high fiber stuff that I was eating that I got so sick.

    So kind of like your problems with hypoglycemic, eating all high fiber, whole grain stuff just isn't healthy for some of us. Sounds weird, I know, but sadly that's the way it is.

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