The South Beach Diet, much like its predecessor, the Atkins diet, has helped promote the merits of a low-carb diet and also helped debunk the dangerous myth that low-fat dieting is safe and effective.
But for Dr. Joseph Mercola, the South Beach Diet’s benefits ends there. An osteopathic physician with over two decades of clinical experience, he minces no words when he says, “I would never recommend the South Beach Diet to any of my patients.”
Dr. Mercola says he can write a whole book to explain just how misguided Dr. Agatston’s eating program is but here are the 13 main reasons why you should skip the South Beach Diet:
- Gets the “good” carbs wrong – Dr. Agatston promotes the concept that there are good carbs that you should be consuming and bad carbs you should avoid. But he gets the “good” carbs wrong and promotes both whole grain breads and fruits – which can seriously impair the health of millions of Americans with sub clinical gluten sensitivity. Unless a person has normal insulin levels, it’s best to avoid ALL grains and sugars.
- Dangerous levels of mercury and PCBs in the diet – Eating a lot of fish is a major part of Dr. Agatston’s regimen, which means you could potentially be ingesting dangerous levels of mercury and PCBs that can cause neurological disorders and other serious diseases. It would also cost over $90 a week for a dieter to follow the South Beach Diet’ recommended fish intake.
- Commercially pasteurized milk is good – Many people are unaware that they have problems with food allergies caused by pasteurized casein from commercially pasteurized milk, problems which usually disappear completely, if they switch to raw, organic milk.
- The saturated fat myth – Dr. Agatston still believes in the dangerous myth that saturated fat is bad for you. The truth is, some high quality saturated food, such as virgin coconut oil, needs to be part of a truly healthy diet.
- Artificial sweeteners are good for you – The use of aspartame/NutraSweet, which has been associated to a number of diseases like cancer and diabetes, is encouraged by the South Beach Diet.
- Misguided advice on trans fats – Dr. Agatston clearly contradicts himself when he states that trans fats are dangerous but says that French fries and potato chips are healthier than baked potatoes because of the “fat in which they’re cooked.” These foods tend to be very high in trans fats and are among the unhealthiest foods you can consume.
- Synthetic margarines are better than real butter – The process of producing synthetic margarine completely distorts the physical structure of its fats, making it nearly as dangerous as margarines that contain trans fats. As mentioned above, some saturated fat, such as those found in raw organic butter and virgin coconut oil, are necessary for optimal health.
- Lack of nutritional insight can cause cancer – Dr. Agatston further displays his lack of nutritional awareness by promoting peanut butter as a good source of monounsaturated fat and the antioxidant resveratrol, when peanuts are probably the crop most heavily-sprayed with pesticides, and are very susceptible to contamination by afflatoxin, a carcinogenic mold spore.
- The use of statin drugs to lower cholesterol – Dr. Agatston actually takes a statin drug to lower his cholesterol levels, apparently unaware of the many dangers associated with cholesterol-lowering medication, when there are natural ways to lower cholesterol.
- The South Beach Diet is another one-size-fits-all diet – Dr. Agatston ignores the fact that we have different genetic requirements for optimal health. Some people thrive on a high carb diet while others need the low-carb, high-protein diet that Dr. Atkins advocates.
- Too little exercise requirement – Dr. Agatston’s advice on exercise, an important part of any weight loss program, is highly debatable. He says 20 minutes of exercise per day is enough, which is only applicable if one is already in shape. Many Americans have developed a serious exercise deficiency and will need higher levels of exercise to significantly produce a metabolic response that will continuously burn fats, especially while one sleeps.
- Lack of guidance on the glycemic index – Like the Atkins diet, the South Beach Diet promotes the use of the glycemic index, which is too flawed to be of any value.
- Does not address the emotional issues associated with weight gain – Most people on fad diets like the South Beach Diet will not permanently lose weight because they do not tackle the emotional challenges that come with dieting, such as cravings, food addictions, self-image issues and the other self-sabotaging behavior.