Arthur Agatston, M.D., is a preventive cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In 1995, Dr. Agatston developed the South Beach Diet to help his cardiac and diabetes patients improve their blood chemistries and lose weight. Since then, his book The South Beach Diet and its companion titles have sold more than 22 million copies. Dr. Agatston has published more than 100 scientific articles and abstracts in medical journals, and recently he received the prestigious Alpha Omega Award from New York University Medical Center for outstanding achievement in the medical profession. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, Sari.
Despite the glitzy title, this is one of the more appealing diet books among the new "anti-carb" programs. Agatston, a doctor based at Miami Beach's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, found that his patients not only were unable to stay on various popular diets but their cholesterol and blood sugar levels remained dangerously high after trying these plans. The doctor chose to alter his own diet-first avoiding all carbohydrates and fruit and then reintroducing these foods in moderation. Feeling better and losing weight, he then consulted a nutritionist to modify his strategy to devise a sound method for his patients. The South Beach diet begins with a somewhat restrictive two-week program, generally producing a weight loss of from eight to 13 pounds. The initial phase may be difficult for those who crave bread, pasta and fruit. But there are still choices, and snacks (cheese, hummus, vegetables) are a necessary part of the diet. People shouldn't feel hungry on this part of the diet, stresses the author. The second phase offers somewhat more choices, including whole wheat bread and other selected carbohydrates. Agatston advocates combining the "bad" with the "good." For example, take whole wheat bread and dip it into olive oil, rather than using butter. Eat a very small amount of pasta with lots of vegetables, meat and healthy oils. Complete meal plans along with simple recipes comprise roughly half the book. Of course, there's no perfect diet that works for everyone but the enthusiasm of the conversational tone and the inviting manner make the book more appealing than many other diet tomes. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
"Dr. Agatston is a noted cardiologist who's made many contributions, but The South Beach Diet may be his best. Importantly, this is not 'another diet book.' This is a book about health and well-being. Dr. Agatston does an outstanding job of explaining the importance of the types of food we eat and its impact on preventing illnesses, such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. Not only will you feel better if you follow his diet, but you will look and live better." --Randolph P. Martin, M.D., director of noninvasive cardiology at Emory University Hospital, Atlanta "The real value of the book is its sound nutritional advice." --Newsweek "I have tried every diet-including Weight Watchers, The Zone, Atkins, Jenny Craig-and have had a difficult time staying on those programs. The South Beach Diet is easy, simple, and delicious." --Linda Richman, author of I'd Rather Laugh