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Weight loss

The South Beach Diet says that you'll lose 8 to 13 pounds (3.6 to 5..9 kilograms) in the two-week period that you're in phase 1. It also says that most of the weight will be shed from your midsection. In phase 2, it says that you'll likely lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week.

Most people can lose weight on almost any diet, especially in the short term. Most important to weight loss is how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn off. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation. Although it may seem slow, it's a pace that's more likely to help you maintain your weight loss permanently.

Losing a large amount of weight rapidly could indicate that you're losing water weight or lean tissue, rather than fat. In some situations, however, faster weight loss can be safe if it's done in a healthy way. For example, some diets include an initiation phase to help you jump-start your weight loss, including the South Beach Diet and the Mayo Clinic Diet.

Health benefits

The South Beach Diet, while mainly directed at weight loss, may promote certain healthy changes. Research shows that following a long-term eating plan that's rich in healthy carbohydrates and dietary fats can improve your health. For example, lower carbohydrate diets with healthy fats may improve your blood cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, no long-term, randomized controlled clinical trials have measured the health outcomes of the South Beach Diet. Nor have there been such studies of the overall health or cardiovascular benefits of following a low-glycemic-index diet. But eating such foods as whole grains, unsaturated fats, vegetables and fruits should help to promote good health.

Risks

The South Beach Diet is generally safe if you follow it as outlined in official South Beach Diet books and websites. However, if you severely restrict your carbohydrates, you may experience problems from ketosis. Ketosis occurs when you don't have enough sugar (glucose) for energy, so your body breaks down stored fat, causing ketones to build up in your body. Side effects from ketosis can include nausea, headache, mental fatigue and bad breath, and sometimes dehydration and dizziness.

Jun. 05, 2014 See more In-depth