• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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The South Beach Diet
by Dr. Arthur Agatston

The Food-Mood Solution: All-Natural Ways to Banish Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Stress, Overeating, and Alcohol and Drug Problems--and Feel Good Again
by Jack Challem, Melvyn R. Werbach MD

What you eat does affect your mind. Keen attention to eating healthy can help improve many mental health disorders.

Page updated January 8, 2016

Healthy Lifestyles -Health Book Reviews
-------The South Beach Diet, by Arthur Agatston, M.D.

The South Beach Diet is a weight loss program which provides nutritional guidelines for a healthy lifestyle.

Recommended by cardiologist Dr. Nate Lebowitz as a good diet for weight-loss, he lost 30 pounds on the diet, The South Beach Diet provides good nutritional information for those with limited knowledge of nutrition, and good reminders for those who already have a working knowledge of nutrition. Additionally, Agatston provides useful ideas on how processed foods can affect our weight, and what to do to correct that trend in the way we eat.

The South Beach Diet is not fad, doesn’t recommend a lot of supplements, is very conservative in this area, recommending a multi-vitamin and perhaps some other supplements if you really think you need it. The books is non-vegetarian, regular servings of meat is included, and the diet doesn’t work with interactions of food combinations, although he does recommend eating protein with starches, rather than starches, such as potatoes, alone, this helps to contribute to a slower digestion of the starches, which turn to sugar in your body.

The theory behind The South Beach Diet, which is pretty sound, is maintaining a stable blood sugar level by avoiding processed foods, and avoiding foods with a high sugar content. He divides the diet into three parts, the first two-weeks of vigorous dieting, where, if you are overweight, you can expect to lose between eight to 13 pounds. The second tier is a less rigorous diet, where you are allowed fruits and a little leeway with your choices, and the third part is maintenance.

Dr. Agatston is a cardiologist and he developed the diet in response to the needs of his patients, many of whom had heart problems because they were overweight. His feeling is that medication is needed only as a last, rather than first resort, although he does recommend statins for cholesterol control, which he himself takes. However, all of the major and mid-range surgical heart interventions can be avoided, according to Agatston, if you give attention to diet and weight loss. The book was designed with that in mind, and has a broader application to general weight loss.

Additionally, modest exercise is a part of the plan, 20 minutes per day every day. Brisk walking is top on the list, but any exercise which breaks a sweat will do. Some weight-training is also helpful.

The South Beach Diet recommends a diet contributing towards a healthy lifestyle, rather than a fad to use for several weeks or months.

The South Beach Diet is first, a diet, and second, an aid in developing a healthy lifestyle, not a fad to try out for a few weeks or months and then go back to your old ways once you have lost the weight.

As far as mental health goes, The South Beach Diet presents principles in nutrition which can help anyone who is dealing with any mental health issue including depression, bipolar disorder any mental health solution plan should include nutrition and weight loss. Also, the principles of prevention and emphasis on lifestyle changes rather than emphasis on prescriptions and major interventions, parallel a currently non-mainstream approach to mental health. Lifestyle can be one of the most important factors in mental health self help and treatment. Diet is of importance, as is exercise.

Agatston describes how one diabetic who took insulin used the South Beach Diet to lose weight, and as a result, not only lost weight, but was able to stop taking insulin. In this respect, in terms of the current approach of a pure medical model that some subscribe to in mental health treatment, with attention to lifestyle and prevention, a substantial percentage of those who are currently on medication for mental health disorders can achieve improvement to the point that medication is no longer necessary for good mental health treatment and maintenance. In other words, in the same way the diabetic can come off medication as a result of lifestyle changes, a large percentage of those with mental health disorders or difficulties can do the same. This is sound medicine and science.

Conclusion on South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is not a Bible on weight loss or on health. There seems to be some discrepancies or possible inaccuracies in one of the charts describing the sugar content of various foods. Some of the general statements made, referring to clinical studies, are not references, so one is left with a statement on health with little or no proof, a statement that any doctor can make or quote.

However, all in all, most of what is presented is logical and helpful, and it could be a useful book for many who need to lose weight, or for those interested in a nutritional approach to weight loss or prevention in terms of cardiac issues.

Pages Related to Physical Health and Diet

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