Truth Squad: 4-Day Dieting and Other Weight Loss Trends

What It Is: The South Beach Diet, developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, is a three-phase plan intended to help adherents lose weight in the short term and keep it off long-term. Of the three phases, the first is the most restrictive, especially when it comes to carbs. Dieters are instead encouraged to include lean protein and high-fiber vegetables in their meals. Phases 2 and 3 gradually reintroduce non-refined carbohydrates and other dietary elements.

The diet plan also encourages exercise as a part of the diet -- a feature that proponents say distinguishes it as a healthy lifestyle rather than simply a diet.

Expert Verdict:

Ayoob: "This one is pretty moderate. Developed by a cardiologist, it's heart-healthy. It tends to penalize refined carbs. They're really OK; just watch portions and go for whole grains whenever you have the choice. It also focuses on exercise, and that's the other part of the diet puzzle. Activity -- you've got to have it, or the diet works a heck of a lot more slowly."

Katz: "Surprisingly silly and short on substance, given the size of the following: cut out a lot of foods, add some back, then add some more back. At that point, if you start regaining weight, cut them all out again..."

Ikeda: "Where are the sequels? I'm waiting for the 'North Beach Diet,' the 'West Beach Diet,' and the 'East Beach Diet.' Or perhaps we need an 'Any Old Beach Diet.'"

Joseph Brownstein contributed to this report.


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