Pros: Handy little pocket guide for those following the South Beach diet
Cons: Not a stand-alone book; make sure you have The South Beach Diet as well
Rating: 5 out of 5
First posted 2/14/2006
I recently reviewed “The South Beach Diet;” if you don’t know much about the diet you should read that review first. This book, “The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide (revised),” is an adjunct to that book, not a guide to the diet itself.
This is a relatively small book, and it’s meant as something you can easily tote to the grocery store with you to help you buy the right things from week to week. The South Beach Diet’s guidelines are simple enough that for the most part, with a little experience, you won’t need a book, but for the first few weeks we found this guide invaluable. It also acts as a great quick-reference from time to time when you need info on corner-cases and little things you can’t remember, and as a sort of summary version of the diet.
The beginning of this guide answers a few frequently asked questions about the diet. For instance, since the diet stresses eggs as a healthy breakfast food, what if you don’t like eggs? And do sugar alcohols (mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol) make viable sugar substitutes for the diet’s purposes, or are you stuck with sucralose and the like? It also includes quick lists of good and bad foods for each of the diet’s three phases. It serves as a good reminder that this is not a “carbs are evil!” diet, but rather a diet that encourages you to choose, as the title says, “good fats” and “good carbs.”
The end of the book includes a quick supermarket cheat sheet about items you can easily grab that’ll fit into the diet, as well as a brief guide to dining out.
The main attraction of the book, however, is its food listing. It contains extensive charts of foods, from beans and legumes to condiments, candy bars, fast food, sauces, nuts, pizza, poultry, meats, salad dressings, vegetables, and so on. Each of these comes with a handy set of check boxes for the various phases of the diet. A “G” in this box means that the food is good for you to eat during that phase. “L” is limited (once a week or so), “V” is very limited (once a month or so), and “A” is avoid. This makes it easy to tell at a glance whether it’s okay to have something, and roughly how often, without having to get into all sorts of details. I found this contributed greatly over the first couple of weeks to my growing understanding of what I should and shouldn’t eat.
On the one hand, the South Beach Diet is a pretty intuitive diet, and if you feel you don’t need this side-book then you probably don’t. On the other, this makes a great pocket reference guide for the corner-cases (such as carrots being one of the few veggies you shouldn’t have in phase 1), and it can help you to build your intuitive understanding if you’re having trouble keeping things straight. Personally, I’m glad we got our copy and we definitely make use of it.