The mass marketing (and mass confusion) surrounding low-carbohydrate diets begs for the presentation of clear, concise and accurate information. Based on this need, I had high hopes for The South Beach Diet Good Fats/Good Carbs Guide, which is a miniature book designed to be a quick reference guide for anyone following the plan. Its premise—to clearly delineate what foods are permissible on the plan---is necessary because of the dieting reality that most people are eager to learn about the bottom line relating to losing inches and dropping pounds as opposed to the science behind it. Unfortunately, while the size and brevity of the guide intimates that it will be user friendly quick guide to the diet, it fails to offer enough valuable information to justify the expense of another diet book.
The bulk of the guide is a list of foods, their appropriate portion size, the total grams of sugar, fat and carbohydrates contained in a serving along with a recommendation as to what extent, if any, a South Beach dieter should consume these food choices. The instructions are limited to simple one word characterizations: good, limited, very limited or avoid. This component of the guide is clear and concise and consistent with the guide’s purpose.
The problem, however, is that includes a great deal of extraneous information that inadvertently sends the wrong message to dieters looking for a long-term weight management plan. For example, there is a large section on bread which lists items such as blueberry bagels, cinnamon raisin bagels, egg bagels, plain bagels, onion and sesame bagels, poppy seed bagels and whole wheat bagels. The recommendation for each bagel is “avoid.” So, a dieter trying to stay motivated to stay with a weight loss plan will see “avoid” next to
eight different items.
Further, this laundry lists merely reinforces the myths that the author tries to debunk that the plan severely limits the food that can be consumed. Some simple editing to educate the dieters to “avoid” bagels would lead to the same result and would be perceived as one item to avoid rather than eight. Unfortunately, the amount of information that I would consider extraneous is so extensive that its deletion would likely make it difficult for the publishers to justify the $7.99 cover price.
In all fairness, there are some instances that justify the inclusion of this type of detail. For example, the eating of beans begs for this type of explanation since vegetarian beans are good, homemade beans prepared with sugar along with those made with pork and beef may be used in a limited capacity, and those with bacon and brown sugar or honey and mustard should be avoided. For items such as this (and there are certainly others), this guide is a welcome publication. Unfortunately, this limited instances in which this type of explanation is appropriate does not justify the expense of yet another diet book likely to collect dust on your shelf.