For the past months, we (forum admins and moderators) debated whether to create a South Beach Diet
sub-forum for our members. After exhaustive study/reading/debate, we have voted, Yes
, but with serious reservations, and for a trial period to see how it develops. Therefore, we would like to provide some background on the critical issues involved in reaching this decision:
1. Maintaining a Supportive Atmosphere
: We pride ourselves on maintaining a very supportive environment and flame-war free space for support and discussion. We do not intend or pretend to be all things to all people. For the low-carb plans that we do support, we want to ensure compatibility between the plans. If we find the situation unmanageable, or if we find we need to constantly remind members to be civil to each other and respect followers of other low-carb plans, we may need to reconsider whether maintaining an SBD forum is a good idea. But, from past experience with our members, we trust this will not be necessary and that all low-carb followers can respect followers of other low-carb plans.
2. Support for healthy low-carb lifestyle
: We have a fundamental disagreement with SBD's position towards natural animal fats, i.e. saturated fats. While SBD broke from the mainstream of traditional diets of preaching low-fat and low-calorie, it kept one questionable idea--disdain for naturally existing saturated fats from animals and plants. There is a large body of new scientific evidence correcting this misconception, and Dr. Agatston provided no supporting evidence of any dangers from animal fats. To our knowledge, all studies condemning saturated fats were conducted on specifically high-carb diets
So, we encourage SBD followers to research the issue, as they may miss out on a lot of valuable, healthy, natural, fat-soluble vitamins and minerals that exist in natural saturated fats. Additional information and references related to this issue are provided at the bottom of this post.
3. South Beach Diet is a Low-Carb Diet:
This point is intended for those who have not read the SBD book, regardless of which plan they follow. While the book opens up with a sentence, "this is not a low-carb diet", the entire book is focused on reducing carb intake, and making carb choices based on the Glycemic Index. There is a misconception surrounding SBD, that it is low-calorie, and/or low-fat. This is incorrect, as there is not fat or caloric restrictions in the book. However, this misconception may be based on some of the daily menus listed in the book and on various web sites, particularly with the amount of low-fat products, egg substitutes and fat-free cooking spray recommended. The book specifically discourages using low-fat products, due to the usual substitution for fat with sugar and processed carbs. It is worth explaining that the book only mentions low-fat dairy, due to its position regarding saturated fats. i.e. the book is not encouraging low-fat, it's advocating low saturated fats. We disagree with the author's position on saturated fats, as there are no supporting studies for this position. However, the plan is not low-fat, as such a label is not accurate. The plan is low on saturated fats.
4. Modified South Beach Diet:
While we support those who follow SBD by the book, we are in essence promoting a modified version of the plan. i.e. SBD without limitations on saturated fats. But this is merely a suggested approach, and as stated, we encourage you to follow your own research of available scientific literature.
We are highlighting the above four points in order to prevent any possible misunderstandings. We support the South Beach Diet and consider it a valid low-carb plan. We do not consider it low-fat, or low-calorie. Yet we maintain that the author is in error in claiming that saturated fats are dangerous. He may be right. But until there is valid scientific research proving this point, we advise SBD followers to read the existing scientific literature to make an informed decision.
We should point out that this is our policy in general. We support all healthy low-carb plans, but we do not consider any specific low-carb author to be perfect. We respect every member's right to point out any disagreements they have with any specific low-carb plans and we've dedicated a specific forum(Low-Carb Research & Studies) that can be used for this purpose. We have also dedicated a special forum (The War Zone) for debates on issues based on opinions and that lack any supporting scientific evidence.
As always, we do not tell members what or what not to eat. Rather, we advise members to read the books for the plan they follow, do their own research and discuss with others, and follow the plan that works best for them.
However, please do not be offended and do not consider it any form of bashing when we highlight scientific evidence disproving the claimed dangers of saturated fats. Indeed, we invite you to contribute any research you find on this issue.
In conclusion, we hope having you with us does not create any conflicts and that any discussion regarding saturated fats, either for or against, will be welcomed and considered a helpful tool for research and not as insults or bashing.
Active Low-Carber Team
Know Your Fats
.. from the Weston A. Price Foundation
High saturated fat, no-starch diet doesn't raise cholesterol
.. from the Mayo Clinic
Saturated Fats are better for you than Unsaturated fats
.. facts on coconut oil
Understanding Ornish--When saturated fats cause heart disease
Study shows Saturated Fat not linked to Diabetes
27 studies show saturated fat raises "good" HDL
Dietary Trans Fatty Acids vs. Butter
The Soft Science of Dietary Fat
.. Gary Taubes 2001 Science