Wider options, slimmer waistlines

The next time you grab a quick meal at the dining hall before heading to South Beach, you may just eat a meal from South Beach Diet. At the end of last semester, Chartwells Dining Services added a “South Beach Diet” label to some of its items.

The South Beach Diet was developed by a cardiologist named Arthur Agatson, who practices here in Miami. The diet was developed to meet the needs of cardiac patients who needed to lose weight without suffering ketosis. Dr. Agatson then publicised the diet’s success in the book South Beach Diet, a national bestseller.

“We use the South Beach identifier to bring attention to healthy options,” Mel Tenen, director of auxiliary services, said. The diet involves choosing proper carbs, like whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables, lean protein and the right fats; this includes olive and canola oil which offer adequate amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats (as opposed to saturated and trans fats). The diet preaches high intake of grains and large amounts of vegetables. However, it discourages consumption of overly refined foods like flours and sugars.

“It’s an honest effort by Chartwells to serve healthier food,” Su Luo, sophomore, said.

Items in the dining halls from South Beach Diet include Greek salads, fresh omelets with mushrooms and cheese, and savory chicken.

“We want to offer a healthy diet with variation,” Magnus Meekins, executive chef of Mahoney/Pearson dining hall, said.

The dieting part of the South Beach Diet comes in three steps. The first step involves eliminating cravings for unpreffered carbs by not eating grains or fruits and trying to eat foods with a low glycemic index such as whole grains instead of flour.

Recommended items are lean meat, fish, eggs and plenty of vegetables. The second step introduces whole grains and fruit. Finally, phase three involves maintenance of weight by consuming whole grains and three servings of fruit a day.

But the South Beach Diet doesn’t necessarily mean going on a diet. Students can use the signs to indicate the most health apealing and nutritious items at the dining hall.

“It’s been successful over the years and it’s broken down with all the nutrition you need and people are getting success out of it,” Rob Canavan, manager of Mahoney/Pearson Dining Hall, said.

Nisha Shah can be contacted at n.shah@umiami.edu.