"South Beach Diet" guru issues "wake-up call"

The South Beach Diet changed the way we lose weight. The original South Beach Diet was developed in 1995 by a cardiologist to help his cardiac and diabetic patients lose weight. The diet program replaced bad fats with healthy fats like nuts and oils and bad carbs with good carbs like those from vegetables, whole grains, and fruit.

But now  Dr. Arthur Agatston, who created that diet, says Americans are still gaining weight and getting sick from it. In his new book, "The South Beach Wake-Up Call," Agatston issues a wake-up call and reveals his new strategy to turn your health around.

Agatston points to issues with the common lifestyle of many Americans. He said on "The Early Show," "We are spending our days slumped over computers and then we grab fast food on the way home for dinner. Then we stay up half the night watching TV and staring at computer screens and not exercising. These are unintended consequences of the march of technology, like air pollution was caused by the industrial revolution. It's all fixable."

Agatston says these lifestyle issues are particularly prevalent among certain age groups, such as 30 to 45-year-olds.

He said, "That is the sickest generation. They are really the first fast food, video game generation. And for the first time in people born since World War II, their rates of heart attacks are actually going up, not down. And what they are really proving is a fast food sedentary lifestyle is trumping the effects of our medical advances. Older ages are decreasing heart attack rates."

But some are changing these habits, Agatston said. Young, educated "super moms" he said are raising their children to eat healthy food and exercise more. However, he said the problem begins for many kids when they reach school and healthy food options become less prevalent. Agatston says school programs that promote healthy eating need to spread across the U.S.

Another issue Agatston takes on is gluten. He explained, while some have an allergy to the protein found in bread, gluten today is not the same as our parents and grandparents consumed.

"We are consuming so much more processed wheat...and it's causing a myriad of problems, from arthritis, psoriasis, reflux, ... even migraine headaches making us feel lousy," he said. "Try a month off wheat. ... A lot more of us are intolerant to it than we previously thought."

Agatston also shared these lifestyle tips:

1. Get a good night's sleep

2. Eat as a family

3. Sit less.

And what's the diet guru's ideal meal? Agatston says it's salmon, red wine, broccoli, sweet potato and a little dark chocolate for dessert.

For more on Dr. Agatston's new book, and to take his "Do You Need a Wake-Up Call?" quiz, go to this website.


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