Biggest Loser vs. South Beach Diet

Every diet that is designed to help lose weight has to address the following question:

How do you keep from eating too much food?

The South Beach Diet (SBD) teaches you about fats and carbs, specifically the glycemic index. It teaches you that cravings are going to come if you eat too many high glycemic index carbs as the blood sugar levels drop off too quickly. And it addresses the question above by imploring you to eat 3 meals a day and have snack in between with a dessert after dinner. You are never more than 3-4 hours from a meal this way (unless asleep) so you find it more difficult to get ravenously hungry. 

My problem with the SBD is that you really don’t know if you are going to lose weight. You get in your head that a few nuts are ok, then you find yourself putting nuts in the ok group and you eat a few more. The focus of the diet is not to count calories, so by not doing so you don’t see the drastic amounts of overeating that go on as you grab three small handfuls of cashews over the evening. The diet of course is not at fault, it specifically tells you to eat only one 15-nut portion per day. But the rest of the diet is eat when you are hungry the foods that are ok to eat and you just confuse the nuts as being on that list. The whole glycemic index is important, but it isn’t king. Calories are king. If you don’t track calories you can get screwed.

If you are doing the SBD, I would recommend trying the food log thing for a week. To maintain your weight you need to eat about 10 times your body weight in pounds if you are not active. My last post will go into more detail than this if you really want an accurate number. If the SBD is not having you eat below this number then you will not lose weight. I just switched to the Biggest Loser Diet and found out what my problem was with not losing weight on the SBD. This exercise of logging calories is very helpful. It only takes a short time, if you eat the same things many days then you might not even need to do it for a whole week. Just do it for the foods you tend to love to eat to make sure they are working for you and not against you.

The Biggest Loser Diet (BL) teaches you about calories and how much to eat and then also forces you to exercise. You get a set amount of calories and thats it. There is a pyramid to follow so that hopefully you will fill up with lots of unprocessed foods with fiber in them. You also eat snacks between meals, so it is the same as SBD in this respect that you don’t get too hungry cause you just ate recently. You simply eat 7 times you body weight in pounds in calories. This guarantees you will lose weight even if you don’t exercise. You can cheat a bit with a few calories, and just use willpower to overcome the hunger for a day. For example I ate a half burger the other day that was 250 calories. It was easy enough to fit this in and not go over the limit for the day. This may not be the case when I get closer to my goal weight, but for now a craving here and there can be subdued inside the framework of the BL plan.

You need the extra portions of carbs you get in the BL as compared to the SBD so you have energy when you are working out. The feeling of having your brain in control and getting you on the workout equipment to only have your body feel weak and unable to perform from lack of blood sugar sucks. That is what happened to me on the SBD. This is not going to happen with all the fruits and grains you get on BL. For example, my favorite snack to eat so far is only 150 calories. I cut up a few strawberries about 2/3 of a cup and mix up with 1/2 cup of plain unsweetened lowfat yogurt and a packet of sweetleaf stevia. I am so surprised how darn good this is compared to a yogurt that has all the fruit and sugar already mixed in. Not to mention there is way more fruit than a pre-mixed yogurt. It tastes 10 times better and no processed fruit. You get some carbs and it is only 150 calories for about a cup worth of yogurt. I feel like I am eating a dessert, and I suppose it could be eaten that way, but the beauty of it is that this does not go in the “other” column. It is fruit and dairy, both of which are part of the pyramid of foods you get to eat from without guilt.

There is a weakness for the BL diet. The one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is the part where they tell you not to eat white potatoes. They are nutritous, but just don’t eat them as they will make you hungry. They do not even mention the glycemic index. If you are doing the BL diet and don’t know what the glycemic index is, you should learn. I think it will help me to do the BL that much more effectively. I have already felt the effects of eating higher glycemic index foods. I combat this by moving a higher glycemic index fruit snack closer to the meal. For example, if I am going to eat pineapple and cottage cheese for a morning snack I need to eat this closer to lunch say 10:30-11:00, where a snack of celery and carrots can be eaten around 9:30-10:00. This way the cravings that start to happen will come right as I did into lunch and they won’t be there early.

Another mistake I made with the BL was getting all gung ho on eating fewer calories. I am supposed to eat about 1500. One day I ate 1100 because of all the pre-planning my wife and I did. She has to eat fewer calories so when I eat the same things I tend to be low (this is how I can fit a half-burger cheat in by the way). So one day I just stopped at 1100. I figured, “cool”, 400 calories for free that much quicker. But I felt a bit weak the next workout. I don’t think the diet talks about this at all but I think it is important to stay at this level to have the energy required to do the intense workouts.


I will randomly choose a winner, not unlike MizFit often does, and send snail mail with a prize in one week. If…

If you read this post I would like to ask you to leave a comment. I know there are a lot of readers and of course a lot of search engines that crawl the web. I would like to see, by way of response, how many people and not computers read my blog.

You can tell me that you like it or don’t like it or just simply say ” I read it”. It will only take a few seconds and I want to know how many of you, with eyeballs, there are.

So even if it is months down the road, leave a comment.



Tags: ,

2 Responses to “Biggest Loser vs. South Beach Diet”

  1. Alexia Says:

    I find that, for myself, I have to focus on living rather than the dieting. Meaning, I can’t spend my day calculating, measuring, etc. I know it works great for many, but I get all OCD about it and end up not living this wonderful life 🙂

  2. Jen Says:

    Thanks for all the great info. Your earlier posting on how to calculate BMR, etc, was extremely helpful. I have been keeping a food diary and working out (some) and was getting a bit discouraged that i only lost 1 pound this week. But after doing the math, i found that umm… that’s exactly right. (to the calorie – is a little freaky).
    I haven’t dug into the Biggest Looser diet yet – maybe i should have a look to see how it compares to the “hybrid of all diets” i’m working on now. I’m an old fan of the SBD, but totally agree with your assessment – i’m trying something different now because i just wasn’t loosing weight on it.
    So thanks for the 411 and good luck to you! good luck to all of us! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: