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Volume 69, Issue 154, Thursday, July 15, 2004

Arts & Entertainment

Popular diet meals come at high price

Get Well

Ron Douthitt

With so many diets to choose from, people may become confused about which one is best for them. If you're adventurous, or if you don't feel really healthy and full of energy, there are many diet alternatives to try that may very well be that magic bullet for feeling much better, dropping those unwanted pounds or simply firming up.

The titular plan of Arthur Agatston's best-selling book The South Beach Diet involves eating three moderate meals per day, two high-protein snacks and a high-protein dessert after dinner. South Beach offers an excellent, if not highly creative, way to change eating habits. The South Beach dieter must love ricotta cheese, considering it serves as the high-protein dessert base each evening, so it may not be for everyone.

It's a very glamorous diet with an eclectic menu that is a real advantage if you live in South Beach, Fla., and have lots of currency to burn. The chefs of several high-end restaurants have gotten on board with Agatston and put some of their best recipes on their menus, as well as in the book for you to try at home.

A doctor wrote the book, so it is medically friendly, which is always a plus. It explains cardiovascular issues in detail, as well as important facts about diabetes. The diet progresses in three phases. In the first phase, fruit is taboo, but by the second phase it is reincorporated. Exercise is also stressed. This is an obviously less controversial, and certainly a healthier, more balanced diet than Atkins.

The important thing to remember about the South Beach Diet is that it is a relatively expensive diet to maintain, not to mention one that takes creativity and special meal planning with different herbs and spices to create dishes that may otherwise not taste great. There have been many diets in the past that stress elaborate meal planning, and that turns a lot of people off. Many don't have the time or the funds to undertake a diet like South Beach. But if you've got both, it's certainly a tasty option.

The Perricone Prescription is a relatively new book by Nicholas Perricone and a diet that is gaining in popularity with the jet set. This diet stresses salmon for practically every meal to give skin a healthy glow. Salmon contains what nutrition experts call "essential fatty acids." They are certainly essential for healthy skin glow: I was on a salmon kick for about a month, and it made a huge difference in my skin tone and texture. It did not make it scaly like a fish -- the effect was quite the opposite. I appeared to be ultra-hydrated and moist. When I cut back on the salmon, my skin turned back to its normal, combination texture. Salmon is also an expensive diet alternative in daily amounts.

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