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AFTER keeping your bod under wraps all winter, it's nearly time to hit the beach. But if you don't feel bikini-ready just yet, you might be tempted to try the latest weight-loss book to hit shelves: "The South Beach Diet" by Dr. Arthur Agatston (Rodale Press).
The regime is credited with helping people shed pounds, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack, but cardiologist Dr. Jack Hauser, who specializes in heart-healthy diet planning found a few flaws with the newest diet craze.
Unlike Atkins and the Zone, which have turned carbohydrate into a dirty word, the South Beach Diet allows you to eat complex carbs - i.e. the "good" ones - such as sweet potatoes, whole grain bread and rice.
You're also allowed the so-called healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids) found in salmon, along with olive and canola oils, and nuts, as well as some saturated fat found in lean steaks.
"This type of diet is not only intended to help people lose pounds, but to also significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," Hauser says.
For the first two weeks, you're forbidden to eat bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, fruit, candy, cake, ice cream or alcohol - which Hauser finds extremely restrictive.
And although the book contains many tasty-sounding recipes, Hauser says that many are hard to prepare in a hurry.
"For the hectic day of the average dieter, it seems too arduous a task to prepare such creative dishes as vegetable quiche cups and artichokes Benedict," he says.