This diet knows taste matters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am


South Beach Diet
Rating: 8/10

As I logged on to the app for the first time, the photo of what looked like a delicious bowl of prawn laksa immediately set my stomach rumbling. Surely an app designed to help you lose weight should not make you feel hungrier than before.

The South Beach Diet is not new and has proven to be effective. The concept is that you will lose weight if you eat foods that are light to moderate in calories but satisfy your hunger: 'You don't have to count calories, but calories do count.'

The first phase lasts just 14 days and the literature suggests that you might lose as much as 4.5kg, which is just about right to fit in with my holiday plans. On logging on to the app, you must register and then provide your vital statistics. The app suggested an 'ideal weight' for me, one I considered unreasonably low but if losing weight is this easy, perhaps it's reasonable.

The app provides a list of things you can eat in each phase, and in phase 1, cheese, chicken, dairy, nuts, greens and coconut milk are included. Foods to avoid: bread, bran cereal, brown rice, some fruit, champagne and carrots.

Like all good weight-loss apps, this comes with a journal in which you can log your exercise and food consumption and keep an eye on your daily calorie goal. Add food from a list of recommended meals, add custom foods or scan a barcode. Ideally, you should be keeping things simple and adding items from your recommended meal plan.

The plan comprises five meals a day and includes such items as Asian turkey meatballs in lettuce, creamy broccoli soup and even a funky chilled espresso custard. All recipes come with a photograph, ingredient list and preparation instructions.

It sounds satisfying, but it's a logistical nightmare because all of this and more might be on a single day's meal plan.

And that is where they have you; by becoming a paid subscriber and logging on to the website, you can customise your meal plan, choose from even more recipes, create a shopping list and even get advice from a nutritionist. So I paid HK$38 for a seven-day subscription.

Be warned: the subscription will auto-renew until you cancel it by logging on to your iTunes account.