Dr. Arthur Agatston, cardiologist and South Beach Diet developer
Dr. Arthur Agatston, cardiologist and South Beach Diet developer

Dr. Arthur Agatston, cardiologist and South Beach Diet developer, talks about diet and exercise:

Q: In your newest book, “The South Beach Diet Supercharged,” you write that “the diet debates are over.” What do you mean?

A: The consensus is that we’re beyond low-fat versus low-carb debates … The answer is healthy carbs — nutrient-dense, high-fiber, vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains; the good fats — omega-3 fish oils, olive oil … These principles are, I would say, set in stone.

Q: You also include exercise in “Supercharged” because you say there’s new evidence about the best way to exercise. What is that?

A: The major thing is the benefits of interval exercise. … The analogy we use is driving a car. Doing highway driving at a steady speed, you burn less gas than if you are starting and stopping and accelerating. … Doing short bursts, from as little as 10-12 seconds to 30-second bursts of higher-intensity exercise, you get a lot more high-intensity exercise in than if you just sprinted, because (with sprinting) you’d get tired in no time.

It also appears that you get muscle adaptations where you burn more fat as well. And even given the same amount of total calorie burning, by doing episodes of high intensity, you burn more fat, you handle sugar and your insulin levels are improved.

Especially for everyone who’s so busy, 20 minutes is totally adequate for the intervals.

Q: Is there a difference in the kind of fat that’s burned in interval exercise?

A: A study from (a scientific journal) took a group of untrained women _ a control group, steady-state exercisers and women doing interval training _ and the interval trainers burned more belly fat than the steady-state exercisers or the control group. They improved insulin levels as well. That does help you reduce the dangerous type of fat, the belly fat.

— McClatchy Tribune