A 30-year-old Caucasian male without significant past medical history presented with a two day history of nausea, vomiting and diffuse abdominal pain. The patient denied use of any medications (prescription or nonprescription) or any illicit substances. He did admit to occasional ethanol ingestion stating that he consumed four alcoholic beverages (approximately 0.6 ounces ethanol each) the night prior to the onset of symptoms. The patient had a family history of diabetes mellitus type 2 on both the paternal and maternal side.
SBD Enterprises LLC, of which Agatston is a part owner, owns the "South Beach Diet" trademark. In December 2015 Nutrisystem acquired SBD for $15 million.:20–21 Nutrisystem, a publicly traded company, reported that in 2015 it spent $124 million in marketing:13 and had $463M in revenue.:24 It also said that it planned to launch new lines of South Beach products by 2017 that it would market through retail stores and on the internet.:21
Participants ate one of the three aforementioned dietary patterns in 3 separate phases of the trial, including (1) Screening, (2), Run-in and (3) Intervention. In the screening phase, participants were screened for eligibility based on the combined results of blood pressure readings. In the 3 week run-in phase, each subject was given the control diet for 3 weeks, had their blood pressure measurements taken on each of five separate days, gave one 24-hour urine sample and completed a questionnaire on symptoms. At this point, subjects who were compliant with the feeding program during the screening phase were each randomly assigned to one of the three diets outlined above, to begin at the start of the 4th week. The intervention phase followed next; this was an 8-week period in which the subjects were provided the diet to which they had been randomly assigned. Blood pressures and urine samples were collected again during this time together with symptom & physical activity recall questionnaires. The first group of study subjects began the run-in phase of the trial in September 1994 while the fifth and final group began in January 1996. Each of the three diets contained the same 3 grams (3,000 mg) of sodium, selected because that was the approximate average intake in the nation at the time. Participants were also given two packets of salt, each containing 200 mg of sodium, for discretionary use. Alcohol was limited to no more than two beverages per day, and caffeine intake was limited to no more than three caffeinated beverages.