The South Beach Diet

What Is The South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet official website says ” The South Beach diet is truly a food lover’s diet.” This diet is compared to the Atkins Diet because they are similar, but The South Beach Diet is considered by many to be a healthier option. The main difference between these two diets is simple. The Atkins Diet is focused on eliminating sugar so that your body can burn fat. The South Beach Diet looks at the amount of sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index are considered ok.

The South Beach Diet was created and written by, Cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston. In the mid 1990’s, Dr. Agatston devised a diet for his patients to improve their health and lose weight. It worked so well that hundreds of people ended up using the diet with great success. Later Dr. Agatston wrote his book, The South Beach Diet.

If you are looking for a diet where you won’t starve, this could be the one for you. In fact snacking is encouraged with the South Beach Diet. However, there are foods that are off limits. Sugar rich foods like potatoes, corn, rice and most sugary desserts are not allowed. The basis of the South Beach Diet is that we all consume too many carbs. Our bodies crave these foods and because they get digested too quickly, our insulin levels spike, causing us to crave more food. In return we eat more carbs and the cycle starts over again. The idea is to break this cycle and create a new way of eating that will not only help us eat less, but make us not want to over eat.

The South Beach Diet Is Composed of 3 Phases.

The first phase of the South Beach Diet is the shortest and also the most restricted on what you can eat. This phase will last 2 weeks and is designed to stop the cravings for sugars. This is the phase that will put the most emphasis on eliminating foods from you diet that are considered carbs. You will have 3 meals a day and 2 opportunities to snack. Foods like seafood, chicken, nuts, and eggs are all good choices.

Phase 2 will introduce good carbs back into your diet. Foods like whole-wheat pasta and allowed vegetables. In this phase you will learn a new way to eat. There are specific meal plans for Phase 2 and many of these recipes can be found on the official website at: One of the advantages to using a diet like The South Beach Diet is you get to explore food choices, learn how to make new meals and maybe even discover some foods you have been missing out on. Phase 2 still restricts carbs to some extent, but compared to other diets you should not go hungry.

The last phase, Phase 3 is basically on-going. By the time you get here you should understand what you need to eat to stay healthy and make smarter choices when it comes to food. This phase begins once your weight goal is met. This phase is not just a phase but rather a lifestyle. Making a commitment to a diet like The South Beach Diet is not about how long you have to move through phases. It’s about changing your life for he better and learning how to make appropriate choices for your meals and over all health.

South Beach Diet Tips

Educate Yourself – Being well educated about your diet is the first step. When starting a diet you want to know what you are in for. Ask yourself, is this diet something I can see myself completing, but be positive.

Plan Your Meals – Find recipes for the South Beach Diet that you will like and make a list of what meals you plan to prepare. Before you go shopping make a list of the foods you are allowed and only buy those foods. This will help eliminate chances of falling victim to cravings.

Exercise – The South Beach Diet calls for 20 minutes of fitness each day. Find a time each day you can exercise that you can stick to. Walk at lunch or get up an extra half an hour early each day and follow a workout routine. Find what works for you, but you have to stay motivated.

Support – Like any diet, starting and staying on the plan can be tough. Do The South Beach Diet with a friend or family member. You can help keep each other motivated. The official South Beach Diet website also offers some support tools including message boards for questions and a buddy network.

Understanding The Glycemic Index

One of the most popular questions for the South Beach Diet is what foods are allowed and which foods are off limits during the phases of the diet. One of the tools the South Beach Diet teaches is portion control. The diet promotes snacking and eating 3 meals daily, but it’s what makes up the meals and snacks that remains key. Although the diet does not count carbs, The South Beach Diet takes sugar rich carbs out of your daily menu at first, then reintroduces some as the diet progresses. The South Beach Diet chooses carbs based on the Glycemic Index. When you choose to consume low GI carbs, these foods produce small changes in our glucose and insulin levels, opposed to large changes from high GI carbs. Using the South Beach Diet your body will consume low GI carbs then introduce some of the higher ones later. Sticking to a low GI carb diet is said to be the way to reduce the risks of heart disease and ultimately lose weight.

The South Beach Diet Phase 1

Starting The South Beach Diet

Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is the most restrictive of all the 3 phases. The purpose of phase 1 is to stabilize your blood sugar and help control cravings for future phases. Phase 1 lasts two weeks. You are encouraged to start at phase 1 if you plan to lose more than ten pounds or if you have trouble with controlling cravings for foods high in sugar.

Just like any diet plan it is important to educate yourself on the diets full protocol and get familiar with the foods allowed. If you don’t think the recipes and meal plans will work for you, it may be best to choose a different option. The South Beach Diet Phase 1 foods will consist of chicken, fish, lean meats, vegetables, eggs and other low-fat dairy. Foods like starches and sugars will be prohibited. You will also stay clear from fruit juices and grains during phase 1 and will re-introduce these items later in the diet.

The South Beach Diet Phase 1 will consist of three meals per day. You will also be allowed 2 snacks and dessert. Keep in mind the dessert will need to be high in protein and of low sugar content. The snacks you will consume each day during Phase 1 are actually mandatory and are meant to help control cravings. The snacks will be eaten a couple hours after a meal or just before cravings usually begin.

Making A Plan For The South Beach Diet

Once you have done your research and have decided that the South Beach Diet might be your answer, you will need to do a few things to ensure success.

1. Let’s get rid of all the foods in your home that are not on the menu. Making sure these foods are not accessible will help when cravings arise.

2. Make a meal plan. A for sure way to fall off any diet and get discouraged is to go at it with no plan. When you know what you are going to eat each day and shop accordingly, you are much more likely to stick to the plan. The official website calls for you to plan out a week in advance. They also offer a members only customized daily meal planner tool. Below are a few essential items.

South Beach Diet Shopping List

• Chicken breast and other lean meats
• Canadian bacon
• Vegetables – tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spinach
• Lettuce and salad dressing
• Eggs
• Snacks – nuts, cheese and sugar free popsicles or jello

3. Help and Support. Dieting is tough and the South Beach Diet is no exception. Any diet that is worth doing will not be easy. You will need will power and drive. Sometimes this is not enough and it helps to have support from others. Most feel the diet gets easier as you go. The first few weeks during phase 1 are the most difficult. Support could include a friend, co-worker or family member you can do the diet with. The official website offers message boards, and other support help for dieters along their weight loss journey.

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