The South Beach Diet is a popular weight-loss diet created in 2003 by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and first outlined in his best-selling book, “The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss.” The South Beach Diet is a commercial weight-loss diet.
The South Beach Diet, which is named after a glamorous area of Miami, is sometimes called a modified low-carbohydrate diet. The South Beach Diet is lower in carbs (carbohydrates) and higher in protein and healthy fats than is a typical eating plan. But it’s not a strict low-carb diet, and you don’t have to count carbs.
What sort of diet is it?
Dr Agatston, a leading American cardiologist, originally created the South Beach diet for his heart patients. While his main aim was to improve their heart health, he discovered that as a side effect of the diet they also lost significant amounts of weight. He claims this isn’t a low-carb or low-fat diet – instead it focuses on eating the ‘right’ carbs and the ‘right’ fats. In fact, the South Beach Diet is based on the GI Diet. In practice, the diet severely restricts carbohydrates in the first two weeks, before gradually re-introducing those with a low glycaemic index. Plus it recommends swapping saturates for unsaturates.
What’s the theory?
The South Beach Diet follows the same principles of other diets based on the Glycaemic Index. When we’ve eaten, the carbohydrates in food get broken down into sugars, which are then absorbed into the blood causing a rise in blood sugar. In response, the hormone insulin is released from the pancreas to remove the sugar from the blood.
Carbohydrate-rich foods with a high glycaemic index, like bagels, cornflakes, white bread and jacket potatoes cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, resulting in the release of a large amount of insulin to deal with this. This causes blood sugar levels to drop rapidly, leaving you lacking in energy, craving more carbs and quickly feeling hungry so that you eat again. If this pattern is frequently repeated, you’re likely to gain weight as a result a constantly overeating. But on top of this, over time the body becomes resistant to the action of insulin and when this happens, the body becomes more effective at storing fat – especially around our middle! No surprises then that to lose weight, foods with a high GI are out!
In contrast, carbs with low glycaemic index such as pasta, pulses and porridge slowly release sugar into the blood, providing a steady supply of energy and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer. This means you get fewer carb cravings, don’t constantly feel hungry and so are less likely to overeat. Plus there’s less chance that your body will become resistant to the effects of insulin with the result that it continues to burn fat efficiently. Foods with a low GI are therefore recommended if you want to lose weight.
The South Beach Diet Phases
Phase One lasts for two weeks and bans bread, fruit, rice, dairy, pasta, baked goods, and potatoes. Alcohol is also off the menu. The harsh restrictions on South Beach Phase One are meant to help people kick their cravings for carbs.
In Phase Two, which lasts until the dieter has reached their goal weight, good carbs like fruit and low-fat dairy are reintroduced. If you have less than 10 pounds to lose and don’t have issues with cravings, you can skip Phase One and start here.
Phase Three, also known as the lifestyle phase, focuses on weight-maintenance and allows followers the occasional indulgence. The emphasis on the program is to decrease processed and simple carbs and to opt for lean protein, whole grains, and fiber-packed fruits and veggies. Instead of severely limiting carbs (a’la Atkins), your focus is on eating the right carbs.
There are a variety of delicious foods that you will be able to eat on the New South Beach Diet, but let’s take a look at just a few of the options you’ll feasting on for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and at snack time.
- Banana Nut Ricotta Muffin
- Shakes (Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry)
- Blueberry Ricotta Muffin
- Cherry Almond Bar
- Egg White Breakfast Stack
- Farmstand Garden & Cheese Omelet
- Shirred Eggs with Spinach & Bacon
- Ham & Veggie Frittata
- Florentine Omelet
- Tuscan-Style Baked Eggs
Lunch & Dinner Meals
- Chicken Roma
- Chicken Primavera
- Chipotle Black Bean Bowl
- Chipotle Sauced Chicken
- Chockful Veggie Chili
- Cinnamon Bun Lunch Bar
- Double Grilled Sriracha Chicken
- Edamame Chicken
- Eggplant Lasagna
- Pork Tenderloins
- Cappuccino Ice Crush
- Chocolate Ice Crush
- Chocolate Dipped Peanut Bar
- Dark Chocolate Nut Bar
- Sweet & Tangy Meat Stick
- Sea Salt-Kissed Nuts
- Fudgy Graham Crumble Bar
- Original Flavor Meat Stick
- Vanilla Ice Crush
- Fudge Brownie Bar
As you can see there is a pretty nice variety with all of the South Beach foods, and you will have plenty of delicious variety to choose from when you’re participating in their meal-delivery service. With this being said, it’s fair to wonder if all of this is affordable.
The South Beach Diet says that you’ll lose 8 to 13 pounds (3.6 to 5.9 kilograms) in the period that you’re in phase 1. It also says that most of the weight will be shed from your midsection. In phase 2, it says that you’ll likely lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) in a short period of time.
Most people can lose weight on almost any diet, especially in the short term. Most important to weight loss is how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn off. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation. Although it may seem slow, it’s a pace that’s more likely to help you maintain your weight loss permanently.
Losing a large amount of weight rapidly could indicate that you’re losing water weight or lean tissue, rather than fat. In some situations, however, faster weight loss can be safe if it’s done in a healthy way. For example, some diets include an initiation phase to help you jump-start your weight loss, including the South Beach Diet and the Mayo Clinic Diet.
The South Beach Diet, while mainly directed at weight loss, may promote certain healthy changes. Research shows that following a long-term eating plan that’s rich in healthy carbohydrates and dietary fats, such as whole grains, unsaturated fats, vegetables and fruits, can improve your health. For example, lower carbohydrate diets with healthy fats may improve your blood cholesterol levels.