The South Beach Diet, created by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, is a safe and effective diet that differs from other diets in that it advocates not just a new way of eating but a new way of life.
The South Beach Diet puts an end to counting calories and it puts an end to portion control. The South Beach Diet also avoids putting people in a position where they feel like they’re depriving themselves from eating food that tastes good and satisfies them.
The focus of the South Beach Diet is on fats and carbohydrates, more specifically, the right fats and carbohydrates. With the South Beach Diet, you find that healthy carbohydrates and fats satisfy your hunger and feed you energy while eating the wrong carbohydrates and fats can actually make you feel hungrier than you were before eating them, causing you to eat even more and, as a result, gain weight.
The South Beach Diet works in 3 phases, dieters going through phases 1 and 2 sequentially, each for a particular period of time, then moving to phase 3 where they remain for the rest of their lives.
South Beach Diet Phase 1 – For two weeks certain forms of carbohydrates are restricted, based on their glycemic index (a measurement of their affect on a person’s blood sugar). Portion sizes for all other foods are normal. This two week period is the most intense and restrictive of the three phases. Foods emphasized in Phase 1 include chicken and turkey, fish and shellfish, vegetables with a low glycemic index (including salads with light dressing), low fat cheeses, eggs, and nuts. This is the period where drastic weight loss is usually noticed in a short time. This type of weight loss is not sustainable, however, which is why the South Beach Diet then promptly transitions you into Phase 2 where you can adjust your dietary patterns so as to achieve a more sustainable rate of weight loss without gaining back that initial poundage you just shed.
South Beach Diet Phase 2 – Here many of the carbohydrates that were forbidden in Phase 1 are incrementally introduced back into your diet. The desired effect of Phase 2 is to get yourself to a place where you lose between1 and 2 pounds each week, a rate of weight loss than you can easily sustain until you achieve your body’s individual “healthy weight” (generally best determined by your Body Mass Index and percentage body fat to muscle mass). Phase 2 lasts as long as it takes for you to reach your desired weight.
South Beach Diet Phase 3 – Now you begin to establish the balanced diet you aim to maintain for the rest of your life, so long as weight remains where it is. Should you start to gain weight again, you can simply go back to one or both of the earlier phases until you get back to where you need to be.
The South Beach Diet is not a starvation diet. In it, you eat 3 satisfying meals per day plus 2 snacks in-between meals. Your meal plans are not set in stone, so you can still enjoy variety and spontaneity in your diet.
Studies of the South Beach Diet have shown that it not only helps people lose weight, but it increases their “good cholesterol” (HDLs) and decreases their “bad cholesterol” (LDLs) levels, while also improving their levels of insulin.