What is the South Beach Diet?
The South Beach diet plan was started by a nutritionist, Marie Almon and a cardiologist, Dr. Agatston similar Dr. Atkins, Dr. Arthur Agatston was a cardiologist interested in helping his patients lose weight sustainably and without going hungry.
He liked certain aspects of the Atkins diet, but was concerned that unrestricted use of saturated fat might increase the risk of heart disease.
As a response of those concerns, in the mid-1990s he created a lower-carb, lower-fat, high-protein diet called the South Beach Diet, named after the area in South Florida where he practiced medicine.
Although Stage 1 of the diet is low in carbs and very low in fat, the diet becomes less restrictive in Phases 2 and 3 and allow more flexibility, which allow limited quantities of all types of unprocessed foods while keeping protein intake high.
The South Beach Diet plan focuses on the control of insulin levels, and the benefits of unrefined slow carbohydrates versus fast carbohydrates.
For every detail on the south beach diet here is book and ebook which walks you through it all step by step: The South Beach Diet book
Benefits of the South Beach Diet
There are several benefits of the South Beach diet plan with research to prove them, including its ability to produce weight loss without hunger.
People who follow the Diet are better able to:
- • Maintain an ideal body weight for the long term.
- • Avoid diabetes.
- • Achieve normal cholesterol and blood fat levels.
- • Prevent hypertension.
Research which has been done, including an analysis of 24 studies, has shown consistently that high-protein, low-carb diets are effective for weight loss.
This is due to protein’s ability to increase your metabolic rate. In addition, protein helps modify hormone levels that reduce hunger and make you feel full, so you end up naturally eating less food.
Gradually adding small amounts of healthy carbs back into your diet may continue weight loss in some people and make it easier for them to stick to the diet long-term.
In one study made, overweight and obese people with metabolic syndrome followed the South Beach Diet for 12 weeks.
By the end of the study, they had lost 11 pounds (5.2 kg) and 2 inches (5.1 cm) from around their waists, on average. They also experienced major decreases in fasting insulin and an increase in the fullness hormone CCK.
The South Beach Diet plan encourages a high intake of fatty fish like salmon and other foods that fight inflammation, such as leafy greens and cruciferous veggies (any green vegetables such as broccoli and kale).
In addition, it recommends dieters regularly consume eggs, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and other foods that have been shown to protect heart health.
Drawbacks of the South Beach Diet
Unfortunately, the South Beach Diet also has a couple of drawbacks.
The main issue is that it may be overly restrictive with respect to the amounts and types of fats allowed.
In addition, it allows potentially harmful types of fat, such as soybean oil and safflower oil, which are extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Although it’s important to get some omega-6 fats in your diet, if you’re like most people, you probably already get way more than you need.
However, if you are on a Western Diet, it’s likely you get too little of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel.
Consuming a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats has been linked to inflammation, heart disease and other health problems.
Butter and coconut oil aren’t included on the South Beach Diet because they are high in saturated fat even though coconut oil has been associated with several health benefits, including weight loss, a reduction in belly fat and improved heart health markers in overweight and obese adults.
Most studies made have found no association between saturated fat intake and an increased risk of heart disease.
On the other hand, other large reviews have found that replacing a portion of saturated fat with unsaturated fat could potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
Overall, choosing less processed fat and eating plenty of fish high in omega-3 fats may be more important for heart health than restricting saturated fat.
Phases of the South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet has three phases: The first aims to kick-start the weight loss process, the second takes the dieter to their target weight, and the third aims to maintain the ideal weight.
Phase 1: Kick-starting the weight-loss process
Phase 1 of the diet lasts 2 weeks.
It aims to stop cravings for sugary foods and refined starches by keeping blood-sugar levels steady. Rapid weight loss may occur during this phase.
Most people can expect to lose 8–13 pounds (3.5–6 kg) of body weight during this phase.
In Phase 1, the dieter will eat normal-sized portions of:
- • Lean meats
- • Chicken
- • Turkey
- • Fish and shellfish
- • Tofu
- • Eggs
- • Reduced-fat cheese
- • Nuts
- • Beans
- • Vegetables.
The dieter will eat three balanced meals a day, with desserts, plus snacks.
Also, you consume two mandatory snacks per day, preferably a combination of lean protein and vegetables.
The snacks are important, even if the dieter is not hungry, because someone who feels satisfied tends to not overeat at the next meal.
For a book and ebook full of 200 detailed menu plans and how to make them click here: The South Beach Diet cookbook
Some sample dishes for phase 1 would be:
- • Breakfast: Asparagus omelets with goats cheese or cinnamon breakfast ricotta crème
- • Lunch: Beef and bean chili or crab and avocado salad
- • Dinner: Grilled steak with Texas mop sauce or garlic and homestyle turkey meatloaf with mushrooms and white beans
- • Snack: Cherry tomatoes stuffed with low-fat cottage cheese, or iced vanilla coffee milk.
Another example would be:
- • Breakfast: 3 eggs and 1 cup kale cooked with 1 tsp olive oil
- • Snack: 1 oz (28 grams) string cheese with bell pepper slices
- • Lunch: Roasted salmon and asparagus salad with mustard vinaigrette
- • Snack: Celery sticks with 2 tsp peanut butter
- • Dinner: Lean steak with broccoli
Foods to avoid during Phase I include bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, baked and sugary foods such as cake, cookies, candy and ice cream, and fruits, and alcoholic drinks.
Some of these are re-introduced in Phases 2 and 3.
Phase 2: Achieving the target weight
Phase II lasts until the dieter reaches their desired weight.
Carbohydrates are re-introduced, in the form of fruits, whole grains, and some additional vegetables.
Weight loss may now be steady, but slower than in Phase 1. During Phase 2, the Diet says people normally lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, depending on the individual’s metabolism.
Slow, steady weight loss is better, says South Beach Diet, because it is more likely to last.
In Phase II, the dieter learns to reintroduce “good” carbohydrates,which include whole-grain breads, whole-grain pastas, most fruits, and some treats.
Some dieters worry about regaining the weight they already lost when they start eating the carbs again but Dr. Agatston stresses that they must reintroduce these carbs, because if they are going to follow this diet for life, carbs will be essential long-term for maintaining good health.
The carbs are reintroduced in small amounts.
First, one single carb is added to just one daily meal for one week. The dieter should monitor closely how their body responds to a reintroduced carb over a few days.
If the body responds correctly, they can add a second carb, again monitoring the body’s reaction carefully. Examples of an appropriate response to added carbohydrates are improved energy, sleep quality, and mood, continued slow weight loss, regular bowel movements, and better skin.
This continues until the person has two to three servings of the right carbs each day. These include healthy, complex, high fiber carbohydrates like whole grains, fruit, potatoes, peas, and brown rice.
You can expect to lose 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week during this phase, on average.
Some sample dishes at phase 2 would be:
- • Breakfast: Spiced oatmeal with dried apricot and walnuts and vegetable juice cocktail
- • Mid-morning snack: Spicy lemon edamame beans
- • Lunch: Spice-rubbed chicken fingers with cilantro dipping sauce, festive 5-veggie slaw and non-fat milk
- • Mid-afternoon snack: Cherry tomatoes stuffed with low-fat cottage cheese
- • Dinner: Grilled chicken with savory Asian plum sauce, Vietnamese-style vegetables with brown rice noodles and non-fat milk
- • Dessert: Chocolate meringue kisses.
Another example would be
- • Breakfast: Quick and easy peanut butter oatmeal
- • Snack: 1 cup cucumber slices with 1/4 cup hummus
- • Lunch: Apple-walnut chicken salad
- • Snack: Cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes
- • Dinner: Pork fajitas with 1/3 cup guacamole
If a person does not feel comfortable at this stage, they can return to Phase 1 for a few days, until they regain control.
People might need to revisit Phase 1 if they experience:
- • Food cravings
- • Inability to control carbohydrate portions
- • Weight gain
- • Reverting to old, unhealthy eating habits.
On reaching the target weight, the dieter moves on to the final phase,Phase 3.
Phase 3: Adopting a lifestyle
In Phase 3, the dieter learns to make good food choices and maintain their new weight in the long term, while enjoying all foods in moderation.
Phase 3 is the “maintenance phase.” Now the dieter should feel that they are adopting a lifestyle, rather than following a diet.
If the food cravings return, or if weight increases, the dieter can go back to Phase 1 or 2.
The creators of The South Beach Diet say that, in Phase 3, people do not go back to eating whatever they like. Instead, they continue to make good food choices, try new recipes and ingredients, and enjoy a new lifestyle.
Phase 3 is all about maintaining an ideal body weight and experiencing better health.
Does the South Beach Diet work?
The South Beach Diet is a healthy way of eating that is extremely lower in carbs than conventional low-fat diets. It also encourages dieters to eat mainly unprocessed foods, higher amounts of vegetables and healthy, high-fiber carb sources.
However, the diet allows processed vegetable oils, which could pose health risks. Although, you can avoid this drawback by choosing unprocessed monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or macadamia oil instead.
In conclusion, the South Beach Diet is a sustainable way of eating as many people have reported losing weight and keeping it off by following the diet.
If you are still considering trying the diet here is a book and ebook which will walk you through it all to help you make up your mind: The South Beach Diet book
But remember the only person who can make change happen is you, so I highly recommend you at least try it for yourself.
However, the most effective diet for weight loss is always one that you can easily stick with long-term and see the best results from.
Anyone who is considering a major change to their diet should always talk to a doctor first.