South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is a diet created by cardiologist Arthur Agatston. While the diet initially sounds similar to the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet actually emphasizes eating only “good” carbohydrates and fats.

Principle of the South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet follows the principle that eating “bad” carbohydrates can cause “insulin resistance syndrome”, where the body cannot process body fat or sugar. The South Beach Diet also believes that “bad fats” can increase the risk of heart disease.

Insulin resistance syndrome also causes a person to become increasingly hungry, as their body is not absorbing nutrients properly. With increased eating, the person then becomes prone to diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

In order to prevent insulin resistance syndrome and to lower the risk of heart disease, the South Beach Diet advocates eating “good” carbohydrates and fats.

The South Beach Diet has three aims:

  1. Permanently changing the dieter’s eating habits;
  2. Eating a variety of food;
  3. Ease and flexibility.

What are you allowed to eat?

  • Vegetables – preferably large amounts;
  • Whole grains – such as brown rice and wholegrain bread;
  • Fruit;
  • Nuts;
  • Lean meat – such as poultry and fish;
  • Eggs;
  • Wine.

What is forbidden?

  • Refined carbohydrates – such as white bread and white rice;
  • Refined sugars – such as cakes, cookies and ice-cream;
  • Trans-fats – such as margarine;
  • Beer.

South Beach Diet Pros and Cons

The South Beach Diet is generally flexible, and encourages a wide variety of food. The diet is generally balanced and its variety makes it easy for the dieter to maintain.

Most of the issues with the South Beach Diet centers on the initial two weeks of the diet.

The initial two weeks of the South Beach Diet is quite restrictive, and while the period is brief, it can make staying on the diet difficult. Restricting carbohydrates can cause dehydration and can disrupt a body’s electrolyte balance.

Some of the initial weight loss can also be regained as soon as carbohydrates are re-introduced.

Daily and Weekly Plans for the South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet has three phases.

  • Phase I lasts two weeks, and is the strictest part of the diet. During the first two weeks, the dieter is allowed to eat vegetables, nuts, lean meat and eggs. Food containing refined sugars and any carbohydrates are forbidden.

    Phase I is also when weight loss is most pronounced.

  • Phase II is when “good” carbohydrates are reintroduced. These “good” carbohydrates include fruit, whole-grain breads and pasta, and it is recommended that they are slowly re-introduced.

    It is recommended that one carbohydrate be introduced at a time. The phase can be stopped when the ideal weight has been reached.

  • Phase III is the maintenance period, where a dieter is encouraged to maintain the South Beach Diet for the rest of their lives.

South Beach Diet Expected Weight Loss

You can expect to lose between 8-13lbs on the South Beach Diet, with most of the weight loss occurring within the first two weeks.

South Beach Diet Rating

Ease: 4/5 – Straight-forward requirements and a degree of flexibility makes the South Beach Diet easy to prepare.

Balance: 3/5 – Generally quite balanced, except for the initial two weeks.

Maintenance: 3/5 – The first two weeks can be difficult, but generally it is easy to maintain.

Overall: 3/5