If you need to lose at least 10 pounds quickly, The South Beach Diet should be on your shortlist. Created in 2006 by an American cardiologist, it has consistently been one of the most popular diets over the past decade-plus.
When the sequel, The South Beach Diet Supercharged, came out some four years later in 2009, it quickly made it onto the New York Times Best Seller List, staying there for over five months.
Seven years on, the popularity of the diet shows no sign of waning. The reason for this is that it is very effective, and most people who undertake it say they find it quite easy to follow.
While aimed at those who have a fair amount of weight to lose, anyone who wants to drop a few pounds can follow the diet, by-passing the first phase and going straight to Phase 2.
Keep reading, to discover how the diet works so you can decide if it’s right for you.
How Does the South Beach Diet Work?
The South Beach Diet is a 3-phase diet program created by Miami Cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD. Devised to prevent heart disease, it soon became apparent that people who followed the diet lost weight and lots of it.
The mainstay of this quick weight loss diet is protein, fiber, and nutrient-dense foods. Unlike some weight loss plans, with this one carbs and fats are permitted. According to Dr. Agatston, it’s not carbs and fats that are the culprit when it comes to gaining weight, but the wrong types of these.
Being somewhat restrictive as far as food choices go at the start, some people may initially find the diet difficult to follow. On the other hand, it is quite flexible, with vegetarians, vegans and those on a gluten-free diet able to undertake it.
With this diet, you won’t have to calculate or track calories, carbs, protein or fat and the allowed portion sizes are on par with what most of us usually eat. Additionally, the diet rules are well-defined, eliminating any guesswork.
* By signing up with South Beach Diet Online, vegans and vegetarians will be able to access suitable recipes and meal plans.
South Beach Diet Success Story
To give you an idea of how the diet works, I’ll outline the phases below.
The Three South Beach Diet Phases
South Beach Diet Phase 1
The most restrictive of the phases, South Beach Diet Phase 1 should be followed for two weeks. Weight loss during this time is usually in the vicinity of 8 to 10 pounds.
You will eat three satisfying meals per day, along with two snacks and a dessert that is high in protein and low in sugar. By eating the permitted foods at the specified intervals, your blood sugar levels will stay stable. A further benefit to eating this way is that hunger and food cravings should not be an issue.
Skinless poultry, seafood, lean pork and beef, soy, cheese, and eggs are on the menu. A limited amount of nuts, beans, and legumes are also allowed, along with a moderate amount of low and no-fat dairy, such as yogurt and milk. Some condiments and low-carb beverages are also allowed.
Fats are allowed in moderation during Phase 1. These include extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, and avocado. Generous servings of low GI foods are allowed, with tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and eggplant included among these.
Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, fruit, fruit juices and starchy foods such as potato, corn, and peas cannot be eaten during Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. Grains and alcohol are not permitted either.
South Beach Diet Phase 2
+++ Phase 2 is the place to begin if you only have a few pounds to lose or you want to maintain your current weight.
There are fewer limitations in phase 2 of The South Beach Diet. During this part of the diet, you can expect to steadily and consistently lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
In this phase, a wide range of fruits including pears, peaches, berries, bananas, apples, citrus fruits, and melons are permissible. Whole grain cereals, bread, and pasta are also allowed as are starchy vegetables, including sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin.
Fruit and vegetable juices, coffee, tea, and wine are allowed in this phase. And, if you have a sweet tooth, you will be pleased to know that you will be able to indulge in chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake, among other desserts.
Do a search for South Beach Diet recipes or pick up a South Beach Diet Cookbook – there are several to choose from, including one for people who are gluten-intolerant – and you will find a range of recipes suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks. All are healthy, easy to make and use ingredients that are easy to source.
If you don’t like cooking, take a look at the South Beach Diet foods range. These ready-made meals include snack bars, diet meal bars, cereal bars, smoothies, and more. They taste great, and they’re good value for money.
South Beach Diet Phase 3
South Beach Diet Phase 3 is all about maintenance. There is no food list for this phase. By this point, you should have reached your weight loss goal, and you will have the knowledge needed to maintain your weight.
If you slip up in this phase and gain a couple of pounds, go back to Phase 2. This way you will be able to quickly lose the weight you’ve gained before it gets out of hand. If, at any point, you go off the diet and your weight increases by more than a couple of pounds, return to Phase 1 and start again.
South Beach Diet Sample Menu
Following is a South Beach Diet sample menu. It will give you an idea of the type of foods you will be eating while undertaking the diet.
Here’s a look at what you might eat during a typical day during Phase 1 of the diet:
- Breakfast – Breakfast choices include a smoked salmon omelet and baked eggs with a side of spinach or ham. You can also have a cup of tea or coffee.
- Lunch – A typical lunch on this diet, could be a vegetable salad served with either shrimp or scallops, plus a glass of iced tea or sparkling mineral water.
- Dinner – Dinner could be grilled pork or tuna, served with vegetables or salad.
- Dessert – Delicious dessert options include ricotta cheesecake and chilled espresso custard.
- Snacks – Snack selections include Muenster cheese and turkey roll-up and roasted chickpeas.
Potential Health Benefits
Created to aid weight loss, people who follow The South Beach Diet long-term may achieve cardiovascular benefits and a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. Clinical trials have yet to be undertaken to prove or disprove these claims. However, we know that a diet based around whole grains, vegetables, fruits, good carbs, and unsaturated fats, promotes good health.
The South Beach Diet is considered to be safe if it followed as outlined. However, anyone who drastically limits their carbohydrate consumption beyond the recommended level may experience ketosis.
This condition can occur when the dieter does not have enough sugar (glucose) for energy. Under these circumstances, the body will break down its fat stores. As a result, there is a build-up of ketones. Possible Ketosis side-effects include bad breath, mental fatigue, dehydration, nausea, headaches, and dizziness.
Final Thoughts on the South Beach Diet
One of the things I like best about this diet is its flexibility. After completing Phase 1 of The South Beach Diet, few foods are totally off-limits.
When you reach Phase 3, your options will be even greater. With no strict guidelines for this last phase, it is up to the individual to tailor their eating plan to suit. Do this, and it will be easy to maintain your new weight. If you gain a few pounds through over-indulging, you will know what you have to do to lose it.
The cookbooks in the range contain healthy and satisfying recipes that all the family will enjoy. They are easy to make, most aren’t time-consuming, and all use easy to obtain ingredients.
The South Beach Diet food range is ideal for non-cooks who want to follow the diet. It is also a great option for those times you are too busy or just don’t feel like cooking. Having some of the products on hand at all times will make sticking to the diet a straightforward process no matter how hectic life becomes.