Drinking Alcohol During the South Beach Diet

Wine glasses with bottle
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Alcoholic beverages are not allowed during Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, the first two weeks of the diet. You will be a teetotaler for Phase 1. If you are obese, you may need to extend Phase 1 and that will mean forgoing alcohol for a longer period of time.

Cooking Wine During Phase 1

The only exception to the ban on alcohol is the use of wine in cooking during Phase 1. Dry table wine is nearly carb-free so you can use it while you're cooking without it affecting your dieting success or your blood sugar.

 Dessert wines and liquors, on the other hand, should not be used in cooking because of their sugar content. Even with dry wine for cooking, you need to be aware of why alcohol is restricted in this phase.

Why Alcohol is Restricted

Alcoholic beverages contain few carbohydrates, which are the chief targets to eliminate with the South Beach Diet, so you may wonder why alcohol is on the bad list. The reason the creator of the diet, Dr. Agatston, doesn't allow them in Phase 1 is due to the way alcohol is converted by your body: It turns into sugar. This conversion of alcohol to sugar once it is absorbed will cause your blood sugar to spike. Remember, the purpose of Phase 1 is to level out your blood sugar so cravings for "bad" carbs will subside and you'll begin losing weight.

Alcoholic Beverages in Phase 2

Certain drinks, such as red or white wine can be consumed once you begin Phase 2 of The South Beach Diet.

 Dr. Agatston recommends wine over other alcoholic beverages.

There are guidelines for alcohol consumption in Phase 2 of The South Beach Diet which you will find detailed in the plan. Moderation is the key. One or two glasses a day is recommended as the maximum.

The serving size of your drink varies with the type you choose.

 For example, according to The South Beach Diet online, Phase 2 can allow you to drink four to five ounces of wine in each serving. But if you choose liquor, your serving size is smaller. If you want a martini or a gin and tonic, each serving of gin can only contain 1 1/2 ounces, and your mixers should be non-caloric rather than sugared tonic water. Think of mixing with sparkling water or seltzer.

Restricted Alcoholic Beverages

Some beverages remain off-limits even during Phase 2 of The South Beach Diet. These include beer, liqueur such as Kahlua, brandy and wine coolers (due to added sugar). You should avoid sugary cocktails like margaritas and mai tais as well

Last but not least, if you're on Phase 2 and you're going to imbibe, make sure it's during or immediately following a meal because doing so will affect the way your blood sugar reacts to the drink.

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