The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is one of the most popular diet plans of all time. This article will help you understand some basic information about The South Beach Diet.

What is The South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet is found in a book by Arthur Agatston, MD, called The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss.

The diet is based on the Glycemic Index, which ranks foods according to their glycemic load .

What is The South Beach Diet Like?

This diet focuses on a healthy balance between carbs and fats -- good carbs and fats. Highly processed foods like baked goods, sweets, and soft drinks will be off-limits.

Dr. Agatston says decreasing the bad carbs will help you metabolize what you eat more effectively and will also improve insulin resistance, leading to weight loss.

The Fundamentals of Phases

The South Beach Diet is divided into three different Phases. All three Phases include specific allowable foods, meal plans, and recipes.

Phase 1

The most difficult part of the program is Phase 1 that lasts for two weeks and is the strictest of the three. It is when you will limit the most carbs from your daily diet, including fruit, bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, sugar, alcohol, and baked goods

Is it Easy to Follow?

Once you get used to cutting those "bad carbs" ... yes, it becomes easier. Dr. Agatston says you will become accustomed to eating the good carbs and fats and leaving the bad ones behind.

Many SBD fans swear that their cravings for sweets and other bad carbs virtually disappear during Phase 1.

For some, the Phase 1 period can be extended beyond two weeks, but it is not meant to be a permanent way of eating.

Dr. Agatston says even if you're a bread and pasta lover, you'll be able to get through Phase 1 painlessly. He says you will eventually lose the urge to eat these types of foods. Most South Beachers find cravings subside after two weeks.

What does Phase 1 Do?
The theory behind Phase 1 is that there is a switch inside us that affects the way our bodies react to the food we eat (and makes us gain weight).

When the switch is on, we crave foods that actually cause us to store fat (Agatston, pp 4-5). According to Dr. Agatston, at the end of the first two weeks the switch has gone from the on to off position.

The principle requiring the stringent Phase 1 is that by following the specified plan, you can correct the way your body reacts to food. By the time begin to add some of the forbidden foods back into your diet, your body has had a chance to adjust.

(Please note you will need to read The South Beach Diet book in order to accurately follow this plan.

You may also find the companion food guide helpful.)

Phase 2
Now you can start adding foods from the Phase 2 Allowed Foods List. It's up to you which ones you eat: bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereal, or fruit.

This diet gives you the freedom to cherry pick which of these foods you add back into your diet. While you can't eat them all (nor eat the ones you choose with abandon) they'll no longer be off-limits.

The key here is to re-introduce these foods in moderation and to not eat them as often as you were before.

Phase 3
Phase 3 is the final and least restrictive Phase of The South Beach Diet. Dr. Agatston says as long as you continue follow some basic guidelines, the diet has become your way of life and you'll continue to maintain your weight.

(Please note you will need to read The South Beach Diet book in order to accurately follow this plan. You may also find the companion food guide helpful.)

Reference:
Agatston, Arthur S. The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss, New York: Rodale (dist.: St. Martin's Press, April 2003).

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