South Beach Diet

Posted on April 17, 2014

South Beach DietThe South Beach Diet was created by a cardiologist in the 1980s as an alternative to the low fat diet craze. Eliminating fat was a big deal back then. The basic gist of South Beach is to replace bad carbs with good carbs and bad fats with good fats. There are three phases. Phase One lasts two weeks and is designed to jump start weight loss, help control cravings, decrease appetite, and return your blood sugar level to normal. It’s very low in carbs but high in protein and healthy fats. They say you’ll 8-13 pounds in this phase. Phase Two is designed for long term weight loss and you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. During this phase you add some of the restricted foods back into your diet. You carry on in Phase Two until you’ve reach your desired weight loss goal. Phase Three is just maintenance, with no food restrictions. South Beach evolved as a lifestyle diet, so naturally it recommends regular exercise to boost your metabolism.

Weight loss is the main goal of the South Beach Diet. And studies show the diet also improves cholesterol levels by consuming good fats. There is no pesky calorie counting on South Beach. The South Beach Diet also has its own line of food items in partnership with Kraft.

On the negative side, Phase One is very restrictive and may be difficult for some people. You also need to invest considerable time prepping and cooking whole foods. And the exclusion of fruit (seen as bad carbs) from the diet is questionable to many experts. Fruit is a whole food that contains a lot of fibber, which satisfies you and keeps you feeling full. If you go overboard and restrict too many carbs, you might experience Ketosis, which can sometimes cause dehydration, nausea, weakness, and dizziness.

So, what exactly will you be eating? The South Beach Diet diet relies on the glycemic index to choose low glycemic foods. They keep your blood sugar low and regulate your appetite because you feel full longer. Processed foods are high glycemic and therefore considered bad carbs. That said, almost all carbs, dairy products, starches, sugars, alcohol are restricted in Phase One. But after Phase One, you can eat lots of vegetables, fish, low fat dairy, eggs, lean protein (chicken and turkey), whole grains, nuts, and good fats like olive oil and avocado. Whole-grain bread, whole-grain rice, whole wheat pasta, and sweet potatoes are some examples of good carbs. You will definitely need to put on your monocle and become a food detective to learn the difference between good and bad carbs. But if you look like the people on South Beach after the diet, it’s worth it!