The South Beach Diet was created and designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston M.D. and dietician Marie Almon. It was initially devised to help patients lower their risk of developing heart disease, but rapidly became popular as a diet for losing weight.
According to Dr. Agatston, he devised the South Beach Diet during the 1990s because he was disillusioned with the low-fat, high-carb diet backed by the American Heart Association.
He believed and found that low-fat regimes were not effective over the long term.
The South Beach Diet claims not to be a traditional low-carb diet. The focus is more on selecting the right carbohydrates, including whole grains, specific fruits and vegetables, appropriate fats, such as canola oil and olive oil, as well as lean protein sources.
The three phases of the South Beach Diet:
Phase 1 – Kick-starting the weight loss process. The dieter will eat normal-sized portions of:
- Lean meats
- Fish and shellfish
- Reduced-fat cheese
- Lots of vegetables
Phase 1 lasts two weeks. Three balanced meals a day, plus snacks are consumed. In fact, for the phase to be successful the snacks must be eaten, even if you are not hungry. The idea being that if you are more satisfied the chances of your overeating during the next meal are significantly reduced.
The following foods are not eaten during Phase 1:
- Baked goods
- Ice cream
- Alcoholic drinks
Phase 2 – Aiming for reaching goal weight, re-introduction of right carbohydrates:
The dieter learns to reintroduce the right carbohydrates (carbs), including whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, and most fruits. Weight loss continues until the target body weight is reached.
The carbs have to be reintroduced little by little. You should reintroduce one single carb and add it to just one daily meal for one week. Monitor your body’s response to a reintroduced carb carefully for a few days. If you are doing well, then add a second carb and do the same. Carry on doing this until you have two to three servings of the right carbs each day.
Anyone who feels things are getting out of hand should seriously consider returning to Phase 1 for a few days, until control is regained. Dr. Agatston says that Phase 2 can last as long as it has to – there is no time limit. The aim is to reach your target body weight.
Phase 3 – After reaching the goal weight – Adopting a lifestyle
When you have reached your targeted body weight, you move into the maintenance phase. You will continue making good eating choices. During this phase you should feel that you are adopting a lifestyle, rather than a diet.
The South Beach Diet is a long-term eating plan, a plan for life.
This is an excellent weight loss plan that virtually anyone could follow. It even has a plan for people who “fall of the path”. I disagree with eating reduce-fat cheese (or reduced-fat anything for that matter). For those of you who simply cannot give up the grains forever, this is a good alternative.