Beginner’s Guide to the South Beach Diet and its Phases

Have you heard about the South Beach Diet? In case you haven’t, you have missed out on a gem of a diet that has been popular for more than a decade. As health and fitness become more popular now, more and more people are looking at new kinds of diets. These diets help in not just losing weight, but also in assisting people in staying fit and active. So, what is the South Beach Diet, and why is it useful? Also, what are the South Beach Diet phases, and how do we follow this diet? Here’s a look at how the South Beach Diet works, its phases, and why it is so useful.

Beginner's Guide to the South Beach Diet and its Phases

What is the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet is a low-carb intake diet that experts say helps with rapid weight loss, without starving themselves. Furthermore, the diet satiates hunger and ensures that the dieters do not go hungry or starve themselves. Instead, the diet is, in fact, extremely cardiac friendly, promoting heart health with significant effect. 

Who founded the South Beach Diet?

A Florida-based doctor, specializing in cardiology named Dr Arthur Agatston created the South Beach Diet in the mid-1990s. The diet came to be as a result of his extensive study on cardiac health and heart diseases. This research helped in the formation of the Agatston score, which is a measure of the amount of calcium in a person’s coronary arteries. The study showed that people on the Atkins Diet were successfully able to lose belly fat and excess weight, whereas people on a high-carb, low-fat diet seemed to be struggling. However, the doctor was highly apprehensive regarding the high-fat content of the Atkins Diet, which did not help people susceptible to heart disease.

Furthermore, Dr Agaston was against the practice of restricting the consumption of high-fiber foods such as whole grains and fruits. In essence, he wanted to create a diet that not only helped people lose weight but also helped them preserve their heart health. This led to the South Beach Diet, which helps diabetic, overweight and prediabetic people conserve their cardiac health and lose excess fat. 

Beginner's Guide to the South Beach Diet and its Phases

How Did the South Beach Diet Become Popular?

The South Beach Diet is rich when it comes to low-glycemic-index carbs, unsaturated fats and lean proteins. The doctor tested the diet on himself and found that he managed to lose belly fat and excess weight. He then went on to administer the diet to his patients, and the results were similar. As a result of this, Dr Agaston’s book, The South Beach Diet came out in 2003, becoming an instant bestseller around the world. A few years later, in 2009, he published an updated version titled The South Beach Diet Supercharged, which too became a worldwide bestseller.

What are the South Beach Diet Phases?

The South Beach Diet contains three different phases, with two of them focusing on weight loss while the third works on weight maintenance. Here’s an in-depth look at the South Beach Diet Phases. 

South Beach Diet Phase 1

  1. The South Beach Diet Phase 1 lasts 14 days.
  2. It is the strictest of the three phases as it places a lot of restrictions on the dieters.
  3. It puts a limit on the consumption of grains and fruits.
  4. The main aim of the South Beach Diet Phase is to limit high-carb foods, decrease blood insulin and sugar levels, and reduce cravings.
  5. When followed correctly, it helps in reducing around 8 to 13 pounds.
  6. People can consume three meals a day, rich in leap proteins, legumes, healthy fat, and non-starchy veggies.
  7. It also allows dieters to have two snacks every day, which must contain lean proteins and veggies.

Beginner's Guide to the South Beach Diet and its Phases

South Beach Diet Phase 2

  • Starting on the 15th day of the South Beach Diet, this phase lasts until the dieter achieves their goal weight.
  • During this phase, most dieters lose up to one or two pounds every week.
  • While undergoing phase 2, dieters may consume everything they ate while on Phase 1, along with fruit and good carbs to an extent. However, these must be consumed in limited portions, and this phase also allows the consumption of alcohol and whole grains.

South Beach Diet Phase 3

  1. The third phase begins as soon as you reach your target weight.
  2. Most of the rules of phase 2 are applicable even during phase 3. However, dieters also have the freedom to treat themselves occasionally and not restrict themselves as much as before. 
  3. In case you over-indulge and gain weight, dieters must revert back to phase 1 and then continue through with the plan as needed. 
  4. Furthermore, the doctor advises dieters to exercise regularly throughout the three phases to remain fit, healthy and active. 

Beginner's Guide to the South Beach Diet and its Phases

South Beach Diet Phase 1 Foods

As per the book The South Beach Diet Supercharged, dieters can consume the following types of food while following phase 1 of the diet.

  • Lean Protein – Skinless chicken, lean lamb, and veal, fish, pepperoni, egg whites, soy-based meat substitutes
  • Lean Dairy – Low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, low-fat milk, greek yogurt, kefir, soy milk(up to 450 ml/daily)
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables – At least four and a half cups every day (except carrots, corn, white potatoes, squash, and peas)
  • Legumes – Black beans, navy beans, pinto beans (Up to half a cup of cooked legumes a day)
  • Lentils – Soybeans, hummus (¼ cup a day)
  • Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, Pecans, Pistas, Walnuts, Cashews, Macadamias, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (Up to 28 gms a day)
  • Oils and Fats – Olive, Avocado, Flaxseed, Soybean (Max of 2 tablespoons a day)
  • Sweets – Max of 100 calories a day

South Beach Diet Phase 2 and 3 Foods

This includes all the foods from Phase 1, and then the following food items.

  1. Up to three servings of fruit per day 
  2. Maximum of four servings of whole grains/starchy vegetables every day
  3. Light beer or dry wine occasionally

The South Beach Diet helps you lose weight, increase metabolic rate, fight inflammation, and protect heart health. While it is restrictive when it comes to the consumption of fats while being okay with processed vegetable oils. However, studies have shown that people were able to safely sustain their South Beach Diet. Most people were happy with the end result, and hence, this diet has done wonders for so many and could do the same for you. Let us know whether you have ever tried the South Beach Diet phases and whether they worked. 

Personalized Plans

Get a personalized workout and nutrition plan from one of our trainers.