What is a South Beach Diet?


Weight gain is a growing problem not only in the US but the entire world. There are many diets out there which claim to reduce weight rapidly but they do so by excluding most of the foods and putting people on a strict diet, which can be hard to follow. However, the south beach diet is different.

While this diet is also a weight loss diet but it doesn’t require the dieter to stay empty stomach all day. Instead, it contains foods which are not only effective at reducing weight but promoting heart health too.

What Is The South Beach Diet?

South Beach Diet

Dr. Agatston invented the south beach diet in the 90’s. He was researching on the dieters who were on the atkins diet and found that many on the atkins diet saw good results. He did approve of the atkins diet but was not comfortable with high fat foods allowed in the diet which affected the heart health.

So, in short, he didn’t like the idea that weight loss diets excluded overweight people who had heart conditions which is why he came up with the south beach diet. The south beach diet involves eating low glycemic-index carbs, unsaturated fats and lean proteins. He prescribed the diet to his patients and tried on himself too and got good results.

There are 3 stages which make up this diet. The first 2 stages are focused on losing weight and the last one helps maintain the weight. 

Stage 1

The hardest to follow is the first stage. It lasts for 14 days and the dieter must exclude all high carb foods, grains and fruits. Doing so helps decrease the blood sugar levels and balance hunger. This stage can help lose 3 to 6 kgs in just 14 days if done right.

The proportions to eat food in the first stage involves eating three meals containing veggies (non-starchy), lean proteins, healthy fats and legumes but in smaller amounts. Apart from that, two healthy snacks are also to be eaten between the meals.

Foods To Eat In Stage 1: 

  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Tukey
  • Fish
  • Lean meat
  • Skinless chicken
  • Low fat cheese
  • Low fat milk.
  • All veggies except yams, peas, beets, carrots,, white potatoes, corn, turnips. 4-½ cup daily.
  • ⅓ or ½ of legumes.
  • 28 grams of nuts and seeds.
  • Vegetable, monounsaturated and seed oils (2 tbsp per day).
  • Sugar free sweets (100 calorie per day).
  • All types of condiments
  • Moderately caffeinated beverages are allowed.

Foods To Avoid In Stage 1:

  • Whole milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter oil
  • Refined sugar foods.
  • Grains
  • Fatty meat
  • Alcohol

Stage 2

This phase is for an indefinite time as the dieter needs to continue to eat specific foods in this diet until they reach the ideal weight. It commences on day 15th and the dieter can reduce 1 kg per week.

The foods to eat in this stage are same as stage 1 with some additions. Small portions of fruits and whole grains can be included with a bit of alcohol as well.

Foods To Eat In Stage 2:

1 - 3 servings of fruits per day.

1-4 servings of starchy food and whole grains.

One light beer.

Foods To Avoid In Stage 2:

  • Sweeteners
  • Fruit juice
  • Fatty meat and poultry
  • Butter and coconut oil
  • Whole milk
  • Beets, corn and white potatoes
  • Dates, figs, pineapple, raisins and watermelon
  • Foods made with refined flour or sugar 

Stage 3

This stage starts once you reach the ideal weight. In this phase, the foods you ate in stage 2 are continued and you can include other foods and occasional treats as well. However, if the weight begins to spike quickly, then back to square one, meaning, back to stage 1 again and repeat the process. The foods to eat and restrict in this diet are same as stage 2.

Benefits Of The Diet 

Weight Loss: The main aim of this diet is to help reduce weight. Since the diet contains many high protein foods and low carb foods, it makes a perfect combination to improve the metabolic rate of the dieter. Doing so, improves digestion, burns fat fast and increase metabolism. This is what helps to shed the extra pounds of weight without having to stay hungry for longer.

Good Heart Health: According to a study, some overweight people were recommended a south beach diet and they managed to reduce as much as 11 pounds in just a few weeks with improved health heart.

Suppresses Hunger: There’s a difference between staying hungry and not feeling hungry. While most of the diets involve taking small proportions of food, such is not the case with this diet. It encourages eating the type of foods which help suppresses hunger and making the dieter have a feeling of being full. This is what keeps the calorie levels balanced and trigger weight loss.

Easy To Follow: The biggest benefit of this diet is that it is easy to follow for a long time. This is because you can start to have your favorite foods once you lose weight (after a month). So, in short, this diet doesn’t kill food favoritism and still allows you to eat favorite foods but gradually and in small proportions.

The Verdict

The south beach diet is a commendable diet since it helps to reduce weight quickly, helps to keep it maintained and also keeps the blood sugar levels balanced to ensure good heart health.