South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet says that its balance of good carbs, lean protein and healthy fats makes it a nutrient-dense, fiber-rich diet that you can follow for a lifetime of healthy eating.
The South Beach Diet says that it'll teach you about eliminating so-called "bad" carbs from your diet. It uses the glycemic index and glycemic load to determine which carbs you should avoid. Foods with a high glycemic index tend to increase your blood sugar faster, higher and longer than do foods with a lower index. Some evidence suggests that this increase in blood sugar can boost your appetite, leading to increased eating and weight gain and possibly diabetes, which can all contribute to cardiovascular disease.
The South Beach Diet also teaches you about the different kinds of dietary fats and encourages you to limit unhealthy fats, while eating more foods with healthier monounsaturated fats. The South Beach Diet emphasizes the benefits of fiber and whole grains, and encourages you to include fruits and vegetables in your eating plan.
The South Beach Diet is lower in carbohydrates than is a typical eating plan, but not as low as a true low-carb diet. On a typical eating plan, about 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories come from carbohydrates. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this amounts to about 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day. In the final maintenance phase of the South Beach Diet, you can get as much as 28 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, or about 140 grams of carbohydrates a day. A true low-carb diet might restrict your carb intake to as little as 50 to 100 grams a day.
The South Beach Diet has evolved over time and now recommends exercise as an important part of your lifestyle. The South Beach Diet says that regular exercise will boost your metabolism and help prevent weight-loss plateaus.
Phases of the South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet has three phases:
- Phase 1. This two-week phase is designed to eliminate cravings for foods high in sugar and refined starches to jump-start weight loss. You cut out almost all carbohydrates from your diet, including pasta, rice, bread and fruit. You can't drink fruit juice or any alcohol. You focus on eating lean protein, such as seafood, skinless poultry, lean beef and soy products. You also can eat high-fiber vegetables, low-fat dairy, and foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, including avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Phase 2. This is a long-term weight-loss phase. You begin adding back some of the foods that were prohibited in phase 1, such as whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, fruits and more vegetables. You stay in this phase until you reach your goal weight.
- Phase 3. This is a maintenance phase meant to be a healthy way to eat for life. You continue to follow the lifestyle principles you learned in the two previous phases. You can eat all types of foods in moderation.
A typical day's menu on the South Beach Diet
Here's a look at what you might eat during a typical day in phase 1 of the South Beach Diet:
- Breakfast. Breakfast might be an omelet with smoked salmon or baked eggs with spinach and ham, along with a cup of coffee or tea.
- Lunch. Lunch might be a vegetable salad with scallops or shrimp, along with iced tea or sparkling water.
- Dinner. Dinner may feature grilled tuna or pork paired with grilled vegetables and a salad.
- Dessert. The diet encourages you to enjoy a dessert, such as a ricotta cheesecake or chilled espresso custard, even in phase 1.
- Snacks. You can enjoy snacks during the day, too, such as a Muenster cheese and turkey roll-up or roasted chickpeas.