South Beach Diet: “The South Beach Diet is not low carb, nor is it low fat” – Dr. Agatston
The South Beach Diet plan was created by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston based at Mount Sinai Hospital – in South Florida. The diet was originally developed for overweight heart patients. The patients experienced better health and weight loss. This Beach Diet has come to be one of the most popular diets of all time.
The Book That Started It All
Agatston’s book The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss quickly became a best-seller (despite a seemingly pretentious subtitle). The diet i includes foods such as whole grains, healthy fats, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables. It was constructed in such a way as to be sustainable for most.
- Breakfast: Vegetable juice cocktail and spinach omelet.
- Lunch: Lentil soup and a side of lean protein.
- Dinner: Grilled fish with brussel sprouts and asparagus.
- Phase 1 Snack: Fat free Greek yogurt.
- Phase 2 Snack: Cheese with a fruit salad.
About the South Beach Diet
The main premise of the South Beach Diet is that carbs and fats can either be categorized as “good” or “bad.” Patients should eat more good carbs and fats, but avoid the bad carbs and fats.
Bad carbs are considered carbs that are high on the glycemic index, a ranking of how carb consumption will affect blood sugar. Carbs high on the glycemic index will cause blood sugar to drop, resulting in “crashes.” Carbs low on the glycemic index keep blood sugar steady and will help patients feel fuller longer.
Bad fats include the unhealthy saturated and trans fats. Instead, the South Beach diet urges people to choose healthier fats, including olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado.
Similar to the Atkins Diet, this Beach Diet consists of a series of phases. In the South Beach Diet, there are three phases. However, patients who wish to lose ten pounds or less can start directly with phase two.
How Does the South Beach Diet Work Exactly?
An important emphasis of the South Beach Diet is controlling hunger by eating before it strikes. To that end, this Beach Diet includes three different phases. Phase 1 is one week long and aims to “reset your body” to help burn fat and increase your metabolism, as well as reduce sugar and starch cravings. It has Phase 2 is for steady weight loss, where you add in good carbs to your diet. Phase 3 is the weight-maintenance phase, where you learn to maintain your new weight without deprivation or hunger, according to the South Beach Diet website.
“The phases help ‘jump-start’ some weight loss,” Stephens explains. “It’s a mental thing: When patients see early success, they’re more likely to stick to the plan.” She notes that the different phases also help acclimate people to a new lifestyle, since phase three is essentially a lifelong choice rather than a “diet.”
Pros and Cons
Like any diet, the South Beach Diet has its own set of positives and negatives.
On the upside, this Beach Diet is super simple and it encourages individual experimentation. When you sign up for the paid version of the program. You won’t have to do any guesswork about portion sizes,5 and whether or not you pay for the program, the allowed and not allowed foods are clearly outlined.
On the other hand, the first portion of the South Beach Diet can seem extremely restrictive and potentially lead to disordered eating or yo-yo dieting down the road. Additionally, this diet promotes consumption of processed, packaged foods (the bars and shakes that come with the plan). This Beach Diet may also not be structured enough in the later phases, which could result in weight regain for people who aren’t sure how to control portion sizes after phases 1 and 2.
The South Beach Diet is a flexible diet plan, which means that it can be a successful diet for many people trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier. Vegetarians will have an easier time following this Beach Diet plan than the Atkins Diet. Nonetheless, patients should be sure to speak with a healthcare professional before undergoing any weight loss plan. Our team at Houston Weight Loss & Lipo Centers in Houston and Katy, TX is dedicated to helping patients achieve their health and weight loss goals.
A Word from Verywell
The first week of any new way of eating can be challenging. Know that there will be rough spots, especially as your body gets used to foods. That weren’t previously in your meal rotation as often, or cooked in that particular way, or ever. Give yourself compassion if you make inadvertent mistakes, and stay enthusiastic about your transformation. Remember that these nutritious foods are meant to improve your health and whittle your waistline.