The South Beach diet is a carbohydrate-controlled diet, typically followed for weight loss, that was created by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston. Dr. Agatston believes that the type of carbohydrate and fat matters at least as much as the quantity. Dieters choose low-glycemic-index carbs and restrict fat intake to plant and seafood sources.
The diet has three phases:
- Phase 1: Induction—For the first 14 days, no breads, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, sugar, beer, wine, or fruit.
- Phase 2: Reintroduction—Add in low-glycemic-index carbohydrates such as oats and other whole grains, and vegetables, as well as occasionally indulging in some of your favorite carbs. Stay in this phase until you reach your target weight.
- Phase 3: Maintenance—Maintain weight and restrict any high-glycemic-index and saturated or hydrogenated fats.
Best bets: Emphasize low-glycemic-index carbs like whole grains, salad vegetables, and fruits like pears and apples. Choose healthy monounsaturated fats instead of disease-promoting saturated fats. Look for South Beach diet products and see our Glycemic Index article for more information.
More about this diet
The South Beach diet is based on the premise that choosing the right carbohydrate and fat sources can help people reduce their appetite, lose weight, and prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The diet emphasizes carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index and fats that don’t raise blood cholesterol. The South Beach diet shares features with several other diets, including Atkins, low-carbohydrate, and low-glycemic-index diets. Like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet begins with an initial phase of very low carbohydrate intake; however, unlike Atkins, it only allows foods low in unhealthful fats. The South Beach diet follows the first phase with two additional phases that allow low-glycemic-index carbohydrate foods to be included in increasing amounts. During these phases, the dieter following the South Beach diet is permitted more carbohydrate foods than the Atkins diet recommends. If weight loss stops or the dieter strays from the diet, he or she repeats the first phase. The third phase is a weight-maintenance diet that primarily restricts only high-glycemic-index foods or foods high in saturated and hydrogenated fats. Again, if weight loss stops or the dieter strays from the diet, the dieter repeats the first phase.