How to Do the South Beach Diet

Use This South Beach Diet Guide to Lose Weight and Get Healthy

Grilled fillet of wild salmon
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The South Beach Diet is one of the most popular diet plans of all time. This article will help you learn how to do the South Beach Diet during each phase and for long term wellness and weight maintenance.

What Is The South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet is found in a book by Arthur Agatston, MD, called The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss.

There have been several variations and changes made to the program, but the core of the eating plan has stayed the same.

The diet is based in part on the glycemic Index, which ranks foods according to their glycemic load.  As you learn how to do the South Beach Diet, you learn how to choose low GI foods that keep you full and satisfied so you eat less and slim down.

What Is The South Beach Diet Like?

This diet focuses on a healthy balance between carbs and fats—good carbs and fats. Highly processed foods like baked goods, sweets, and soft drinks will be off-limits. So if you are used to filling up on these foods, the diet may be hard to adjust to.

But Dr. Agatston says decreasing the bad carbs will help you metabolize what you eat more effectively and will also improve insulin resistance, leading to weight loss. Over time, your body learns to crave healthier foods.

How to Do South Beach Diet Phases

The South Beach Diet is divided into three different phases.

All three phases include specific allowable foods, meal plans, and recipes.

South Beach Diet Phase 1

The most difficult part of the program is Phase 1 that lasts for two weeks and is the strictest of the three. It is when you will limit the most carbs from your daily diet, including fruit, bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, sugar, alcohol, and baked goods.

The theory behind Phase 1 is that there is a switch inside us that affects the way our bodies react to the food we eat and makes us gain weight.

When the switch is on, we crave foods that actually cause us to store fat. According to Dr. Agatston, at the end of the first two weeks the switch has gone from the on to off position.

The principle requiring the stringent Phase 1 is that by following the specified plan, you can correct the way your body reacts to food. By the time begin to add some of the forbidden foods back into your diet, your body has had a chance to adjust.

Once you get used to cutting "bad carbs" this difficult phase becomes easier. Dr. Agatston says you will become accustomed to eating the good carbs and fats and leaving the bad ones behind.

Many SBD fans swear that their cravings for sweets and other bad carbs virtually disappear during Phase 1.For some, the Phase 1 period can be extended beyond two weeks, but it is not meant to be a permanent way of eating.

South Beach Diet Phase 2
During this phase you can start adding foods from the Phase 2 Allowed Foods List. It's up to you which ones you eat: bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereal, or fruit.

This diet gives you the freedom to pick which of these foods you add back into your diet. While you can't eat them all they'll no longer be off-limits.

The key here is to re-introduce these foods in moderation and to not eat them as often as you were before.

South Beach Diet Phase 3
Phase 3 is the final and least restrictive Phase of The South Beach Diet. Dr. Agatston says as long as you continue follow some basic guidelines, the diet has become your way of life and you'll continue to maintain your weight.

How to Do the South Beach Diet for Life

It's not smart to start the South Beach Diet unless you plan to stay on the program for life.

This is no a quick fix for weight loss, but rather a lifestyle for healthy eating and exercise. If you choose this plan, invest in the South Beach diet books and spend time reading and learning about the program. The more you know, the more likely it is you will stick to the plan.