Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

The South Beach Diet

The Promise

South Beach and Atkins are the celebrities of the low-carb scene. But though they share top billing, they choose different paths to weight-loss fame.

The key to losing weight quickly and getting healthy isn’t cutting all carbohydrates and fats from your diet, says Miami-based cardiologist Arthur Agatston, M.D., author of The South Beach Diet. It’s learning to choose the right carbs and the right fats.

This approach is part of a three-step program Agatston developed to help his heart patients lose weight and lower cholesterol.

Emphasizing foods that are loaded with fiber and nutrients, the South Beach Diet promises to help you kick your cravings, jump-start your weight loss, and keep those unwanted pounds off -- for life.

In the first 2 weeks, Phase 1 of the diet, you can expect to lose between 8 and 13 pounds, Agatston says.

Does It Work?

Yes. It's a healthy approach to eating that can help you shed pounds.

There are three phases, with Phase 1 the most restrictive: no bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, or fruit.

In Phase 2, you gradually add back in some of these foods. You move into Phase 3 when you hit your goal weight, and you stay there for life.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

That depends on the phase you’re in. Phase 1 is the strictest and includes:

  • A lot of protein, such as beef, poultry, seafood, eggs, and cheese
  • Some fats, including canola oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and avocado
  • Carbs with the lowest glycemic index, including vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and eggplant

What’s off-limits in Phase 1: Fruit, fruit juices, starchy foods, dairy products, and alcohol.

In Phase 2, you slowly reintroduce healthy carbs into your diet -- fruit, whole-grain bread, whole-grain rice, whole wheat pasta, and sweet potatoes. Expect weight loss to slow to 1 to 2 pounds a week, on average.

Phase 3 is about maintaining your weight. There’s no food list to follow. By this time, you’ll know how to make good food choices and how to get back on track if you overindulge once in a while. If cravings return or your eating gets off track, the plan recommends going back to Phase 1 or 2.

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
Woman trying clothes / dress
Assessment
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections