The South Beach Diet
What Is The South Beach Diet?
They may seem similar, but The South Beach Diet is more than just a heart-friendly version of the Atkins diet. All the same, they do have a lot in common.
Both the South Beach and Atkins diets are the creation of medical doctors. The father of The South Beach Diet is cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Cardiac Prevention Center in Miami Beach, Fla. His South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss was followed by the South Beach Diet Supercharged, both best-selling books.
Both the South Beach and Atkins diets restrict carbohydrates. True, "good carbs" are allowed. But South Beach dieters must say goodbye to potatoes, fruit, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, beets, carrots, and corn for the first two weeks. After that, some of these foods remain strongly discouraged.
The difference between the South Beach and Atkins diets boils down to two things:
- Fats. The South Beach Diet bans unhealthy fats, but strongly promotes healthy ones.
- Carbs. The South Beach Diet doesn't count grams of carbs, but encourages dieters to go for low-sugar carbs, or those with a low glycemic index (they don't cause the blood sugar levels to rise and fall as quickly).
As Agatston says, this means his diet is not -- exactly -- a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet.
What You Can Eat on The South Beach Diet
You won't go hungry on The South Beach Diet. In fact, like the Body-For-Life diet, The South Beach Diet promotes strategic snacking. You're not doing it right if you don't snack.
There's no counting calories or strict portion sizes. But there's no gorging, either. The idea is to eat normal portions. To many of us, normal portions will seem small at first. They are enough to satisfy hunger, but no more.
As noted above, sugar-rich carbs are off the menu. These include rice and potatoes, and some vegetables -- such as beets and corn -- with high sugar content. Also, there are no pastries or other sugar-filled desserts. And alcohol is forbidden in the early phase of the diet and limited in the long-term diet.
What's on the menu? There are three phases.
The 14-day induction phase bans bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, and fruit. And you can't have even a drop of beer, wine, or other alcohol. The diet promises that after a couple of days, you really won't miss this stuff. As for dairy, two servings of low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, or buttermilk are allowed during this phase.
The "reintroduce the carbs" stage gradually adds back in some of the banned foods. Not all of them, but if you are a pasta maniac, have some. Carrots used to be on the "foods to avoid" list at first, but you can now have them at the beginning of phase two. Tomatoes and onions, previously limited, are now fine in any phase. Fruit makes a comeback, too. Just pick and choose. A little now and then, no more. How long does this last? Until you hit your target weight.
The final stage is your diet for life. Eat normal foods in normal portions, following a few basic guidelines.