The South Beach Diet is hugely popular protein diet and has a lot in common with the Atkins Diet. Both diets were devised by Doctors; Cardiologist, Arthur Agatston was working in Miami as Director of the famous Cardiac Prevention Center, Mount Sinai when he created this diet plan, hence the name, South Beach Diet!
Similarities between the South Beach and the Atkins Diet begin with the restriction of carbohydrate intake and a strict two-week induction period where potatoes, cereals, pasta and bread as well as high carb veggies such as carrots and corn are absolutely off the menu!
The two main differences between the two diets seem to be:
- The way Carbohydrate intake is measured. Whereas with the Atkins plan the carbs are measured in grams, on the South Beach diet, carbs with a low glycemic index are encouraged. This means that only those carbohydrates that do not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar after eating them are encouraged on the diet. Pastries, cakes and candies are off the menu along with the cereals and veggies mentioned above. There is also a ban on alcohol, particularly in the first two weeks!
- The diet does not leave out any of the major food groups and is rich in lean protein as well as fruits vegetables and whole grains. It is regarded as being a more healthy option for your body’s needs in the long-term.
Is It Right For Me?
If you have struggled with other plans because of feeling hungry, you will probably find this one suits you better because it actively promotes “strategic snacking”! We love their protein packed snacks, especially:
These single serving smoothies are low sugar but contain a healthy 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber so you are getting healthy nutrition that will keep you feeling full until your next meal!
100 Calorie Snack Bars
These delicious bars contain just 100 calories, but like the smoothies, contain 6 grams each of protein and fiber to keep you going until your next meal without feeling hungry!
The Three Phases of the South Beach Diet
- Balance levels of blood sugar
- Eradicate the body’s cravings for sweet, sugary foods and starchy, refined foods such as bread cake and pasta.
- Promote rapid weight loss to kick-start your diet
Whilst some items including any form of alcohol are banned during this phase, you do get plenty to eat and the menu plans are filling with two portions of low-fat dairy products per day.
It is when some of the ‘banned’ foods in phase one are gradually re-introduced. This phase of the diet is the one you will stay on until you reach your target weight. You will not lose weight as rapidly as on phase one but you will learn good eating habits that will help you to lose weight at a steady rate and, more importantly, keep it off!
It is the phase you move into once you have reached your target weight. This is designed to help you stay at your desired weight for life. Because phase two will have taught you what you can eat without problems, what you need to eat in moderation only and what you need to avoid, you will naturally make healthy choices. If you find your carbohydrate cravings are returning and you have piled on a few pounds, it is easy to revert to Phase one or two to rectify this before it becomes a major problem.
How Does This Diet Work?
Most of us eat too many carbohydrates; in particular, refined carbohydrates like potatoes (especially fries), cakes, pastries, white breads, rice and pasta. The diet is all about re-educating the body to quit craving those carbs. The two-week kick-start period is designed to break that craving and thereafter, eating this kind of carbohydrate is kept to a minimum.
The reason for this is that these refined carbohydrates put the body into a cycle that results in eating too much and piling on those excess pounds.
- You eat refined carbs
- Your sugar spikes
- You feel great
- Your sugar slumps
- You feel exhausted
- You reach for more carbs to replicate that sugar ‘high’
The South Beach Diet helps you to break this cycle and by eating more nutritionally complete foods with a higher protein intake, helps you to eat less, thus lowering your calorie intake and losing excess weight.
Are There any Potential Problems?
In a WebMD article, Cindy Moore, a former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that there is a potential problem in Phase one of the diet plan. A lot of the initial weight lost will be water and this could cause an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes. She suggests that if you are following this diet, you should work closely with either a registered dietician or your own Doctor.
Remember though, that this is only in Phase one which is followed by those who need to lose more than ten pounds. However, as she points out, working with a dietician can help you to tailor the diet to fit your own health and weight loss needs more closely.
Why Do We Like The South Beach Diet?
We like this diet, because this combination of a healthy lean protein and low fat dairy, with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, really works!
In addition, the plan is designed for the modern lifestyle. If you are not going to be at home to prepare yourself a healthy meal from scratch, you can buy ready-prepared snacks (for example, the smoothies and snack bars mentioned above). Replacement meal bars that you could substitute for lunch occasionally and protein fit bars with 16 grams of protein per serving that make a great pre- or post-workout bar are also available and so easy to carry with you (check them on Amazon here). There are even gluten free snack bars for those who are Celiac or gluten intolerant!
Perhaps more importantly there is ongoing support and encouragement, healthy eating suggestions, tips and advice. You can find out more at their website and, if you wish, receive regular emails of recipes, diet tips and news direct to your inbox without spending a dime!
Combining the healthy eating plan with becoming more active and taking exercise to improve your circulation, metabolism and general well-being will build a strong base for a healthy lifestyle – and a healthy weight, that is possible to maintain throughout your life.