A cardiologist from South Beach, Dr. Arthur Agatston, developed the South Beach Diet. He wasn’t really trying to come up with a diet that would help people lose weight. He was simply trying to figure out some tips on dieting that would help his heart patients improve their heart health. We’re talking about people at-risk of having heart attacks and people with blocked arteries, etc., who could be at-risk for strokes. He started putting his heart patients on low-fat, high-fiber, low-carbohydrate, no-sugar diets, and it seemed that their heart health started to improve. But something else happened, too. His patients reported some dramatic weight loss results. And the South Beach Diet was born.
The South Beach Diet has three phases. In the first phase, which lasts two weeks unless you extend it, you are supposed to lose between eight and thirteen pounds. This is the phase with the most rapid weight loss. It’s also the strictest phase as far as what you can eat. Dr. Agatston’s tips for dieting on the first phase of South Beach include the following: Avoid all breads and starchy foods, including some vegetables. This includes potatoes, corn and other starchy vegetables. Eat a lot of green leafy vegetables and fill up the rest of the way on lean meats, such as chicken breast (no dark meat is allowed), lean beef and turkey.
Dairy is permitted in phase one of the South Beach Diet, but Dr. Agatston recommends eating low-fat varieties of cheese. Low-fat part-skim mozzarella “string cheese” is a great snack when you’re on the South Beach Diet. Other tips on dieting the South Beach way include packing on the low-fat protein. You can have a small serving of peanut butter (low-carbohydrate is best) or even a handful (about 15) of almonds or other nuts. You can even have dessert in this phase, but it must be sugar-free. Some good choices are sugar-free Jell-O and sugar-free Fudgsicles or Popsicles. But you cannot have any fruit during the first two weeks, as fruit contains a lot of natural sugar.
After two weeks on phase one of the South Beach Diet, Dr. Agatston recommends adding back in some carbohydrates, but they must be complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, whole wheat pitas, whole wheat pasta, etc. And you shouldn’t have bread at every meal. After trying this diet myself, my tips for dieting during phase two of South Beach include only having one serving of breads per day. It’s amazing how much of a treat and a convenience (ever tried making a sandwich without bread?) it is to have that one serving of bread per day. Of course, during phase one, you can make sandwiches using large lettuce leaves. They are called lettuce wraps. You can also add fruit back to your diet. It would be unhealthy to live forever without eating that healthy snack.
During phase two, however, you should still avoid some foods, including: refined breads, flour and starches. Basically, prepackaged foods like macaroni and cheese, prepackaged noodles, white rice, anything white and starchy is off-limits. Also continue to stay away from sugary vegetables such as corn, beets and white potatoes. An occasional sweet potato is OK. Yams are not. Fruit juice is a no-no, but you might be able to have some if you buy some of the new low-sugar variety. Basically, read the label and try to find products that are low in carbohydrates (under 15 grams per serving) and low in sugar (under 3 grams per serving).
There really are no tips for dieting on phase three of South Beach, other than follow what you learned in phase one and phase two about what foods to enjoy and which ones to avoid. Plus, if eating a particular thing makes you gain, you just switch back to the strictest phase one for a week to see if you can drop the pound or two you gained. In this way, South Beach is a diet you stay on for the rest of your life.