Diet Plan Summary: The South Beach Diet was designed by a Miami cardiologist by the name of Dr. Arthur Agatston. The diet plan focuses on eating only “good fats” and “good carbohydrates” and was initially designed for the doctor’s cardiac patients. “Bad fats” are labeled as saturated fat and trans fatty products which Dr.Agatston believes contributes to cardiovascular disease. Similarly, “bad carbohydrates” are labeled as foods with a high glycemic index because of the body’s ability to rapidly absorb these carbs. His belief is that these bad carbs will lead to insulin resistance syndrome which is an impairment of insulin’s ability to properly process fat and/or sugar. The diet is divided into the following 3 phases:
Phase 1 – Getting Rid of Sugar Addiction (2 weeks)
In this initial phase of two weeks the following “bad carbs” are to be cut out: pasta, baked goods (including bread), cereal, sugar, candy, rice, potatoes and fruit. Dr.Agatston claims that after a couple days you won’t really miss this stuff (In my opinion our mind might not miss these for a couple days, but our body probably will unless we have an adequate fiber intake plan since most of us get our fiber from bread and cereals, so keep that in mind). The idea behind this madness (I know that’s what you were thinking!) is that your body will lose its insulin resistance and being to use excess body fat as a source of energy therefore allowing you to lose between 8 and 13 pounds (if you have tried this diet and lost 8 to 13 pounds in two weeks please leave your comment below!). Phase 1 meal plan will consist of 3 meals/day until your satiety is fulfilled of normal size portions of fish, eggs, cheese, meat and veggies and nuts. No alcohol is allowed in this phase.
• Beef: Lean cuts, such as sirloin (including ground), tenderloin, top round
• Poultry: Cornish hen, turkey bacon (two slices per day), turkey and chicken breast
• Seafood: All types of fish and shellfish (Shrimp,clams,oysters)
• Pork: Broiled ham, Canadian Bacon, Tenderloin
• Cold Cuts: Fat-free or low-fat only
• Cheese (fat-free or low fat): American, cheddar, cottage cheese (1–2% or fat-free), cream cheese substitute (dairy free), feta, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, ricotta, string
• Nuts: Almonds (15), peanut butter (2 tbsp), peanuts (20 small), pecan halves (15), pistachios (30)
• Eggs: The use of eggs is not restricted unless otherwise noted by your physician. Use egg whites and egg substitute as desired
• Tofu: Use soft, low-fat or lite varieties
• Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beans (black, butter, chickpeas, green, Italian, kidney, lentils, lima, pigeon, soy, split peas, wax), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, pickles (dill, or those sweetened with Splenda), eggplant, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms (all varieties), snow peas, spinach, sprouts (alfalfa), turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini, radishes
• Fats: Canola oil, olive oil
• Dairy: Two cups of nonfat milk or nonfat or lowfat plain yogurt are to be consumed daily
• Spices and seasonings: All spices that contain no added sugar, broth, extracts (almond, vanilla, or others), horseradish sauce, I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! spray, pepper (black, cayenne, red, white)
• Sweet treats (limit to 75 calories per day): Candies (hard, sugar-free), chocolate powder (no-sugar-added), cocoa powder (baking type), sugar-free fudgsicles, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-free gum, sugar-free popsicles, sugar substitute.
• Beef: Brisket, Liver, other fatty cuts
• Poultry: Chicken wings and legs, duck, goose, poultry products (processed)
• Pork: honey-baked ham
• Veal: breast
• Cheese: Brie, edam, non-reduced fat
• Vegetables: beets, carrots, corn, potatoes (white),potatoes (sweet),
• Fruit: Avoid all fruits and fruit juices in Phase 1 including: Apples, apricots, berries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, peaches, pears
• Starches and Carbohydrates: avoid all starchy foods in Phase 1 including: bread (all types), cereal, matzo, oatmeal, rice (all types), pasta (all types), pastry and baked goods (all types)
• Alcohol of any kind, including beer and wine
• No regular ketchup or cocktail sauce
• No pork rinds – too high in saturated fat
• No jerky – too high in sugar content
• Limit Caffeine-Containing Beverages to 1-2 servings per day
Phase 2 – Re-Introduce the Carbs (duration – until you reach your target weight)
Whole grains foods and fruit are gradually returned back into the diet but still in small portions. The emphasis on foods with a low glycemic index value is maintained but you can now have fruits in limited quantities and some carrots/sweet potatoes. This phase lasts until you hit your target weight (seriously? That’s a pretty harsh diet for you if you have to lose a lot of weight!).
Phase 3 – Diet for Life
Once you have reached your target weight with Phase 2 you are now in the maintenance phase of eating an appropriate diet for life including 3 servings of whole grains and fruit daily.
Claimed Diet Benefits: A loss of excess body fat by a healthy diet with an emphasis on “good carbohydrates” that are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, and “good fats” such as those from fish, leans meats and dairy products.
Possible Diet Dangers: Initial phase may cause a major loss of water leading to dehydration and exhaustion of bodies essential electrolytes. It is recommended to have a registered dietician customize this diet to meet your needs.
My Personal Conclusion: I truly believe that such major restrictions in the first phase and the possibly long second phase will be a major challenge that you will need to make sure you can keep to. Therefore, there is a high risk of failure if you don’t have your meals planned out beforehand. I like the overall concept and the final conclusion of your Diet for Life in Phase 3 as it promotes healthy and natural foods and takes out highly processed and sugar added products.