“Are you on South Beach,” is the popular inquiry among today’s dieters. This South Beach is not a place as much as it is an option to those who wish to shed some blubber. Nicknamed “Atkins lite,” the South Beach diet imposes a slightly more liberal regime of low-carb eating than the Atkins diet and involves three phases that we examine here. You have the assurance of its creator, Dr. Arthur Agatston, who published the diet after seeing its success among his cardiology patients. Ultimately, South Beachers learn how to pick the right carbohydrates and fats for their bodies by following regimented phases of dieting.

Phase 1: Induction Edit

Prepare for nutritional boot camp! In this cleansing phase you can expect to reduce your cravings for carbohydrates. How? By 100% carb abstinence. That means a two-week ban on bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, sweets, alcohol, and fruit. Regular portions of fish, meats, poultry, and seafood coupled with vegetables, eggs and nuts are the only items on your menu in Phase 1 and for the rest of your life.

Dieters can expect to shed between 8 and 13 pounds during the first phase.

Phase 2: Give me my carbs back! Edit

Miss those carbs? South beach gradually reintroduces foods that have low “glycemic-index” values. These foods have a low impact on the body’s insulin levels, a concern that once only belonged to diabetics. Grain breads, pastas, brown and wild rice are allowed, but white breads and sweets are among the forbidden.

Dieters remain in Phase 2 until they have achieved their weight goal.

Phase 3: Please, please more carbs! Edit

Carbohydrate intake at this point is liberalized to allow a few more starchy friends in your circle. Following similar glycemic-index rules in phase 2, Beachers become creative in designing appetizing meals and snacks. The duration of this phase is without end. According to the diet, phase 3 is a dieter’s total return back to the natural, whole foods and steady consumption of good carbs, monosaturated fats, omega-3 oils, cancer-fighting lycopene, and other substances.

Pros Edit

South Beach is an excellent alternative to Atkins because it permits a healthier range of foods and is an excellent diet for those who have little to no weight to lose or want to keep the pounds from coming back. Experts agree that phases 2 and 3 are more nutritionally balanced, incorporating more vegetables, fruit, and whole-grain foods than the Atkins diet, which advises dieters to consume multivitamin, mineral, and fiber supplements.

The greatest advantage might be that dieters claim they are less hungry on the South Beach diet, which a relieving prospect to those whose hunger urges were problems while on other diets.

Cons Edit

South Beach faces the classical drawback of dieting: keeping weight off. Losing weight is easy, but keeping those pounds off is a difficult struggle for many. Noticeably absent from the diet is a regular exercise rule. Without some sweat along the way, dieticians agree it’s sometimes impossible to sustain desired weight loss.

Ketosis is the result of loss of glycogen supplies in the body, and it occurs in the initial 2-week phases. Many experience dehydration, dizziness, heart palpitations, fatigue, lightheadedness, constipation, irritability, and electrolyte imbalance. All this would spell possible disaster for those who try to exercise and diet simultaneously. Your best bet is to consult your physician before beginning any dieting plan.

More Resources Edit

There is no better place to look than Dr. Agatston’s book itself. You might also find his cookbook useful for planning your daily meals.

  • Arthur Agatston. The South Beach Diet, Rodale Books, 2003.
  • Arthur Agatston. The South Beach Diet Cookbook, Rodale Books, 2004.
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