South Beach Diet Plan

South Beach Diet Plan: Read article on South Beach Diet with it various phases, pros, cons, long term & short term effects and more.

Ishi Khosla
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Ishi KhoslaPublished at: Feb 24, 2011Updated at: Jan 17, 2013
South Beach Diet Plan

Arthur Agatston a cardiologist from Florida US, in 1990 aimed to change his patient’s diet and eating habit by creating his own kind of healthy diet. With the diet he aimed to protect his patients from serious medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. His weight-loss plan The South Beach Diet, was published in the year 2003.


The South Beach Diet: Getting Back to Basics


The South Beach Diet restricts refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar the foods known to cause weight gain. People on this diet are encouraged to eat lean protein, low-fat dairy, and good carbs such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruit to promote weight loss. These kind of carbs (whole grains, vegetables, and fruit) and proteins reduce craving for foods that lead to typical hunger-overeat-gain weight cycle.


The diet stresses on eating before you are actually hungry as this prevents overeating. There are three phases in the diet and phase one is most restrictive. In the phase one of diet also you can have three meals, one dessert, and two snacks daily. 

  •  Phase one: Phase one lasts for two weeks and in this phase you can eat very limited food items like-- lean sources of protein, high-fiber vegetables and legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy products, and oils like olive oil which are rich in unsaturated fats. This phase aims to wean the wrong eating habits like eating junk foods. As the choices are very limited you really don’t have to think what to eat and this stops craving. Eating before you are actually hungry and eating foods high in fiber (whole grains, fruits, vegetables) prevents overeating, controls blood sugar and the insulin response to carbs. Insulin is secreted in response to carbs and high insulin levels are known to have several adverse effects.
  • Phase two: In this phase you are allowed to eat whole grains and fruits as well, besides what you eat in phase one. This phase of diet is continued till you reach your target weight. The carbs rich in fiber have a low glycemic index, prevent fluctuations in blood glucose and rapid increase of insulin levels.
  • Phase three: Phase three lasts for a lifetime. You can eat other foods in moderation to sustain your weight loss.


The newer version of the diet or the South Beach Diet Supercharged encourages physical activity besides diet modification for weight loss. Information on additional foods and recipes is also given in this newer version of the diet.


The South Beach Diet: The Pros


  • The plan is very simple and food in the initial phase does not need to be measured as very limited number of foods can be eaten.
  • Some people can have significant weight loss in the first two weeks as the diet is very restricted in the first phase.
  • Craving for highly refined carbs is decreased and all the foods recommended in the diet are heart healthy. Besides this if you have diabetes blood sugar control due to lower intake of carbs is helpful. The diet contains fiber a definite plus.


The South Beach Diet: The Cons


  • The diet lacks adequate amount of calcium which is very important for women. Calcium supplementation along with vitamin D is definitely needed
  • Restriction of healthy foods like fruit and vegetables during Phase one is a definite disadvantage. However as it for only two weeks it is not a major problem.
  • You may find severe restriction of several food items in Phase one challenging. Specific recommendation for portions for several food groups is not defined and this can lead to undereating or worse overeating.


The South Beach Diet: Short- and Long-Term Effects


In the short term immediate gain are seen as the phase one o...