“The South Beach Diet is not low carb, nor is it low fat” – Dr. Agatston
The South Beach Diet plan was created by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston based at Mount Sinai Hospital – in South Florida.
The diet was originally developed for overweight heart patients. The patients experienced better health and weight loss. The South Beach Diet has come to be one of the most popular diets of all time.
Agatston’s book The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss quickly became a best-seller (despite a seemingly pretentious subtitle).
The diet includes foods such as whole grains, healthy fats, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables. It was constructed in such a way as to be sustainable for most.
The original book lead to a number of updates, as new research allowed.
The Supercharged version allows more foods than the original South Beach formula. Agatston says that he updated the diet to allow for greater flexibility based on feedback from his patients and on his website.
The new Supercharged plan also includes 20 minutes of a specific type of exercise called ‘interval training’ that Agatston claims will speed up metabolism, increase the rate of weight loss and improve general health.
He states that interval training allows dieters to achieve maximum results with a minimum time commitment. In this he is correct – research continues to show benefits from this kind of training.
The South Beach Diet begins with a somewhat restrictive two-week induction phase – which will result in weight loss in most people. In this phase most carbohydrates (such as rice, pasta, and breads) must be avoided.
There are three meals a day and snacks — eating until your hunger is satisfied. Meats, shellfish, chicken, turkey, and fish are all on the menu – along with nuts, cheese (fat-free), eggs, salads, and vegetables.
This second phase includes specific meal plans and recipes. It reintroduces some of the foods avoided in Phase 1 – but only sparingly.
In this phase weight loss should be in the region of 1-2 pounds per week. This length of time on this phase is indefinite (i.e. until a specific goal is reached).
The third phase is about living the lifestyle more than a phase – its about eating healthy foods, and maintaining weight.
Although the South Beach Diet may seem similar to the Atkins diet or the Zone diet, Dr. Agatston stresses it is not a strictly low-carb diet. It’s all about balancing the good carbs against the “bad” carbs.
The first 14-day phase is definitely a low-carb phase. However the South Beach Diet is based around the Glycemic Index, and carbs are chosen according to this index.
It is quite feasible to follow the principles in the diet from Phase 2 only (i.e. forgoing Phase 1) – they make good sense. The scientific backing for an ‘induction’ phase is unclear.
About half of the original book was made up of recipes. The best source for more recipes is the Quick and Easy Cookbook (over 200 recipes).
|PHASE 1||PHASE 2||PHASE 3|
Tomato juice, 6 oz.
Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and mushrooms
Canadian bacon, 2 slices
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute Snack
Part-skim mozzarella cheese stick
Berry smoothie (8 oz. Dannon Light ‘n Fit fruit-flavored yogurt, ½ cup berries, ½ cup crushed ice, blended)
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
1 hard-boiled eggLunch
Lemon Couscous Chicken
Tomato and cucumber slices
Dannon Light ‘n Fit yogurt, 4 oz.
Tex-Mex eggs (2 eggs scrambled with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and salsa)
Whole grain toast, 1 slice
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substituteLunch
Roast Beef Wrap
The only thing we could think of is the potential food cost.
If you look at the meal plan above you will see that some of the foods listed could get expensive. However it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible (not easy – but possible) to source the healthy foods required (lean proteins, quality carbs, etc) while on a budget.
South Beach still has an online in presence in the form of a meal delivery program.