Diet The SouthBeach diet and lifestyle plan

Published on April 16th, 2013 | by George Conte


The SouthBeach diet and lifestyle plan

Designed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, this diet emphasizes on the “right” carbohydrates and the “right” fats. It is not based on calculating calories but its purpose is to control insulin levels so that the body can cleave sugars instead of storing them as fat.

This is an article series about the South Beach Diet. You can find all the articles below:

1. The SouthBeach diet and lifestyle plan

2. Second Phase of South Beach Diet – Constant Weight Loss

3. Third Phase of South Beach Diet – Lifetime Maintenance


How does the South Beach Diet work?

When you eat carbohydrates, glucose levels increase in your blood. The pancreas realizes this and it is activated, producing insulin in sufficient quantity to remove sugars from the blood. Insulin “unlocks” the cells to accept glucose. Fortunately the pancreas can perceive how much insulin is needed for glucose to enter the cells. If sugars from a meal are released quickly then more insulin is needed. If sugars are digested slowly, insulin is released gradually. This is a crucial difference in regard to obesity: the ”fast” sugars are worse, the “slow” are better. When food sugars are absorbed slowly, the increase of blood sugar is gradual, and equally gradual is the reduction when the secretion of insulin starts. The slow decrease of blood sugar translates into less persistent desire for more carbohydrates later. This is the original basic goal of the South Beach diet, so it recommends low glycemic index carbohydrates, leading to a slow increase in the blood glucose.

The South Beach diet is divided into three phases. The first phase lasts two weeks and aims to eliminate the desire for all types of carbohydrates and to activate weight loss. The second phase goal is to obtain long-term stable weight loss leading to a healthy weight level. Then, the third phase is followed on the rest of your life to maintain the healthy weight level.
The goal of the first phase is to eliminate the desire for all types of carbohydrates, including fruits. After two weeks, the first phase has been completed, and the desire should have been eliminated. By eliminating the fluctuations in blood glucose caused by carbohydrates, the diet is becoming easier. Then, as “good” carbohydrates are added again in the diet it is less likely to lose control and stop following the diet. These types of carbohydrates that are allowed in South Beach diet are those who have a low glycemic index.

The First Phase – Elimination of desire and start losing weight 

The first phase is strict and short since it lasts just two weeks. Two weeks is long enough to recover from the resistance of insulin that has been created because of the consumption of many “bad” (mainly processed) carbohydrates. The purpose of this phase is to stabilize the sugar in blood (which minimizes the desire to consume sugar), making it ideal for prediabetic and diabetic people, and for those who need to lose allot of weight. The main objective is to eliminate the desire for sugar consumption and refined starches in order to start losing weight.

At this stage it is not necessary to eat low amounts of carbohydrates as long as those that you consume are allowed (see tables below). The program of this phase allows large amounts of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index, i.e. foods needed by the body to satiate and put under control the sugar levels in blood. More specifically, the key feature of these two weeks is the consumption of foods rich in nutrients and fiber. The meals include lean protein, such as fish and other seafood, white meat from skinless poultry, and lean cuts of beef (vegetarians can consume meat substitutes, tofu, and beans). Also, vegetables rich in fiber, cheese with low fat, eggs, low fat dairy products and healthy, unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, in avocado, at seeds, and finally in extra virgin olive oil and canola oil.

Although this is the strictest phase of the diet, every day has six different opportunities for food – three meals, snacks in the morning and afternoon and dessert after dinner. Thus, the diet claims that those who follow this plan will not starve. The South Beach diet does not ask to calculate grams or calories. Meals should be regular in size, enough to satiate hunger, but no more.

List of foods that you can consume at the South Beach diet phase 1:

Beef Poultry (skinless) Seafood
Sirloin Chicken  All fish species
Beef tenderloin Turkey bacon (2 slices per day)  All types of shellfish
Other lean cuts Turkey breast
Chicken breast


Pork Calf canned luncheon meat
 Lean bacon Leg Cutlet Free of fat or low-fat
Boiled ham Steak
 Bon file


Nuts Eggs Fats
half pecans (15) There is no limit unless otherwise instructed by your doctor Canola
 30 pistachios  Olive oil
 20 small peanuts
1 tsp. Fresh Peanut Butter


Cheese (with low or no fat)  Spices Sweets
Cottage cheese with 1-2% fat Extracts (almond, vanilla, etc.)Low-fat margarine Limit of 75 kcal dayGranite sugarless
 Mozzarella  All sugar free spices sugar free jelly
Parmesan Black pepper, cayenne, red Sugar free candies
Provolone Horseradish Sauce Cocoa powder
Ricotta Powder chocolate sugar free
Cheddar Sugar substitutes (e.g. stevia)
Cream cheese with low fat
Toast Cheese


Vegetables Vegetables Vegetables
Cucumbers Cauliflower Peas
Artichokes Cabbage Broccoli
Mushrooms Water chestnuts Turnips
Lettuce Zucchini Eggplants
Chickpeas Celery Soy
Spinach Asparagus Lentils
Green beans


List of foods to avoid during the South Beach diet phase 1:

Beef Poultry Pork
Chest Processed products Baked ham with honey
Liver Duck
Ribs Chicken Wings and drumsticks
Other fatty pieces Goose


Calf Cheese Vegetables
Chest Edam Yam
Full-fat Sweet potatoes
Brie cheese Corn
Tomatoes (limited: a large tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes per meal)


Fruits  (In phase 1 avoid all fruits/fruit juice) like: Starches and carbohydrates (in phase 1avoid all starchy foods) like: Dairy products (in phase 1avoid all dairy products) like:
 Pears Bread, all types milk
 Blackberries Breakfast Cereals Soy Milk
Apricots Pasta, all kinds Yogurt
Grapefruit Rice, all kinds Frozen yogurt
Apples oats  Ice cream

Also in the first phase you should avoid Alcohol of any kind, including beer and wine.


Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

George Conte is a student of Nutrition and Dietetics, a fitness and healthy living enthusiast. After seven years of personal experience with weight loss, exercise and a total body transformation where he managed to burn 121+ pounds of fat he became the founder of A website dedicated to help you overcome obesity and transform your life the same way he did!

2 Responses to The SouthBeach diet and lifestyle plan

  1. Mahadi1971 says:

    According to you, The South Beach diet is divided into three phases. This is really nice. The first phase for activate wait loss, second phase for obtain long-term stable weight loss leading to a healthy weight level and third phase is followed on the rest of your life to maintain the healthy weight level. Healthy diet ever!!!

    • George Conte says:

      Yes you are correct there are three phases. I will write about the second and third phase in the near future so stay tuned there are more to come!

Leave a Reply to Mahadi1971 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Back to Top ↑