The South Beach Diet is designed to limit the amount and type of carbohydrates that you consume in the first 14 days. After this period you gradually bring back into your diet foods of low glycaemic index. It also promotes the use of monounsaturated fats over saturated fats that are also called trans fats. It falls somewhere between the low fat,high carbohydrate diet and the high fat designed by Atkins. With this diet one could lose weight and even lose belly fat.
Carbohydrates with low glycaemic index (less than 55) such as spaghetti, black-eyed beans, peaches, tinned chickpeas, oranges, macaroni, ,pineapple juice, instant rice ,grapes, and Grapefruit juice is known to slowly release sugar into the blood. This provides a consistent supply of glucose which leaves a person feeling satisfied for a long time.
If you take foods of low glycaemic index,you will experience few incidences of carbohydrates cravings and will not regularly feel hungry or inclined to overeat. The body is also less likely to develop insulin resistance. Low glycaemic index foods are your best foods if you really want to lose weight.
The South Beach Diet recommends taking monounsaturated oils such as olive oil and nuts and avoiding foods that are rich in saturated fats.
The diet should be taken in three phases. During Phase One you will eat foods with no carbohydrates so you do not experience variations in levels of blood glucose as well as insulin.It is hoped that this phase could address the challenges of insulin resistance.
During Phase One which lasts for 14 days, you will be eating lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, some nuts and olive oil. You will need to avoid high glycemic index foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, fruit, milk, sweets, cake, biscuits, ice cream, sugar and alcohol. You will also eat foods of low glycemic index such as broccoli and cabbage.
The phase two of the South Beach Diet involves introduction of foods of low glycemic index foods such as fruits, granary bread, wholegrain cereals and pasta and low-fat milk.These have complex carbohydrates. The intention in this phase is to continue losing weight as you take the diet until you attain your weight loss goal.
Once you attain your weight loss goal you do not want to lose or gain more weight. You want to maintain a steady weight. You should stay at your optimum weight for the rest of your life.
According to the South Beach diet there are no limits on portion sizes you eat. You are allowed to eat enough. You should also eat three meals and snacks everyday.
Although the South Beach Diet claims that a person can lose 8-13 lb in phase one, this may probably be due to water loss as its unlikely that one could lose the estimated 2000- 3250 calories per day for 14 days without exercise. It’s even more unlikely because the person is still on a low calorie diet. It is however possible to lose 1-2lb during phase two.
There are several reasons to commend South Beach Diet. For example the South Beach Diet limits the amount of foods containing saturated fats and encourages the eating of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.
This is a good thing as many people are still using saturated or trans fats. In addition diets that have low glycemic index are also encouraged. Cutting down on carbohydrates rich foods is higly commended as many people are obese because of consuming excess carbohydrates.
The challenge of the South Beach Diet is in the first two weeks of phase one. This phase requires determination and courage as you may feel week and hungry. You will however miss out on sources of B vitamins, iron, calcium and zinc but this is short term and is unlikely to have a significant clinical effect if you are a healthy person.