Say goodbye to baked goods -- and other sugars, alcohol or starches -- during Phase 1.
Florida cardiologist Arthur Agatston designed the South Beach Diet in 1995 to help his patients attain better heart health. According to Agatston, the South Beach Diet is not low-carb or low-fat but helps you lose weight by emphasizing eating the right fats and carbohydrates. The plan restricts highly processed "bad" carbohydrates stripped of fiber and nutrition while emphasizing nutrient-dense foods like lean protein, fiber and unsaturated fats, which can lower bad cholesterol levels.
There are three phases to the South Beach Diet. The first phase is for beginners and is the strictest. Phase 1 lasts 14 days and is designed to help you stabilize blood sugar levels, rapidly lose weight and eliminate food cravings. In Phase 1, you remove all alcohol, starches and sugar from your diet while focusing on eating lean proteins, low-fat dairy, healthy fats and vegetables.
Especially in Phase 1, there are foods you can't eat at all. You'll have to steer clear of rice, potatoes, bread or baked goods. Even fruits, whole grains and fruit juice are off the list during phase 1. Starchy vegetables like corn, beets and carrots are also on the prohibited list for Phase 1. Some of the restricted foods are reintroduced in smaller servings during Phase 2, and if you reach Phase 3, you can eat almost anything in moderation.
What to Eat
The South Beach Diet includes three balanced meals and two snacks daily, and it permits full servings of the allowed foods in all phases. There are still many foods you can eat during Phase 1. Some choices are avocados, shellfish, poultry, olive oil, nuts, cheese and eggs. The South Beach Diet website offers a sample menu for Phase 1 beginners, with options such as smoked salmon scrambled eggs, summer vegetables with grilled scallops, roasted garbanzo beans and vanilla ricotta crГЁme. Constructing balanced meal plans is a key to success with Phase 1 and beyond.
Experts Weighing In
If you follow the instructions for Phase 1, Agatston says you won't miss your restricted foods for long, and you could lose up to 13 pounds during the first 14 days. On WebMD, registered dietician Cindy Moore cautions that most of these pounds are from lost water weight, so there is a slight risk of an electrolyte imbalance during Phase 1. Moore states the South Beach Diet meets most of the criteria for a healthy eating plan and advises consulting with a nutritionist to tailor the plan to your specific needs.