Life on the South Beach of Florida is sunny – and for many dieters, life on the South Beach Diet is slimming! What makes this diet unusual: it was created by a Florida cardiologist, who developed it to reduce the risk of heart disease in his patients. When they shed pounds, he realized that he had created a diet that worked to enhance both physical appearance and heart health.
- Phase 1 lasts about two weeks, with a focus on lean protein such as lean meat, white meat poultry, eggs and fish. You’ll eliminate pasta, rice, bread, dairy, sugar and fruit. You’ll enjoy nibbling on 1 serving of nuts daily, and you can also eat cheese (specific kinds). No alcohol is permitted, but you can have two servings of dairy daily, such as low-fat milk and yogurt. You can have a wide range of vegetables, except for potatoes, corn and carrots. Use healthy fats, such as olive oil, on your salads.
- Phase 2 incorporates fruit and small amounts of selected whole grains, in addition to the food listed for Phase 1.
- Once you get to Phase 3, you’re cruising on maintenance. You’ll need to carefully add in your favorite carbs to maintain your weight loss success.
How the diet works:
When Florida cardiologist Arthur Agatston, M.D., designed his South Beach Diet, he evaluated foods in terms of the glycemic index as well as total carbohydrates, health and calories. To provide the most weight loss at the start of the diet, he designed the two-week “jump start” first phase to be similar to the Atkins diet. A sample day on Phase 1:
- Breakfast: An omelet sautéed in olive oil with ½ cup of mushrooms. A cup of coffee or tea with milk and Equal or Splenda.
- Mid-morning snack: 15 almonds, such as Best of All Organic Almonds from Vitacost.
- Lunch: Enjoy fish such as Wild Planet Wild Alaskan Salmon with a small salad topped with olive oil salad dressing. Make it filling by adding 1/3 cup of beans, such as Eden Foods Organic Black Beans, to your salad.
- Snack: Nibble on veggies or lean protein. Tip: Heading to the shopping mall or at work and want a snack? Then you’ll love Golden Valley Natural Turkey Jerky.
- Dinner: Try broiling a chicken breast sprinkled with zero-calorie herbs such as Frontier Seasonings Organic Garlic. Enjoy with two cups of vegetables and a tablespoon of mayonnaise such as Spectrum Naturals Organic Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. You can even have a sugar-free dessert, such as one cup of sugar-free gelatin.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com, Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.