by Babs ‘O’ Reilly
(Miami Beach, Florida, USA)
One of the most popular low carb plans in the dieting world today is the South Beach Diet. Developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston, the plan incorporates lower amounts of carbohydrates and fat in a lifetime maintenance style program to help participants lose weight quickly and maintain a healthy weight over the course of their entire lives.
The diet is not specifically low carb, as it tries to tell you which carbs are good and which are bad, but the simple truth is that in doing so, it becomes a low carb diet plan.
Agatston’s book The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss was first printed in 2003, and has topped reader lists since that time. There have also been a number of follow-up cookbook releases.
The South Beach Diet is divided into three parts, or phases. During Phase I of the diet, participants endure fairly strict conditions. They are not allowed to have bread or any other baked products, pasta, fruit, rice, alcohol or any sugar.
The first phase lasts for two weeks, and many participants report a weight loss of up to thirteen pounds during the time period. The foods you do actually get to eat during this first phase include most types of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
There is a pretty specific list of what you can and cannot eat throughout the course of the diet. You may also find yourself eating vegetables, cheese and nuts during Phase I.
You do have the opportunity to eat until you are no longer hungry, but you can only eat the foods on your list. Most Phase I dieters eat three meals per day, two snacks, and dessert.
Once you get past the first two tough weeks, you get to move on to Phase II of the diet. During this time, you get to start taking some of those foods of your “Do Not Eat” list and adding them to your “Consume with Caution” list.
The trick to this phase, of course, is to eat those foods you were eating before, but to eat less of them. There are still, of course, many foods that will remain on your “Do Not Eat” list for the duration of your dieting experience.
Phase III is the maintenance part of your South Beach Diet. The foods you eat here are pretty much up to you, but the theory is that you will already be so used to following the diet that you won’t want to go back to your old ways of eating.
Since brand names like Kraft have signed onto the South Beach bandwagon, it may be one of the easier diet plans to follow. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re a carb lover, this plan is not for you. Moreover, if you’re a vegetarian, you’re likely not to go for this low carb diet either.