Want a magic fix that can help you reduce weight and keep your heart healthy? Try the South Beach Diet Plan, a low-carb diet developed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston. Divided into three phases, the diet is very restrictive in the early phase, but gets progressively more flexible. The main aim of the South Beach Diet Plan is to avoid bad fats and carbohydrates. The body derives most of its energy from the fats and carbohydrates present in food. If you consume food that is too rich in fats or carbohydrates, your body cannot metabolize all of these nutrients and this can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Besides this, there are good and bad forms of fats and carbohydrates. If you cut down on the bad carbohydrates and saturated fats and eat just the good ones, it can lead to weight loss and ensure better health overall. The South Beach Diet Plan encourages foods that are rich in fiber, good carbs, and monounsaturated fats.
The South Beach Diet Plan
The South Beach Diet Plan aims to eliminate food cravings by encouraging the intake of healthier, fuller meals. Most often, people satiate food cravings by indulging in a lot of rich, fatty foods like cakes and fried foods. When you eat a meal that cuts down on food cravings, you automatically cut down on the consumption fat rich foods. That’s the whole idea of the South Beach Diet Plan
This diet is implemented in three phases. The first phase is very strict and restrictive. It cuts down on carbohydrates and fats, and even eliminates fruits. The second phase integrates fruits and more carbohydrates. The last phase is very flexible and allows you to choose from a wide variety of healthy foods. This is the maintenance phase, it helps you keep off the fat you lost in the first two phases.
The Three Phases Of The South Beach Diet Plan
The First Phase
The induction phase is a strictly low carb and low fat diet. In this phase, which lasts for two weeks, you have to keep off all foods that are rich in carbohydrates and even stop consuming fruit juices and alcohol. Your meals must be restricted to lean meats, skinless poultry, seafood, high fiber vegetables, nuts, and low fat dairy products.
Simple Meal Plan Ideas For First Phase
Have one serving of foods rich in protein, such as cheese, tofu, and eggs. You can also have seafood like salmon, or you can begin your day with scrambled eggs spiced up with some herbs. Finish your meal with coffee or tea.
Go for vegetable salads, seafood, or skinless chicken breast. Wash that down with a healthy, low calorie beverage.
Have some lean meat that’s spiced up with garlic, pepper, and lime juice. Use olive oil for seasoning. You can also substitute this option with grilled salmon with asparagus, followed by a green salad.
In the first phase, you’re allowed two snacks, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, and a helping of dessert. For these, you can choose from roasted nuts, cheddar cheese, and some low fat ice cream.
The Second Phase
If you made it through the first two weeks of the diet, you can heave a big sigh of relief and give yourself a pat on the back. Things are about to get easier. The second phase is the stage that helps you eliminate excess fat and reach your target weight. In this phase, you begin reintroducing good carbohydrates into your diet. Bad carbs (high glycemic index (GI) carbs) are a strict no-no. You are now allowed to start taking whole grain foods and bread. You can also begin including fruits in your meals.
Simple Meal Plan Ideas For Second Phase
In this phase, you can slowly start adding some selected fruits and complex carbohydrates to your diet.
Have a meal of slightly spicy oatmeal with walnuts and apricots, or try a bowl of oats porridge, made with skimmed milk and porridge oats. You can even have one turkey sausage instead. Include some greens like chopped spinach and add some berries to your meal. You could even go for a berry smoothie if you prefer that.
Make some lemon couscous chicken with tomato and cucumber slices, or try spice rubbed chicken fingers with cilantro sauce. Now that you can include carbs, go for some whole wheat bread with lean meat and vegetable slices. Choose the combo you want and enjoy your lunch. Also, how about adding a glass of low fat milk?
Rustle up some chicken and veggie stir fry, prepared with chicken breasts, chopped vegetables, and soy sauce, or eat some grilled chicken with plum sauce. You can also go in for a meal of rice noodles and vegetables. Have some salad in addition to your main meal and include a low fat beverage as well.
Enjoy some delicious desserts made out of apples and berries, or snack on string cheese or nuts. Do keep tabs on the fruits allowed at this stage, so that you know what you’re allowed to have for dessert.
The Third Phase
This phase is long term and it demands from you a commitment to change your eating habits, if you intend to keep off the weight you lost at the end of phase two. This is the least restrictive phase of the diet, but you should still stay away from bad carbs and fats.
Simple Meal Plan Ideas For Third Phase
This phase is a lifetime commitment to help you maintain your ideal weight. Although the restrictions are few, you have to be careful to avoid high fat and unhealthy foods.
Have scrambled eggs with grilled lean bacon and whole wheat bread. A salsa omelet and cheese combo is also a good breakfast option. You can also try some high fiber breakfast cereal with a nice fruit smoothie, or go for an orange or half a grapefruit. End your meal with a cup of tea or coffee.
Try a lean roast beef wrap with whole wheat bread or tortilla. You can also opt for or curried lentil soup instead. Perhaps you’d like to include a nice green salad with fresh tomatoes and spiced up with herbs.
Grilled chicken breast with couscous is one tasty option and so is grilled salmon with green asparagus and tomato salsa. Prepare a salad with green leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, olive oil, and some low sugar dressing for another delicious and healthy meal option.
Choose the snacks and dessert you want, but ensure that they’re not high in fat or sugar content. Continue with the foods that you found were effective in helping you reduce weight in the first two phases. This phase gives you the liberty to include a wider variety of foods and even indulge your cravings occasionally. But this phase is meant for the long haul, which means you should commit to it in the coming years to stay fit and healthy.
The South Beach Diet Plan – Dr. Agatston’s Study Results
The South Beach Diet became popular after the publication of the book The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss by Dr. Agatston. In 2004, Dr. Agatston conducted a study to assess the efficacy of his diet.
The study involved 40 people, divided into two groups. One followed the South Beach Diet Plan, while the other group followed the Step II diet prescribed by the American Heart Association. At the end of the study period, Dr. Agatston found that more people had persevered with the South Beach Diet Plan than the other diet. The South Beach Diet had also been more effective in helping people lose weight and cut back on bad cholesterol levels.
The Main Points Of The South Beach Diet Plan
Dr. Agatston designed this diet as an easy plan for weight loss and heart health. The diet focuses on eliminating high GI carbs and saturated fats from your diet. It encourages the consumption of good fats, good carbs, and lean proteins.
This is a low carb diet, but even at the restrictive first stage, you’re not required to eliminate all carbs and fats. In fact, you’re encouraged to keep your consumption at healthy levels, through all three stages of the diet. Though the initial plan for this diet did not include physical workouts, an exercise regimen became part of the plan in the new Supercharged version of the diet. The South Beach Diet Plan is an easy to follow weight loss regime as compared to other diet plans. Follow this diet to gradually develop healthier eating habits throughout your life.