Cooltan Tan-Through Swimwear

How to Lose Weight on the South Beach Diet

Eating Well for a New Year’s Resolution, Weight Loss, and Healthy Lifestyle Goals

Copyright © All Rights Reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission; Posted November 29, 2011

Eggs and cheese for the South Beach Diet; photo courtesy Kelly Smith


Losing weight always is high on New Year’s resolution lists. Why? Obesity is a prime health concern resulting in heart disease and diabetes. Why not try the South Beach diet? What’s to lose? Just a few pounds!

In the English-speaking world, cook books and diet books are huge sellers. It is an irony that doesn’t escape publishers or writers. But beware, many fad diets range from kooky to downright dangerous. But this popular diet works.

History of the South Beach Diet

This program didn’t start as a diet with weight loss for the sake of weight loss as the motive. Rather, Dr. Arthur Agatston, M.D., a cardiologist, developed the program in 1995 with the prime motive of helping his patients improve heart health. Losing weight was just the way to make that happen.

Dr. Agatston recognized that we didn’t just eat too much; we tend to eat the wrong things, often to the point of malnutrition. The doctor simply differentiated between good carbs/bad carbs and good fats/bad fats.

The end result is an eating program that is not overly restrictive, which is one reason for its success in the long run.

How This Weight Loss System Works

The diet approaches weight loss from the direction of blood chemistry. With over-processed foods, especially carbohydrates, much of the fiber has been removed along with many nutrients. This alters the way food is metabolized. Think white bread, white rice, and fast food in general.

When carbs (sugars) are ingested, the pancreas produces insulin which lets the sugars into the tissues. Overly-processed foods break down too quickly, which puts insulin production on overdrive.

Thus, the amount of insulin released does its job so well that the blood sugar drops too fast, leading to hypoglycemia.

What guidelines are available to distinguish between quickly-processed (bad) carbs and slowly processed (good) carbs? Fortunately, the glycemic index is readily available.

Even those athletes who are carbo-loading to train for a marathon or an ultramarathon will benefit from more stable blood sugar levels.

The South Beach Diet — Phase One and Phase Two

Phase one is the more restrictive of the two and lasts two weeks. The purpose is to get the body processing food properly. Expect to lose an average of 10 pounds. No alcohol is allowed since that’s mostly simple sugars.

Three meals a day are consumed, plus snacks. What’s on the plate? Eggs, meat, cheese, nuts. Fruits are off limits. Vegetables are allowed, but only if they’re high in fiber and nutrients. There’s no hunger involved in phase one. All the allowed foods process slowly.

Phase two is much less restrictive. Fruits are introduced back into the diet. So are carbohydrates, although they are whole grain pasta and rice. Sweet potatoes replace those monster white Idaho potatoes. How long does this phase last? Until the target weight is reached.

Phase Three of the Diet

How long does phase three last? Forever. But the beauty of this phase is that it’s not that restrictive. The dieter understands what’s healthy and what’s not. So allowing for a slice of cake or some bad carbs every now and then is OK. It the weight starts rising, just back off to a few days of phase one or two. Tweaking is key.

This is perhaps the beauty of the South Beach diet; it allows humans to be humans, not portion-weighing machines. It’s easy to stick to! Over the past few years a cult of sorts has developed around this diet.

One of the good things from this phenomenon is that there are so many diet-compliant recipes floating around on the internet. Look around; you may never eat the same meal twice.

Get your own copy of the book: The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss


  • Arthur Agatston, M.D. (2011) The South Beach Diet. Rodale Books

More Recipe and Nutrition Articles

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Website © 2012 KSmith Media, LLC; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission. Webmaster’s Google profile