The South Beach Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

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The south beach diet is a low-carb diet that teaches people to live a healthy life while eating lean meat, unsaturated fat, and low-glycemic index carbs.Dr. Arthur Agatston, a mid-90s cardiologist, created this diet plan mostly to help overweight, diabetic and pre-diabetic people lose weight while reducing the risk of contracting different heart diseases.

In essence, you are supposed to avoid bad fats and carbohydrates by eating healthy good ones. Bad carbohydrates and fats are known to make you feel hungrier, making you eat more thus the unhealthy weight gain.

This diet works in three different phases, all meant to be safe and effective when it comes to healthy living. The first two phases are meant for a certain period while the last phase is for life.

In short, you will not need to bother yourself with counting calories, weighing food portions, or depriving yourself of some tasty meals. This is because you get to eat three normal meals as well as snacks each day. Besides, the meal plans in this diet plan are highly flexible, so you get to enjoy what you crave on any day.

As for results, you will start to notice them sooner than you expect. The South Beach Diet by Dr. Agatstonwas first published in 2003 and become a bestseller. There is an updated version The South Beach Diet Supercharged with recently updated prices, a bestseller too.

So how does this diet plan work and what are the three phases involved in it? Here is a look at the south beach diet for beginners.

Phases 1

This phase lasts for up to 14 days and is very strict, in terms of food choices. It limits grains, fruits, as well as other high-carb food, in a bid to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels in your body. The restriction also stabilizes your hunger as well as food cravings.

You will consume three meals each day in this phase. The meals will consist of lean protein, legumes, small amounts of healthy fat as well as non-starchy vegetables. There are also two a-must-have snacks you have to eat each day.

As a result, you will expect to lose between 8-13 pounds of body weight, with zero life-threatening side effects.

Phase 2

You will begin this phase on day 15 of your south beach diet plan for gradual weight loss. You can maintain it as long as you can, in relation to your weight loss goals. Nonetheless, on average, you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

As for the food choices, all phase 1 foods are allowed here, and you get to enjoy limited amounts of good carbs like whole grains as well as fruits. If you like alcohol, you can enjoy certain types too.

Phase 3

Once you achieve your weight goal, you can easily advance to phase 3, the weight maintenance stage. You can use the phase 2 guidelines for proper eating and make it part of your lifestyle. You can also enjoy some treats. No food is off-limits here.

However, if you start to gain weight due to overeating, you can opt to return to phase 1 for 1-2 weeks before returning to phase 3 again.

Benefits of the south beach diet

  • You can expect to lose weight and belly fat without going on a hunger strike even if you are highly obese.
  • This diet plan can also reduce your blood sugar and insulin level.
  • You can expect to stop overeating while on this diet, as it increases the hormone that promotes fullness.
  • It can help you stay healthy thanks to its food choices like fatty fish, and leafy vegetables that can help you fight body inflammation.
  • You can also expect it to help keep your heart healthy thanks to its food choices like nuts, seeds, eggs as well as extra virgin oil.

Downsides to the south beach diet

  • It is highly strict, especially when it comes to the amounts and types of fats it allows. Some of the fats it allows like safflower oil and soybean oil are extremely high on omega-6 fatty acids. Take note that too much of omega-6 fats can lead to various health problems like heart disease and body inflammation


In conclusion, you are not restricted to any diet plan. However, you can always trust on the south beach diet to work wonders, as it has been tried and tested for years with some good results in terms of weight loss and maintenance.

In addition, for the south beach diet supercharged, by Dr. Agatston, you can supplement it with regular exercise. The book has a three-phase fitness program that accompanies the diet phases.




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