The South Beach Diet is a phased approach to weight loss and. In the three major phases dieters will eat selected foods and avoid others, in order to balance the glycemic index to lose weight and achieve optimal metabolism.
The Glycemic Index
The GI is a measure of the relative amount of blood sugar created in response to consuming carbohydrates. Different carbs metabolize at different rates and slowing the absorption of sugars is one way to shift insulin levels, which play a role in storing excess calories as fat, according to South Beach Diet inventor Dr. Agatston, a Florida cardiologist.
The basic equation – more calories used than consumed leads to weight loss – still holds. But this approach to dieting and weight loss attempts to shift how those calories are used.
In Phase 1 of the South Beach diet, which lasts exactly two weeks, the focus is on shifting from high fat carbs to low fat carbs, such as from fatty cuts of beef to boiled ham. It also attempts to reduce starches such as bread and potatoes, moving instead to foods such as pinto beans and black eyed peas. Sugary soft drinks are eliminated completely. No beer or wine is allowed during this period.
The idea is to adjust the body’s cravings away from high sugar-content, high-fat content foods. This, according to the theory, helps flip the body’s ‘switch’ that causes us to store fat. When the switch is on we may crave certain foods, but after ‘retraining’ those cravings disappear gradually.
Portions remain at normal sizes however, and there’s no concentration on counting calories. That makes it simple to develop lists of allowed and forbidden foods to eat during these two weeks.
In Phase 2 some of the rules are relaxed a little. Certain formerly forbidden foods may be consumed. Pasta and bread, in moderate quantities, are back on the ‘Allowed’ list. Dieters can choose from a wide range of foods, such as rice, cereal, fruit and more. The allowed foods to emphasize should be those with a low-GI index. Red wine is re-introduced, again in moderation.
This period lasts as long as needed to achieve the individual dieter’s weight loss goal. For some that may be only a few weeks. For others, it may require several months or more.
Once the weight loss goal is achieved, it’s important to be able to keep those pounds off. Many dieters become frustrated because they see hard-to-lose pounds come sliding back on over time. Phase 3 represents a lifelong commitment to a change in eating habits that will help retain that hard-won goal.
The emphasis is on ‘good’ carbs versus ‘bad’ carbs, as well as choosing ‘good’ over ‘bad’ fats. Good, here, means low GI, bad is high-GI. High fat meats are still discouraged, except as an occasional indulgence. Refined sugars are a no-no. Fiber, to slow digestion of carbs, is considered good, as is eating foods with ample Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish.
The South Beach Diet can be put in the category of ‘low carb’ but the emphasis is more on the type of carbohydrates than the amount contained. As with any major diet change considered, consulting your physician before starting is always wise.
Working with aor weight loss coach can help anyone who wishes to modify their diet maintain the motivation necessary. Motivation is the key to making the changes that you desire.