South Beach Diet for Beginners

South Beach Diet for Beginners

Due to the restrictive food lists, the South Beach diet for beginners can be a tough change in habits and lifestyle. However, through this diet comes the opportunity for a positive change and healthier way of living. This plan comes with a cost, but is not as expensive as some others. It is an affordable option for anyone who is looking for such a change.

The History

This program was designed by Dr. Arthur Agatston and registered dietician Marie Almon. Dr. Agatston attended the New York School of Medicine and did his internal medicine studies at Montefiore Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and received his Cardiology Fellowship from New York University.

Marie Almon is a licensed registered dietician holding a Master’s degree in nutrition and has more than 25 years of clinical practice, 11 of those years she was the cardiac rehabilitation dietician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Florida.

Dr. Agatston was not searching for a program that would become a well-known diet plan; his goal was to simply find a way to help patients from having heart problems. In his studies he concluded that the patients following the diet created by the American Heart Association were not doing as well as he thought that they should be. His studies helped him develop theories based on the glycemic index that shows that the body’s blood sugar and its insulin respond differently to various types of food. He also studied the effect of stabilizing insulin levels, cravings and levels of hunger, leading to a weight loss that would help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

His findings have been presented and reviewed by the American College of Cardiology as well as the American Heart Association.

How Does the Diet Work?

Dr. Agatston states that the hunger cycles we feel are not from carbohydrates in general but more from the carbohydrate rich foods that our systems digest very rapidly which increases our blood sugar levels. These food sources are common such as refined sugars and the processed grains that are relied upon heavily in the Western world. This diet program replaces those foods with natural foods such as fresh vegetables, whole grains and beans. All carbohydrates that we consume should have a very low glycemic index.

Replacing bad fats with good fats is easy to do. One simply replaces the saturated fats and the trans-fats with healthier and omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. Leave the fatty meats alone and eat the leaner portions, eat natural nuts such almonds and fish with high oil content such as tuna and salmon.

The South Beach Diet for Beginners

Much like several of the other diet programs there are phases that one works their way through. The start of the South Beach diet week 1 is always the most demanding as one tries to get their body use to a restricted diet. They do not need to worry about counting the calories, fat grams or number of carbs on this diet, and can eat three meals a day plus two snacks and a dessert. 

Phase One

This phase of the South Beach diet for beginners eliminates all processed carbohydrates, fruits, juices, starches, pasta’s, alcohol and sugars and are replaced with vegetables with a lower glycemic index. There will be plenty of salads, lean meats, beans, eggs, and low fat dairy products to eat. Because this portion of the diet is so restrictive on overall controlled intake is recommended, but not longer than 14 days before moving onto the start of the second phase.

Phase Two

In phase 2 South Beach diet for beginners will allow a person the re-introduction of fruits and vegetables, as well as unprocessed natural grains.  The diet will now include three servings of fruits and starches per day which are commonly found in a daily diet.

Phase Three

This phase is the final one and is the life-long maintenance program designed to keep the weight off and give someone a better and healthier lifestyle. There are no restricted foods but the guidelines still recommend eating 3 servings of fruit and 3-4 starches per day.

The main key to losing the unwanted weight in this diet is to eliminate bad fats and bad carbs, and replace them with better choices. The diet does not replace all the carbs but you will find that the ones that are on this diet are low on the glycemic index with items such as turkey, chicken, low fat dairy products, fish, nuts, whole grains, and much more.

The average person can lose between 7 to 12 pounds within the first 14 days, and from that point forward 1 to 3 pounds a week, depending on their starting weight.

The Cost of the Program

The South Beach diet for beginners food lists and instructive guide, Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life, are essential to utilize when on this diet. The cost will depend on where you can find the book, but one can expect to pay around $25. It might be found to cost less on sites such as Amazon or EBay.

This diet also offers an optional online membership for around $5.00 per week. That fee includes a personalized weight tracker, newsletters, community bulletin board, a shopping guide and hundreds of useful recipes.

While this is known as a very well thought out program there is little scientific research that acclaims or denies this program for the weight loss or benefits to the cardiovascular system they claim. Like many other programs, the South Beach diet for beginners will be hard at first due to the restrictive foods that are allowed. This diet will take much planning and effort, and a very strong mindset to make it successful. Set your goals, work hard to achieve them and enjoy the new change in health and lifestyle that you can create.


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