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South Beach Diet

Diet Origins

The South Beach Diet was originally developed by a cardiologoigt to help his cardiac and diabetes patients lose weight with the objective of preventing heart attacks and strokes. The first book describing this diet was published in 2003 and updated 2008.  The author claims the diet principles are consistent with the American Heart Association guidelines.  

Diet Philosophy 

The South Beach Diet is based on the philosophy that our bodies are designed to eat the foods of our hunter-gatherer past and that we are to exercise as they did.  The diet is not a short term fix but rather a recipe for living a long, healthy, active life. 

Diet Claims

The South Beach Diet claims range from physical to mental:

  • Burn fat faster
  • Lose sugar/starch cravings
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Improve overall health
  • Improve mood
  • Improve brain power
  • Protect you from diseases - heart disease, diabetes, cancer

Diet Structure

The diet has three phases with each phase containing three meals and two snacks.  The food includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, unsaturated fats, and low-fat dairy.  

Phase I:  This is a two-week initiation that bans starches and sugars for people with over 10 pounds to lose or who need to deal with food cravings.

Phase II:  Good carbohydrates are introduced with the occassional red or white wine.  This phase continues until you reach your goal weight.

Phase III:  In this maintenance phase, no food is banned, but you will need to make better food choices as learned in Phase I and Phase II.   

"The South Beach Diet is not a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, nor is it a low-fat diet.  It is a nutritionally sound diet that consists of a wide variety of wholesome foods."

Banned Foods

Phase I: starches and sugars (refined breads, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies, alcohol), whole grains, and whole fruits.

Phase II:

Phase III: none


Recommended with dinner every day.


After the first two weeks of the diet plan, you can have a glass (women) or two (men) of wine with dinner.  


The diet author stresses the importance of obtaining nutrients from food, however highly recommends omega-3 supplements, especially people who don't eat fish at least twice weekly.  


This diet plan author has worked with a a professor of excercise physiology to develop a 20-minute a day fitness program.

Diet Testing 

The diet author has testimonials of succcess.

Anticipated Weight Loss

Measuring Tools

Glycemic Index


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