South Beach is actually a diet plan, started by Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist from Miami, Florida. The underlying philosophy of this diet plan is consumption of ‘good carbohydrates’ and ‘good fat’. This diet plan mainly focuses on cardiac patients and derived from Agatston’s scientific dieting research. As per his theory, the consumption of ‘bad carbohydrates’, such as those found in foods with a high glycemic index, produce an insulin-resistance syndrome. This damages the hormone insulin's ability to properly process fat or sugar.
Apart from this, he propagates that excess consumption of ‘bad fats’, such as saturated fat and trans-fat, contributes to an increase in cardiovascular diseases. Thus, to prevent these two conditions, Agatston's emphasizes to minimize the consumption of bad fats and bad carbohydrates. Moreover, he promotes the consumption of good fats and good carbohydrates. South Beach diet plan is planned out in three phases.
Phase I of the diet plan lasts two weeks. During this stage, dieters are treated for eliminating insulin resistance, by avoiding high or moderately high-glycemic carbohydrates, like dairy, sugar, candy, bread, potatoes, fruit, cereals and grains. They are given normal-size helpings of meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and nuts. They can have three meals a day, along with snacks, to satiate their hunger. Alcohol is completely prohibited. This makes dieter lose weight, changes his/her body chemistry and ends cravings for sugars and starches.
After two weeks, Phase II begins, wherein whole grain foods, fruits and dairy products are gradually returned to the diet in smaller amounts. However, there is consistent emphasis on the consumption of foods with low glycemic index. Sweet potato and red wine are also permitted, but in moderate quantity. This helps the dieter in attaining the desired weight.
After attaining the desired weight, the diet plan shifts to Phase III. It is more or less a maintenance phase. It includes three servings of whole grains and fruits per day. The dieter should maintain the difference between good and bad carbohydrates and good and bad fats. ‘Good carbohydrates’ are foods high in fiber, with a low glycemic index, which are digested and absorbed slowly. On the other hand, ‘Good fats" are foods containing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids.