The 3 Phases of South Beach Diet: A Detailed Guide

Pranjali Nandurkar

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3 phases of south beach diet

South beach diet was invented in 1990 by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a Miami based cardiologist. Dr. Arthur noticed that people with high carbohydrate and low protein diet face chronic health issues like obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

He tried the low carbohydrate and high lean protein diet on himself and observed that it reduced belly fat. After that, he started to advise his patients the same and published a book in 2003 called “South Beach Diet” and revised it in 2009 as “South Beach Diet Supercharged”. It became popular and a worldwide bestseller.

3 phases of south beach diet
Source: theweek

Americans have a high amount of carbohydrates and refined sugar diet which includes foods like pasta, bread, honey, potato, alcohol, fruit juices etc. which shoot up the sugar level after ingestion. It leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes development of diseases like pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity and chronic heart disease. There are 3 phases of south beach diet for weight loss and maintenance of weight.

Table of Contents show

How the 3 Phases of South Beach Diet Work:

Phase 1

3 phases of south beach diet
Source: diabetesdaily

Phase-1 is for kick-starting the process of weight loss.

3 phases of south beach diet
Source: inc

This phase lasts for 2 weeks (14 days).

Source: thelowcarbgrocery

Phase 1 is a restrictive phase for consumption of all carbohydrates to get rid of sugar addiction.

3 phases of south beach diet
Source: theeconomictimes

It includes high protein lean diet like seafood, soya products, eggs, skinless poultry, non-resistant starch, low fat products etc.

Source: today

This is rapid weight loss phase in which a person loses 3 to 6 kg.

Phase 2

After getting rid of sugar addiction, phase-2 is a constantly weight reducing phase. The reduction of weight should be 0.5 kg to 1kg per week.

This phase includes the same diet from phase-1 but it is less restrictive regarding carbohydrates consumption.

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The totally restricted carbohydrates are then introduced to the diet one by one; like some vegetables, fruits and a little serving of alcohol.

Source: nytimes

This phase includes high protein, good carbohydrate and good fat diet.

3 phases of south beach diet
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Good carbohydrate includes low glycemic index food and vegetables rich in fibers, some fruits and whole grains.

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Good fat includes saturated fat like olive oil, butter and vegetables oils like safflower oil, soybean oil etc.

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This phase introduces a little serving of nuts, oilseeds and legumes in proteins.

2nd phase continues till the desired weight loss. After achieving the desired result, one can begin with phase-3.

Phase 3

After first two phases of weight loss, phase 3 is the maintenance phase of the South beach diet.

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Because of the first two phases, a person can control the sugar addiction and choose the good carbs and good fat diet.

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In phase 3, the person feels satisfied with the good choices of food because it’s not just a diet; it’s a change in lifestyle.

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There is no restriction on carbohydrate intake. Whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, light beer etc. can be consumed.

If the sugar addiction or unhealthy diet relapses, the person should go back to phase-1 and then continue with phase-3.


Source: foodfor7stagesoflife

South Beach Diet includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and two mandatory snacks which help to prevent overeating in the next meal.

Source: askthescientists

It is not just a diet but a lifestyle of choice.

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Not only people with chronic diseases, but a healthy person can also follow this diet.

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This is a sustainable diet which people can follow their whole life.

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It helps in weight loss without restriction on calorie intake.

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There are so many recipes in the book to plan your meal or be creative with your food.


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South beach diet has an extreme restriction on ‘fat’.

Source: wakeforestchiropractic

The vegetable oils recommended in this diet like soybean, safflower are high in Omega 6. Moreover, fatty fish like mackerel, salmonella are high in Omega 3. So, the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is more than the desired ratio. It could cause heart diseases.

Source: vikramhospital

There is a restriction on coconut oil because it is saturated fat but the vegetable oils recommended are also harmful for heart health.

Source: foodindustryexecutive

Needs more scientific evidence.


South beach diet is a lifestyle and can help in reducing weight without restricting calories.

It is a high protein, low carb and low fat diet.

We can overlook the drawbacks of south beach diet and reduce the consumption of vegetable oils and use monounsaturated fat like virgin olive oil, avocado oil instead. It will be beneficial in the long term.

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