After two weeks, Phase II begins. Whole grain foods, fruits and dairy products are gradually returned to the diet, although in smaller amounts than were likely eaten before beginning the diet, and with a continued emphasis on foods with a low glycemic index. Sweet potatoes are also permissible. Red wine is also allowed in the beginning of the diet.
After the desired weight is obtained, the diet calls to move into Phase III, a maintenance phase. In Phase III the diet expands to include three servings of whole grains and three servings of fruit a day.
The diet distinguishes between good and bad carbohydrates, and good and bad fats.
- "Good carbs" are high in fiber or high in good fats, and have a low glycemic index, that is, they are digested and absorbed slowly. Other preferred carbohydrates are those with more nutritional value than the alternatives. For instance, brown rice is allowed in moderation, but white rice is discouraged. When eating any carbohydrates, Dr. Agatston recommends also eating fiber or fat to slow digestion of the carbohydrates.
- "Good fats" are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated and trans fats are bad fats.
The diet emphasizes (1) a permanent change in one's way of eating, (2) a variety of foods, and (3) ease and flexibility. Eating whole grains and large amounts of vegetables is encouraged, along with adequate amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, including o,ega-3 fatty acids, such as are contained in fish. It discourages the eating of overly refined processed foods (particularly refined flours and sugars), high-fat meats, and saturated fats in general.
The diet does not require counting calories or limiting servings; Agatston suggests dieters eat until they are satisfied. Dieters are told to eat 6 meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with small snacks between each meal. This is different from The Zone diet in that The Zone recommends (1) a proper ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, (2) "good" carbohydrates, proteins, and fats over "bad" ones, and (3) eating portion sizes that are right for your body