The South Beach diet is a diet plan started by Miami, Florida area cardiologist Arthur Agatston which emphasizes the consumption of "good carbs" and "good fats". Dr. Agatston developed this diet for his cardiac patients based upon his study of scientific dieting research. The diet first appeared in a book of the same name published by Rodale Press. The official website of the diet can be found at South Beach Diet Online.
Dr. Agatston believes that excess consumption of so-called "bad carbohydrates", such as the rapidly-absorbed carbohydrates found in foods with a high glycemic index, creates an insulin resistance syndrome—an impairment of the hormone insulin's ability to properly process fat or sugar. In addition, he believes along with many physicians that excess consumption of "bad fats", such as saturated fat and trans fat, contributes to an increase in cardiovascular disease. To prevent these two conditions, Agatston's diet minimizes consumption of bad fats and bad carbs and encourages increased consumption of good fats and good carbs.
The diet has three phases. In all phases of the diet, Dr. Agatston recommends minimizing consumption of bad fats.
The diet begins with Phase I, which lasts two weeks. Dieters attempt to eliminate insulin resistance by avoiding high or moderately high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as dairy, sugar, candy, bread, potatoes, fruit, cereals, and grains. During this phase, Dr. Agatston claims the body will lose its insulin resistance, and begin to use excess body fat, causing many dieters to lose between 8 and 13 pounds. For the first two weeks, dieters eat normal-size helpings of meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and nuts. This phase includes three meals a day, plus snacks, encouraging the dieter to eat until their hunger is satisfied. No alcohol is allowed (though red wine will be introduced later in small amounts). The dieter loses weight, changes body chemistry, and ends cravings for sugars and starches.
- Beef: Lean cuts, such as sirloin (including ground), tenderloin, top round
- Poultry (skinless): Cornish hen, turkey bacon (two slices per day), turkey and chicken breast
- Seafood: All types of fish and shellfish (Shrimp,clams,oysters)
- Pork: Broiled ham, Canadian Bacon, Tenderloin
- Veal: Chop, cutlet, leg; top round
- Lunchmeat: Fat-free or low-fat only
- Cheese (fat-free or low fat): American, cheddar, cottage cheese (1–2% or fat-free), cream cheese substitute (dairy free), feta, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, ricotta, string
- Nuts: Almonds (15), peanut butter (1 tsp), peanuts (20 small), pecan halves (15), pistachios (30)
- Dairy: Milk (lowfat or nonfat), Yogurt (lowfat or nonfat PLAIN), unsweetened or sucralose sweetened soy milk.
- Eggs: The use of eggs is not restricted unless otherwise noted by your physician. Use egg whites and egg substitute as desired
- Tofu: Use soft, low-fat or lite varieties
- Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beans (black, butter, chickpeas, green, Italian, kidney, lentils, lima, pigeon, soy, split peas, wax), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms (all varieties), snow peas, spinach, sprouts (alfalfa), turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini
- Fats: Canola oil, olive oil
- Spices and seasonings: All spices that contain no added sugar, broth, extracts (almond, vanilla, or others), horseradish sauce, I can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray, pepper (black, cayenne, red, white)
- Sweet treats (limit to 75 calories per day): Candies (hard, sugar-free), chocolate powder (no-sugar-added), cocoa powder (baking type), sugar-free fudgsicles, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-free gum, sugar-free popsicles, sugar substitute.
- Beef: Brisket, Liver, other fatty cuts
- Poultry: Chicken wings and legs, duck, goose, poultry products (processed)
- Pork: honey-baked ham
- Veal: breast
- Cheese: Brie, edam, non-reduced fat
- Vegetables: beets, carrots, corn, potatoes (white),Potatoes, sweet
- Fruit: Avoid all fruits and fruit juices in Phase 1 including: Apples, apricots, berries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, peaches, pears
- Starches and Carbs: avoid all starchy foods in Phase 1 including: bread (all types), cereal, matzo, oatmeal, rice (all types), pasta (all types), pastry and baked goods (all types)
- Dairy: Avoid all dairy in Phase 1, including: yogurt (cup-style and frozen), ice cream, milk (low-fat, fat-free, whole), milk (soy)
- Alcohol of any kind, including beer and wine