Slow-Carbing the South Beach Diet

South Beach Diet — Arthur Agatston, M.D.

South Beach is pretty much a Slow Carb Diet to begin with. The suggestions I would make would be to stay in Phase One for longer, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose or are diabetic. Phase One of South Beach allows meat, chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish, (Vegetarian Options*) vegetables, eggs, cheese, nuts and salads with olive oil dressing. You’re supposed to eat until you are satisfied and to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day (comprised of these foods) and you’re encouraged to eat all this food every day whether you feel like it or not.  And you will have gone through the first couple of days without refined carbs and sugar — withdrawal — why not stay in this phase for longer than 2 weeks?

And as always, I recommend a PLANNED meal once a week — best if it’s the same meal every week (Friday night dinner, lunch on Saturday) — that is OFF the diet. This is a great way to stick to a weight loss plan for a long time and to transition into healthy, non-weight gaining eating after you reach your goals.

Too, if you are particularly attracted to refined carbs, or are diabetic, I’d recommend that you limit those or keep them out of your diet except for the one meal a week — for life. There is no nutrition in baked goods, ice cream and many breads and we can live very well without them. Potatoes and rice, though they are not really bad for us, should be eaten only occasionally.  Now, I  love potatoes and rice and plan to have them now and then for the rest of my life. But seldom is safer…

One of the most important facts associated with this diet, which came out long before Gary Taubes published his first book  (Good Calories, Bad Calories), is that the creator of the South Beat Diet is a cardiologist who was looking for a way to treat his heart patients and that he learned that low fat diets are not good for us and that we need to include healthy fats in our diet. Testing the diet on his patients in the early 2000’s, Dr. Agatston learned that a diet that included fats improved blood chemistry!

So don’t be obsessed with how much fat you are consuming. Don’t drink it out of the bottle or lick it off the knife :-) ,  but a little butter on vegetables, the normal fat in meat and eggs, and salad dressing are FINE. You might also want to investigate supplementing your diet with Fish Oil Capsules.

So — if you choose to do the diet as written, you can do a longer Phase One and then move on the Phases Two and Three.  In any case, it’s a good, sound diet plan.

You can buy the book here:

The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss

 

 

* For Vegetarians:

It takes a little more “protein” effort to follow this plan if you are a vegetarian, but it definitely can be done.

Firm tofu is a good staple — with added Brazil nuts to get the methionine, the only essential amino acid that is not in tofu. Boca Burgers are a good choice, too, as they contain 13 grams of protein and only 2 grams of digestible carbohydrates. Read labels on meat substitute products, if you use them, to make sure that the carb content is small. Tempeh works well as an addition, though it has more carbs than tofu or Boca Burgers — 7 grams of digestible carbs per serving, but a full 20 grams of protein. And eggs and cheese work well, too.

 

 

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