The South Beach Diet is a low-GI diet originally developed for heart patients in the US. There’s no calorie counting and no limits on portions. You’re encouraged to eat three meals and two snacks a day, and follow an exercise plan. People who have more than 10lb to lose start with phase one. This is a two-week quick weight loss regime where you eat lean protein, including meat, fish and poultry, as well as some low-GI vegetables and unsaturated fats. Low-GI carbs are re-introduced during phases two and three, which encourage gradual and sustainable weight loss.
If you can avoid phase one and start on phase two, there are fewer dietary restrictions in the rest of the plan than some other popular diets. After phase one, the diet broadly follows the basic principles of healthy eating. No major food groups are eliminated and plenty of fruit, veg and low-GI carbs are recommended.
The severe dietary restrictions of phase one may leave you feeling weak and you will miss out on some vitamins, minerals and fibre. You may initially experience side effects such as bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation.
The first two weeks are the most difficult to get through. We’re concerned this diet promises such a large weight loss – up to 13lb – in the first two weeks. This, however, won’t be all fat. Some of the weight loss will include water and carbs, both of which will be replaced when you begin eating more normally. Once you get past the initial phase, the diet follows the basic principles of healthy eating and should provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy.