Devised in 1999, The South Beach Diet plan is the brainchild of an American cardiologist, Dr Arthur Agatston, as a means for his chronically overweight heart patients to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
It is a common misconception that the South Beach Diet is a carbohydrate free plan. Carbohydrates are merely classified as 'good' or 'bad.' During the first 14 days of the program, no carbohydrates, fruit or sugar can be eaten. The program works on the premise that eating carbohydrates increases weight, and, therefore, through avoiding carbohydrates weight will be lost.
Within this first phase of the South Beach Diet, where carbohydrates are avoided, a predicted weight loss of between 8 and 13lbs can be expected provided you keep rigidly to the rules.
As the plan works in three phases, after the initial 14 days, some carbohydrates, such as whole grains, can be gradually reintroduced. These are 'smart' carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index. Foods with a high glycaemic index trigger a rapid rise in blood sugar levels when eaten, whereas foods with a low 'GI' keep the body's energy levels more regulated. As blood sugar increases, insulin levels in the body are elevated, and as a result, the body doesn't burn fat. Therefore, a fundamental of this weight loss plan is the avoidance of carbohydrates with a high 'GI.'
Thus, in the second phase of this program, food can be eaten in normal portion sizes, and 2 snacks are allowed each day, provided that carbohydrates with a high 'GI' are avoided. This phase of the plan should be followed until the target weight loss is achieved.
Phase 3 of the program involves following the healthy eating plan on a permanent basis to maintain the healthy weight. This is a permanent eating plan rather than a quick fix.