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South Beach diet (recipes, rules, effects…) – efficient weight loss in 3 phases

The South Beach diet (South Beach Diet), like several other diet systems, was created by a doctor, mainly to improve the health of patients, including improving heart function, lowering the level of bad cholesterol and regulating carbohydrate metabolism. The effect of this diet is also a systematic weight loss, so it is not surprising that with time it was labeled a slimming diet, and it is nowadays more and more often used for weight loss. The South Beach Diet is divided into 3 phases, during which both our menu and rate of weight loss change. Learn more about the South Beach diet!

The South Beach diet – rules

Created by American cardiologist Arthur Agatston, the South Beach diet is not a typical diet that lasts a month or two and then ends and we go back to our old ways of eating. It’s a sustainable style of eating that, although it starts with some pretty radical cuts on the ground of the foods we eat, the longer it goes on, the friendlier and easier it becomes for us to follow. The South Beach diet is divided into 3 phases – the first phase lasts 2 weeks, the second phase lasts as long as we individually need to regulate the metabolism and reach the right weight, while the third phase involves the introduction of new eating habits permanently and lasts for the rest of our lives.

The noon beach diet will appeal to people who do not like meticulous measuring of food portions, counting calories, or limiting themselves to one category of products (e.g. protein) or, even worse, only one food item. There are no such restrictions in the southern beach diet, it is a varied diet, and the list of allowed products is so extensive that it allows you to create a different menu every day without any shadow of culinary monotony.

The South Beach diet does not impose limits on our daily calorie intake or the maximum amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats we can allow ourselves. The glycemic index is the parameter that needs to be taken into account when preparing the menu. Why Dr. Agatston thinks that this factor is important? It’s simple, based on the glycemic index we can select foods that don’t cause sudden glucose spikes in the blood and significant insulin surges, and consequently help to maintain homeostasis of carbohydrates, protect against fat accumulation, insulin resistance and diabetes.

We should choose products with a lower glycemic index such as: dairy products, fish, lean meats, buckwheat, amaranth, and we should avoid products with a high glycemic index – products made of white flour, white rice, potatoes.

Of course eating products with a low glycemic index is not the only rule of the South Beach Diet. Equally important recommendations are: reaching only for good types of fats and avoiding the bad ones, choosing products rich in complex carbohydrates at the expense of those with a predominance of simple carbohydrates and strict adherence to the subsequent stages of the diet. And how exactly should the South Beach diet phases work? You can find out by reading the rest of this article.

The South Beach diet – phase 1

salad with olives and hard boiled eggs

The first phase of the South Beach diet lasts 14 days. There is a reason why this phase is called the shock phase. You lose the most weight then, in two weeks you can lose about 5 kg, and the more overweight you are, the greater the weight loss. Rapid weight loss is associated with the exclusion from the menu of many products that cause weight gain. Fortunately from those allowed, with a bit of culinary ingenuity, it is possible to create an interesting, tasty and varied menu, so we should not have a problem with achieving this stage. Especially that we can afford 5-6 meals a day, and the portions do not have to be small. The most important thing is that they satisfy our hunger.

What can you eat in the first phase of the South Beach diet?

The menu in the first phase of the South Beach diet consists mainly of vegetables (except potatoes, beets, carrots, corn), lean meats, eggs, fish and seafood. We avoid cereals, sweets, fats, products rich in starch. What’s interesting, in the first phase of the South Beach diet, we also exclude from the menu almost all dairy products and fruits (and their juices and cocktails). Fortunately, after two weeks they will return to our menus.

Products allowed in the first phase of the South Beach diet are:

  • the leanest cuts of meat (such as turkey and chicken breast, roast beef, beef tenderloin, ham and pork tenderloin);
  • fish and seafood;
  • Lean, good quality cold cuts (e.g. chicken ham, turkey sirloin, pork ham);
  • vegetables (eggplant, broccoli, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, onions, zucchini, garlic, green beans, kale, squash, cauliflower, kohlrabi, fresh cabbage, sauerkraut fresh cucumbers, pickled cucumbers, peppers, parsley, tomatoes, leek, rhubarb, rocket, radishes, lettuces of various types, celery, chives, asparagus, spinach)
  • legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans)
  • mushrooms;
  • Nuts and almonds (approx. 20 per day) or seeds and kernels (approx. 3 tablespoons per day);
  • oil or olive oil (max. 2 tablespoons per day);
  • additives: lemon juice, horseradish, broth, herbs, all spices without sugar;
  • drinks: herbal teas, vegetable juices, sugar-free drinks, small amounts of weak coffee and tea
  • sugar-free sweets (up to 75 kcal per day);
  • sweeteners.

Note, in the newer version of the diet, called the South Beach Turbo diet, the menu of phase one also included: 0% fat milk, natural yogurt 0% fat, cottage cheese containing no more than 3% fat.

Products prohibited in phase one of the South Beach diet are:

  • all fatty batches of meat;
  • fatty cold meats, pâtés, tinned foods;
  • cheeses (except those with less than 3% fat);
  • fruits;
  • full-fat milk, full-fat yogurt;
  • cereal products (e.g. bread, pasta, groats, rice, bran and cereal flakes);
  • juices and drinks containing sugar;
  • sweets;
  • sugar, jam, honey;
  • alcohol.

A sample menu based on the principles of phase 1 of the South Beach diet

  • Breakfast: 2 slices of poultry ham, tomato, smoothie from a vegetable blender
  • 2nd breakfast: 0% yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of linseed
  • Dinner: grilled fish in herbal marinade (prepared with a tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, basil and oregano), boiled lentils, salad of Chinese cabbage and peppers
  • Snack: salad with light cottage cheese (3% fat), tuna in own sauce and pickled cucumber
  • Dinner: tomatoes stuffed with hard boiled eggs with chives

The direct effect of the first phase of the South Beach diet is the regulation of blood sugar levels, which results in the reduction of excessive appetite (including for sweets) and the elimination of attacks of ravenous hunger, which led us to consume large amounts of food. As a result of eliminating processed food from the menu, the process of cleansing the body of toxins is stimulated, and the elimination of unhealthy varieties of fats results in lowering the level of bad cholesterol and improving the condition of the cardiovascular system. Along with these effects comes weight loss – usually about 3-6 kg.

South Beach diet – phase 2

fruit salad on a plate

After two weeks, the southern beach diet is much kinder to us – it allows us to include in the menu some products with a higher content of carbohydrates, there is also more dairy, occasionally we can drink a glass of red wine. The duration of the second stage of the South Beach diet is an individual matter. You should follow it until you get rid of all the excess weight and achieve a satisfying figure.

What can I eat in the second phase of the South Beach diet?

In the second phase you can eat most fruits, cereals, low fat cheeses and yogurts. However, we still pay attention to the glycemic index of each article and choose those with lower values. We avoid products made of white wheat flour, and instead choose whole grain cereals with high content of dietary fiber, such as whole grain bread and brown rice.

Products allowed in the second phase of the South Beach diet are:

  • all the foods from phase one;
  • fruits, especially those with a lower glycemic index (e.g. strawberries, grapefruit, apples, pears, plums, oranges, currants, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, cherries, gooseberries)
  • wholemeal bread;
  • buckwheat groats, couscous;
  • oatmeal, bran;
  • brown rice, wild rice;
  • wholemeal pasta, soy pasta;
  • Carrots and green peas in small amounts;
  • yams and potatoes in small quantities;
  • Yoghurts (natural yoghurts with more than 0% fat content, light fruit yoghurts), buttermilk, kefir;
  • cottage cheese, quark;
  • dark chocolate and red wine in small amounts.

As you can see, the range of products allowed in the second phase is much wider than in the first, but for the South Beach diet to continue to meet its objectives, you need to introduce new items gradually. If we suddenly strongly increase the calories consumed and drastically increase the amount of carbohydrates, we will stop losing weight. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with one piece of fruit and one portion of cereal per day, after a few days introduce another portion of cereal, after 2-3 days another fruit and so on. At the same time you should watch your weight – the rate of losing weight should be balanced and should be about 1 kg per week.

South Beach diet – the menu for phase two (example)

  • Breakfast: 2 small slices of wholemeal bread, 2 poached eggs on 2 slices of lean ham, chives, tomato, green cucumber, lettuce
  • 2 breakfast: grapefruit, handful of nuts
  • Dinner: buckwheat groats, green beans, roast turkey breast
  • Snack: yoghurt with oatmeal
  • Dinner: salad made from: pieces of smoked salmon, cottage cheese or mozzarella light, green salad, cherry tomatoes, peppers, olives, cucumber, radishes, dill

South Beach diet – phase 3

skewers of vegetables

Once we manage to reach our target weight, we can move on to the third phase of the South Beach diet, which involves the permanent introduction of a well-balanced, healthy menu. The new menu will be dominated by vegetables, fruit, cereals, fish, lean meat and dairy products.

In the third phase we do not have an imposed list of forbidden products, but without a doubt we should avoid all ready meals, fast food, sweets saturated with unhealthy fats and sugars and other products from the processed food category. The third phase of the South Beach diet is a new style of eating, which allows you to enjoy a slim figure and good health at all times.

In the third phase of the South Beach diet we eat normally – we don’t starve ourselves, but we don’t overeat either. The meals are composed in a balanced way, without overdoing it with carbohydrates and fats. We compose our menu mainly of products with a glycemic index of 60 or less, we watch our weight and if it increases, we analyze what could have caused the excess and remove the cause (e.g., we eat less carbohydrates, we introduce more physical activity, we eat more often and less, etc.).

The South Beach diet – effects

If we scrupulously stick to the individual steps of the South Beach Diet, we can count on satisfactory results, both in terms of weight reduction and health improvement. How much weight can be lost on the South Beach diet? The effects depend on the level of our excess weight and lifestyle. In addition to following the rules of the diet, it is worth taking care of an appropriate portion of exercise every day, then we will certainly manage to lose as much weight as we want. The most important thing is not to rest on your laurels after the first two successful stages, but to enter the third stage and stay there permanently. If you start eating unhealthy food again, you may experience the yo-yo effect.

South Beach diet – recipes

Lots of vegetables, lean meat, fish, additives in the form of seeds, dairy products, good quality oil or olive oil – paradoxically, with these products you can create many interesting dishes. Here are some recipes that can be used when following the South Beach diet.

Spicy cauliflower pate


  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 cup yellow lentils
  • bunch of parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Ground flaxseed (approx. 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • spices: 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon marjoram and thyme, 1 cayenne teaspoon pepper, half teaspoon ginger, salt to taste


Boil cauliflower and lentils until tender, blitz to a smooth paste. Add the egg, flaxseed, spices, chopped parsley, grated onion and pressed garlic. Mix thoroughly. Put the mixture into the tin greased with oil. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees.

Light ham rolls stuffed with natural cheese and vegetables


  • 5 slices of lean pork ham
  • 1 package of Bieluch Light cream cheese
  • handful of olives
  • 4 radishes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 red pepper
  • handful of lamb’s lettuce, rocket or kale


Cut the olives into rings, the radishes, cucumbers and peppers into cubes. Chop the lamb’s lettuce. Mix all the vegetables with the cheese, add salt and pepper to taste. Put a large spoonful of stuffing on each slice of ham and wrap.

Poultry stew with mushrooms


  • chicken breast
  • 8 large mushrooms
  • 2 onions
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • spices: marjoram, oregano, savory, sweet and hot paprika, ground cumin


Cut the meat into cubes, fry on a spoon of oil. Remove from the pan. Fry the onion in a second spoon of oil, add the bell pepper sliced into strips and the sliced garlic. Stir, add a teaspoon of ground sweet paprika. After about 5 minutes add the sliced mushrooms. Wait until the mushrooms are visibly softened and release their juice. Add the fried chicken, stir, add a little water and stew for about 15 minutes. Add a pinch of spices, stew for a few more minutes and you are done.

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Category: Slimming

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