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How Does the South Beach Diet Work?

written by: Amy Carson • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 1/6/2011

The South Beach Diet is based largely on the use of Glycemic Index (GI) to determine good and bad carbohydrates. A carb with high GI makes one crave for food, and consequently gain weight. The opposite is true for low GI carbs. Learn more about the South Beach Diet by reading this diet review.

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    Introduction

    51RYOQePxgL. BO2,204,203,200 PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76 AA300 SH20 OU01 The South Beach Diet is a low-carbohydrate diet which is proven to be successful to lose weight. The diet requires that one eats only good carbohydrates and good fats. What makes the South Beach Diet so popular is the fact that it does not limit your food intake but just replaces an unhealthy diet with a healthier one, effecting a more positive lifestyle change.

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    Use of Glycemic Index

    How does the South Beach Diet work? The South Beach diet is based on the glycemic index, which determines the effect of carbohydrates on the blood glucose levels. Carbohydrate foods have different effects in our bodies. Carbohydrates with a low GI create small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin which lead to good health. Eating low GI foods reduces heart disease and diabetes risks and contributes to weight loss.

    Ingesting carbohydrates with high glycemic index results in swift rise and equally quick drop of blood sugar. This makes a person feel less energetic and hungry even after consuming carbs which would result in weight gain later.

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    Reduce Carbohydrate Cravings and Burn Fat

    The secret behind the South Beach Diet is it helps you choose foods with low glycemic index. Foods with low glycemic index release sugar slowly into the bloodstream creating a more steady supply of energy and effectively satiating hunger pangs. This, of course, will eventually lead to weight loss.

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    Phase 1 - Starting the South Beach Diet

    The South Beach Diet has three phases. Phase 1 is done for two weeks. During this timeframe, a person eats three meals a day but food intake should be limited to good carbohydrates only, like lean meats and poultry, fish, egg whites, sugar-free treats, nuts and lots of vegetables. Phase 1 allows a dieter to eat until hunger is fulfilled. This is done to get rid of food cravings and begin the weight loss. A mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack is required between meals but bread, pasta, rice, fruit, baked goods, and other sweets are not allowed. This is to lessen bad carbohydrates — sugar and starch — intake. Alcohol consumption is also forbidden during this period.

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    Phase 2 - Making Healthier Food Choices

    This begins after 2 weeks of implementing Phase 1. Weight loss may not be noticeable in Phase 2 compared to Phase 1, but the purpose of Phase 2 is to instil discipline in eating. Weight loss will continue and there is a marked improvement in one’s health. This is because one’s appetite for bad carbs normally lessens around this period. During this period, whole grains and fruits could be added slowly back to the diet, but in smaller portions.

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    Phase 3 - Maintaining a Lifestyle Change

    Phase 3 starts when you reach the desired weight. This phase simply continues what you have started and maintains it. Calorie counting may not be necessary but one is certainly required to refrain from eating saturated fats, sugar and starches. In Phase 3, one learns to make healthier food choices and eating habits should change for the better in this period. More information on the South Beach Diet can be found here.

    Promotional image courtesy Amazon.com