The South Beach Diet offers a great weight loss solution that does not starve you when followed. It is easy to follow and restrictions ease up as you progress through the stages. The diet is based around the glycaemic index (GI). GI is a measure of how fast blood sugar levels rise after consumption of a particular food.
How it works
After you have eaten carbohydrates, they are broken down into sugars that are then absorbed into the blood. The rise in sugar triggers the release insulin from the pancreas to remove the excess sugar from the blood. When carbohydrate rich foods with a high GI are consumed, the blood sugar spikes resulting in large amounts of insulin being produced. The excess insulin eliminates the sugar very quickly and consequently brings down your energy level leaving you with a craving for more carbs (hungry). The natural response will be eating more food. Constant repeat of this will lead to weight gain. Over time it will also make your body less reactive to insulin and thus more fat will be stored leading to further weight gain.
On the other hand, foods with a low glycaemic index such as pasta and porridge provide a slow, steady release of blood sugar into your system leaving you satisfied for longer. The resulting steady release of insulin helps to ensure that your body does not develop insulin resistance. The diet divides carbs into two groups, good carbs (those with low GI), and bad carbs (those with high GI).
The diet is divided into three phases:
This is the most restrictive phase. It lasts for 14 days and is designed to eliminate cravings for high sugar foods and processed starches. It prohibits high GI carbs such as potatoes and rice and encourages protein consumption.
The second phase is less restrictive and slowly reintroduces the good carbs back into your diet. Whole grain bread and rice are introduced and fruits are allowed. Weight loss usually slows in this phase but shouldn’t come to a halt.
This stage is the least restrictive and has no food list to follow. You will be able to make good food choices by this time and a once in a while overindulgence is allowed provided you get back on track afterwards.