Can I Eat Beans on South Beach Phase One?

Country style baked beans in bowl close view
A bowl of baked beans. (Image: BWFolsom/iStock/Getty Images)

Of the South Beach Diet's three phases, phase one has the strictest requirements. Despite the many foods placed off-limits during this phase, beans are not among the forbidden foods. Bean consumption is actually encouraged on all phases of the South Beach Diet, and some recipes in the book and on the official website contain beans.

South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet promotes consumption of healthy protein and fats while limiting the amount and type of carbohydrates. The first phase, called phase one of the diet, lasts two weeks and restricts carbohydrate intake to about 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. Phase one is designed to jump start weight loss and stabilize blood sugar. Phase one lasts two weeks, after which your carbohydrate intake increases in subsequent phases and your weight loss slows.

Beans

Beans contain high levels of protein, fiber and antioxidants and fairly low levels of carbohydrates. On the South Beach Diet, beans are an acceptable protein source during any phase, including phase one. Because the diet does not involve strict carbohydrate counting, there is no need to limit the amount or frequency of bean consumption during phase one. Other legumes, such as split peas and lentils, are also allowed during this phase of the South Beach Diet. In particular, beans are encouraged as an alternate protein source for vegetarians embarking on phase one of the South Beach Diet.

How to Include Beans

Beans can be included in any meal during phase one of the South Beach Diet. Cooked black beans can be included in an omelet at breakfast. For lunch and dinner, beans can be incorporated into soups, stews, casseroles and salads and used as a side dish. Recipes containing beans provided by the South Beach Diet include black bean soup, white bean soup and cannellini bean salad.

Considerations

Because beans contain both carbohydrates and protein, they can be used both as a main component of your meal or as a side dish. The inclusion of beans on the South Beach Diet makes it easier for vegetarians to use this diet, especially when compared to many low-carb diets that restrict beans completely during the early phases or throughout the entire program. Consuming beans during phase one may help reduce constipation, a common problem in low-carb diets that do not include much fiber. As with all diets, you should strive to eat a variety of different foods during every phase of the South Beach Diet to ensure consumption of a wide range of nutrients.

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