The Average Daily Consumption of Carbs on the South Beach Diet

Sandwich with orange jam
The South Beach Diet restricts carbohydrates but does not count grams of carbs. (Image: Photosiber/iStock/Getty Images)

The South Beach Diet doesn't limit carbohydrates to a specific number of grams per day, as some other diet plans do, but the percentage of your diet that comes from carbs is typically lower than the 45 to 65 percent of daily calories recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in a diet of 2,000 calories per day amounts to about 225 to 325 g of carbohydrates.

Diet Basics

The South Beach Diet, a commercial diet plan created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, involves a progressive set of three phases that start by restricting many carbohydrates and slowly reintroducing foods as you progress through the diet. While the diet does restrict carbs, it is not considered a true low-carb diet but a modified low-carb diet, since during most of the diet carb levels are kept above 20 percent of your daily caloric intake, or about 100 g of carbohydrates per day for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Phase One Carb Consumption

Phase one of the South Beach Diet has the most restrictive carbohydrate intake of all the phases. During phase one, you will only consume about 10 percent of your daily calories in the form of carbohydrates, or about 50 g of carbohydrates per day for someone consuming 2,000 calories a day. This limit is not enforced, and carbohydrate counting is not required, but the limits on what type of carbohydrates you can eat and the emphasis on protein sources and fats in the recipes and menu suggestions make rising too far above this limit unlikely.

Phase Two Carb Consumption

During phase two of the South Beach Diet, carbohydrate consumption rises to about 27 percent of your daily caloric intake, or about 135 g of carbohydrates per day if you are on a 2,000-calorie diet. This rise is due to the reintroduction of healthy carbohydrates into the diet, such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, peas and some fruits. As in phase one, during phase two there is no carbohydrate counting, so the percentage of carbohydrates in your diet may vary slightly from day to day.

Phase Three Carb Consumption

Phase three of the South Beach Diet, the maintenance phase that you are intended to follow for the rest of your life, typically involves a diet with about 28 percent of the daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, about 140 g of carbs for a 2,000-calorie diet. Because the third phase of the diet does not restrict any foods, this limit may vary widely. However, consuming high amounts of carbohydrates during this phase may cause you to regain the weight previously lost on more restrictive phases of the diet.

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