The South Beach Diet includes three phases, the first of which is meant to reduce cravings for starches and sugars while lowering your overall calorie intake. Each of the three phases accommodates three meals, two snacks and a dessert, providing an average of 1,500 calories per day, according to the American Dietetic Association. Weight loss during the first two weeks is generally more rapid than that experienced in the second phase, although individual experience depends on how well you follow the diet, as well as your energy needs.
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Initial Weight Loss
During the first two weeks, dieters on phase one of the South Beach Diet strictly limit carbohydrate intakes and completely eliminate juice and alcohol from their diets. Allowed foods include lean proteins such as seafood, low-fat dairy, soy products and lean cuts of meat and pork. Unsaturated fats and certain high-fiber vegetables are also allowed. The South Beach Diet promotes the first phase as a period of rapid weight loss, predicting a loss of 8 to 13 lbs. during the first two weeks.
Low-carb diets generally do produce accelerated weight loss at first, due to a combination of water loss and limited food choices. Further, rapid weight loss may also indicate that you're losing lean tissue as opposed to fat, explains MayoClinic.com. Rapid weight loss is generally not recommended, unless under the supervision of a doctor. However, the first phase of the South Beach Diet can be motivating and, because it is short term, is safe for most people. If you experience ketosis symptoms, however, such as nausea, dehydration or weakness, consult your doctor.
Although phase two is designed to follow the initial jump start to weight loss promoted by the first phase, the American Dietetic Association suggests that phase two may be a healthier approach to weight loss from the beginning. The second phase of the South Beach Diet is designed to produce weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs. per week, a healthier and recommended rate of weight loss in general. Phase two of the diet provides a more balanced eating plan that promotes weight loss with guidelines that are suitable for long-term weight management.
Following the South Beach Diet is likely to produce weight loss. Besides the likelihood of losing water weight initially, however, the rate of weight loss depends primarily on the number of calories in and out. The higher your weight maintenance calorie needs, the more weight you will likely lose during phase one of the South Beach Diet, simply due to the fact that the imposed calorie restrictions are low enough to establish a significant calorie deficit. Consult with your doctor about which weight-loss programs are right for you, based on your health needs and dietary preferences.