The South Beach Diet is billed as “the delicious, doctor-designed, foolproof plan for fast and healthy weight loss.” So when I needed to lose a few pounds some years ago, I thought I’d give it a whirl. The diet definitely lived up to its billing. I enjoyed the food, and the meal plan always kept me satisfied throughout the day.
Phase One is quite restrictive – e.g., no starches or fruits – which is very difficult for an avowed fruitaholic. But it only lasts 2 weeks and provides a jump-start that builds momentum for staying the course. By taking advantage of all of the recipes in the book, the diet feels less onerous and more adventurous. Phase Two reintroduces fruit and starches (used sparingly) as well as chocolate! Phase Three starts when you’ve reached your goal weight. It is quite livable, especially after adding recipes from the gold-covered South Beach Diet Cookbook. We more-or-less stayed on that plan for years.
We liked most of the 98 recipes that we prepared. The majority of our samplings drew from the Phase One and Phase Two fare. Of those, we’d consider roughly one-third for a repeat appearance. They’re great when you’re on a weight loss plan, but not-so-great for “maintenance.” The red meat dishes also got the “once was enough” treatment even though most were really, really good. Unfortunately, they have a negative impact on our serum cholesterol.
While I’d planned to make every recipe in the cookbook, I stopped at the 80% mark. Spike and I decided to adopt a whole foods, plant based diet based on research by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. That being said, if you are committed to the Western Diet and/or want a livable program to shed some extra pounds, South Beach merits serious consideration.