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What is the South Beach diet, what foods are restricted, is it safe and …

IF you were jetting off for a sunny holiday in Florida, you’d want to look as good as the locals do.

That’s the premise behind the South Beach diet, which encourages people to keep their bikini bodies in shape all year round.

The South Beach diet was originally created for heart patients in the United States

South Beach is a glamorous neighbourhood in Miami. Here’s everything you need to know about the diet the area inspired.

What is the South Beach diet?

The South Beach diet is a low-GI diet, which was originally developed for heart patients in the United States.

It’s a low-GI diet, with limited sugar and starch

The plan became popular when cardiologist Arthur Agatston released his best-selling book The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss.

You don’t calorie count or limit your portions on the plan, and dieters are encouraged to eat three meals and two snacks-a-day.

The emphasis is on eating high-fibre foods with lots of lean protein, while avoiding unsaturated fats and starchy carbs.

The first stage of the diet is designed for rapid weight loss, promising a shed of up to 13lb in the first two weeks.

Skinny Nicole Kidman, pictured at the Golden Globe awards, follows the diet

How does the South Beach diet work?

Phase one:

Reduce cravings for sugar and starch, and cut out nearly all carbohydrates to jump-start weight loss.

On the banned list is all pasta, rice, bread, fruit and alcohol.

Dieters focus on eating lean protein – such as seafood, skinless poultry, lean beef and soy products.

They can also eat high-fibre vegetables, low-fat dairy, and foods with healthy unsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds.

A typical breakfast or snack could be a low-fat fruit smoothie

Phase two:

Begin to re-introduce wholegrain carbs such as brown bread, pasta and rice – as well as fruit and a more extensive list of vegetables.

Dieters should stay in this phase until they reach their goal weight.

Phase three:

The life-long diet phase. All foods can be eaten in moderation, as long as dieters continue to follow the basis South Beach principles.

Is the South Beach diet safe?

The NHS warn: “The severe dietary restrictions of phase one may leave you feeling weak and you will miss out on some vitamins, minerals and fibre.

“You may initially experience side effects such as bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation.”

None of which sounds particularly pleasant. The good news is, these negative side effects will only last for two weeks.

Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall is also a fan

The British Dietitian Association (BMA) say that amount of weight loss promised in the first two weeks is ‘worrying’.

The association also warns that some of the shed will be from carb and water weight, which will be put back on as soon as you start eating normally.

The main positive of the diet is that, after phases one and two, there are fewer restrictions than on many popular meal plans.

Broadly speaking, the diet follows the principles of a recommended healthy diet.

Are there any celebrity success stories on the South Beach diet?

Lots of celebrities follow the South Beach diet, largely in the States – where it originated.

Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, who recently appeared in Agatha Christie’s BBC Christmas special Witness for the Prosecution, follows the plan.

Trailer for Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution on BBC

Former president Bill Clinton, the husband of Donald Trump’s opponent Hillary, claims to have lost two and a half stone on the diet.

Actress Nicole Kidman and talk show host Oprah Winfrey are also thought to be fans.


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