The shortest phase of the South Beach Diet, Phase One, lasts two weeks. This phase is specifically designed to jump-start weight loss by eliminating those diet-destructing sugar cravings. The elimination of these foods from your daily diet allows the body's blood sugar to stabilize, which will reduce cravings and make it easier to avoid these types of food in the future.
Phase Two comes after the first two weeks of the South Beach Diet. This phase is formulated for long-term weight loss. Once you've reached your healthy goal weight, you'll move to Phase Three (lifetime maintenance).
The primary goal of Phase One is to provide the body with ample nutrient-dense food. Eating sufficient protein is imperative to ensure the body has fuel to burn as it makes the change from burning simple sugars to burning stored fat. Lean proteins such as extra-lean ground beef, eggs and skinless chicken breast are good protein choices. Unhealthy proteins with trans fats should be eliminated from the diet or eaten in moderation, such as limiting pork bacon to two slices per day. Vegetarians may find protein sources in nuts, beans and soy products such as tofu.
Low-starch vegetables are encouraged in Phase One of the South Beach Diet. Green, leafy vegetables are fiber-dense and filling. Such choices include collard greens, all varieties of lettuce, and spinach. Most vegetables can be eaten in Phase One either as part of a meal or as a snack. Cucumbers can be cut into bite-size slices, peppers added to cooking for flavor, and spaghetti squash used as a substitute for pasta. As a rule, you'll want to avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and corn, because they'll cause blood sugar to spike. All fruits must be avoided.
Low-fat dairy can be eaten during Phase One. Soy or 1 percent milk can be consumed during this time, as well as sugar-free, low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Most low-fat cheeses can be eaten, with the exception of Brie and Edam. Stay away from full-fat cheeses.
The availability, transportability and convenience of cheese makes it a great option for a snack. Other snack options include nuts, natural peanut butter, olives and guacamole. A number of vegetables can be used for quick snacks as well. Broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower can be matched with low-sugar salad dressing for a healthy snack, while low-sugar sweet snacks can curb those sugar cravings. Look for sugar-free gelatin, hard candy or popsicles to satisfy your cravings without damaging your diet.
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