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What is the South Beach Diet?

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The South Beach Diet is a weight-loss diet that emphasizes foods rich in fiber and nutrients and aims to reduce cravings, attain weight loss and maintain a healthy weight for, according to WebMD. The key to losing weight is choosing the right carbohydrates and the right fats, according to cardiologist Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet.

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The South Beach Diet is a three-step program developed by Agatston to help his heart patients lose weight and reduce cholesterol, WebMD explains. Phase 1 is the most restrictive phase, wherein a person is not allowed to eat rice, bread, pasta, potatoes or fruit. The diet includes plenty of protein, such as beef, seafood, poultry and eggs, and some fats, including avocado, extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil. It also includes carbs with a low-glycemic index, particularly vegetables.

Phase 2 slowly reintroduces some of the restricted foods to a person's diet, says WebMD. These foods include healthy carbs, such as fruits and whole-grain bread. In Phase 3, a person should be able to hit his targeted weight and maintain this desired weight permanently. There is no specific food list to follow, although a person should already know how to make healthy food choices by this time. If cravings return or an individual gets off track, the South Beach Diet suggests going back to Phase 1 or 2.

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