When you decide to lose weight, you have to change your lifestyle. That can be a drastic change. But if you have helpful resources and a great support system in place, change can easily become your routine. Ready to lose the weight? Your healthy-living lifestyle is just 10 South Beach Diet terms away. Learn them, use them every day and you’ll achieve weight loss success.
Here are some South Beach Diet terms you need to know:
1. Net Carbs
To start our list of South Beach Diet terms, let’s talk about the food group we’re all thinking about: Carbs. Many low-carb diets focus on total carbs. However, South Beach Diet is more concerned about your net carbs.
Net carbs are the total grams of carbohydrates minus grams of dietary fiber and grams of erythritol (a type of sugar alcohol). Net carbs (also known as digestible carbs) are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed into the blood stream, according Healthline. Fiber and erythritol are processed differently, though, so when calculating net carbs, we subtract those numbers out to get a better idea of what the body typically absorbs. Here’s an example: Half of a medium avocado contains 8 grams of carbohydrates. When we subtract the dietary fiber (6 grams), we get the net carbs: 2.
While you’re losing weight on the South Beach Diet, you’ll keep your net carbs limited to about 50 grams per day. It’s not super strict, so it’s easy to stick to the plan in the long-term.
2. Weight Loss Phase
You will begin your South Beach Diet journey with the Weight Loss Phase. You will follow this meal plan until you reach your goal weight. In addition to exercising 30 minutes a day and drinking adequate water, you’ll enjoy meals and snacks made from Healthy Fats and Protein. You will also add in at least three servings of non-starchy vegetables and up to three Extras (more on these later!).
The plan is designed to keep your net carbs at 50 grams or less each day. This allows you to incorporate healthy, high-fiber carbohydrates and low-sugar fruits in moderation. You’ll have flexibility with your menu and can even have the occasional glass of wine.
You’ll avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks while you lose weight. Why the restrictions? You need to remedy insulin-resistance issues that were brought on by eating too many sugary (highly refined) carbs. By limiting added sugar and carbohydrate-dense foods, your body begins to use its fat stores for fuel and retrains itself to run on healthy, nutritious foods. The low-carb approach will start to transform your metabolism as you burn fat instead of carbs.
3. Weight Maintenance Phase
When you’ve reached your goal weight, you’ll transition to the Weight Maintenance Phase (which lasts the rest of your life!). During this time of weight maintenance, you’ll use your newly-found knowledge to prepare healthy DIY Meals anytime, anywhere. We provide you with recipes and resources to help you maintain your low-carb lifestyle. Just remember to eat mindfully and in moderation. Keep exercising and keep drinking plenty of water.
During this phase, you can slowly start to add in more Good Carbohydrates to your meal plan. These include grains, fruits and starchy vegetables. The goal will be to aim for no more than 100 grams of net carbs per day. However, feel free to stick to 50 grams of net carbs per day if that suits you best! We provide a meal plan for both options. Click here to learn more! >
4. DIY Meals
You will be using your creativity in the kitchen to make DIY (Do-It-Yourself) meals. Not an expert in the kitchen? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! Check out our recipes page and get some simple recipe ideas that are South Beach-approved. Or, put your South Beach knowledge to test and head out to eat to enjoy a DIY meal. Pro tip: Be sure to stick to your portion sizes and refer to our Dining Out Guide!
Proteins are another one of the important South Beach Diet terms. They are the building blocks of bone, muscle and other tissues within the body. Protein is an important tool for weight loss because it helps you maintain your muscle mass while you are burning fat. Protein is also satiating and helps to keep you feeling full for longer. In all phases of your journey, proteins are a crucial part of healthy living.
Check out the list below for examples of healthy proteins you can enjoy:
- Beef, 3 oz.
- Chicken, 3 oz.
- Fish, 3 oz.
- Pork, 3 oz.
- Deli meats (all-natural), 2 oz.
- Eggs, 2 whole
- Soy Milk, 1 cup
- Soy Protein Crumbles, ½ cup
- Whey Protein Powder
6. Healthy Fats
Fats keep you satisfied so you’re less prone to hunger. Healthy fats contain monounsaturated fats from foods like olive oil, almonds and pumpkin seeds and polyunsaturated fats from foods like walnuts and flaxseeds. Because fats are high in calories, you’ll want to pay close attention to portion sizes.
Here are some examples of Healthy Fats you can add to your menu:
- Nuts, 1 oz. or about ¼ cup
- Seeds, 3 Tbsp.
- Coconut milk (unsweetened), ¼ cup.
- Peanut butter, 2 Tbsp.
- Italian dressing (full-fat), 2 Tbsp.
- Olive oil, 1 Tbsp.
- Avocado, ½ fruit
- Mayonnaise (avocado or olive-oil based), 1 Tbsp.
- Guacamole, ¼ cup
- Butter, 1 Tbsp.
- Cottage cheese (4% milkfat), ½ cup
- Greek Yogurt (whole milk, plain), ½ cup
- Cheddar Cheese, 1 oz.
7. Good Carbs
Good carbs are high-fiber foods that digest slowly, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels. When you enter your weight maintenance phase, Good Carbs will be a regular part of your meal plan.
Please note that during your weight loss phase, you will limit your carbohydrate intake to 50 grams of net carbs per day. This means that you can add in smaller quantities of healthy, high-fiber Good Carbohydrates. These will count towards your daily Extras. While the occasional Good Carb during the weight loss phase will not hinder your weight loss efforts, the goal is to keep your net carbs to no more than 50 grams per day. This means Good Carbs will be limited until you reach your goal weight.
Here are some examples of Good Carbs:
- Whole-grain bread, 1 slice
- Cold cereal (low-sugar, 5 grams of fiber per serving), 1 cup
- Hot cereal (not instant, no more than 2 grams sugar per serving), 1/2 cup
- Couscous, ½ cup
- Whole-grain crackers, about 6
- Pasta (whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, soy or spelt), ½ cup
- Popcorn (air-popped), 3 cups
- Rice (brown, basmati, converted, parboiled, wild), ½ cup
- Beans, ½ cup
- Hummus, ¼ cup
Fruit is sweet, which is why we keep it limited on our plans. However, it also provides quality carbohydrates, fiber and vital vitamins and minerals. In your weight maintenance phase, you can enjoy it in moderation.
If you’re in your weight loss phase, we recommend extremely limiting fruit due to the amount of carbohydrates and sugar. But that doesn’t mean you have to totally say goodbye to fruit—enjoy berries in moderation on occasion, which are rich in antioxidants and have a lower carb content than many other fruits. On the South Beach Diet weight loss plan, they count towards your daily Extras (Click here for serving sizes! >). However, keep in mind that it’s still important to monitor your daily net carb intake to keep it below 50 grams.
One serving of fresh or frozen fruit is one cup during maintenance. One serving of dried fruit is 2 tablespoons but be sure it doesn’t contain added sugar.
Here are some examples of fruit servings you can enjoy:
- Apple, 1 small
- Applesauce (unsweetened), ½ cup
- Berries, 1 cup
- Cantaloupe, 1 cup
- Grapes 1 cup
- Orange, 1 medium
- Peach, 1 medium
Another addition to the list of South Beach Diet terms is non-starchy veggies. All non-starchy vegetables are fiber-rich nutrient powerhouses. They’re low in calories and carbohydrates and are devoid of fat and cholesterol. On the South Beach Diet plan, you’ll add in at least three servings of non-starchy vegetables to your meals each day. Feel free to eat them as snacks whenever you feel hungry. One serving is either one cup of raw veggies or a half-cup of cooked veggies.
Here are some examples of nutritious, non-starchy veggies:
- Artichoke hearts
- Brussels sprouts
- Leafy Greens & Lettuce
10. Starchy Veggies
To complete our list of South Beach Diet terms, let’s talk about starchy veggies. Not all vegetables are created equally. While all veggies contain vitamins and minerals, starchy vegetables are higher in carbohydrates and calories than non-starchy vegetables. Thus, foods like peas and sweet potatoes should be avoided on our program, unless they fit in your daily net carb limit. One serving of starchy veggies is a half-cup (cooked or raw).
Here are some examples of filling, starchy veggies:
- Green peas
- Sweet potato
- Winter squash