The South Beach Diabetes Program

Article posted in: South Beach Living
south beach diabetes

When you have Type 2 Diabetes, it can be really difficult to lose weight—especially since you need calories to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and some diabetes medications are associated with weight gain. But it’s essential that you try. According to the American Diabetes Association, too many dietary carbs—which break down into sugar—can overwhelm that insulin traffic controller and send your blood sugar soaring. Controlling your intake of foods that raise your blood sugar, losing weight and using up that free-floating sugar by exercising can help you manage your diabetes—which is exactly why we created a South Beach Diabetes Program.

The South Beach Diabetes Program is specifically designed for people with Type 2 Diabetes and prediabetes.  Your physician may need to adjust your medications due to changes in your diet, exercise or weight while on this program.  Anyone on insulin or diabetic medications who go on a low-calorie diet may be at risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if medications are not adjusted.

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Here’s how the South Beach Diabetes Program works:

Phase 1

phase 1

On the South Beach Diabetes Plan, you’ll be in Phase 1 for seven days. In Phase 1, you’ll limit refined carbohydrates, grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, beans/legumes and sugary drinks including alcohol. Why the restrictions at all? By restricting sugar and all carbohydrate-dense foods, your body burns its fat stores for fuel and retrains itself to run on healthy, nutritious foods designed to deliver the right balance of protein, fat and carbs. Phase 1 is considered the reboot stage.

You’ll enjoy Lean Proteins (proteins that are lower in fat and dairy products), Healthy Fats (foods with a good sources of mono- and polyunsaturated fats) and Vegetables (five servings a day!). You’ll eat South Beach meals for five days. Look for foods with the light blue Phase 1 label. You’ll prepare two DIY breakfasts, lunches and dinners per week. DIY meals give you the added flexibility to eat out with friends and family; they’re also a great way to become acquainted with applying the South Beach principles to your own kitchen creations, so that you’ll be a pro at sustaining your healthy lifestyle in Phase 3.

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Check out two samples days of your Phase 1 South Beach Diabetes meal plan:

meal plan

For the full meal plan, be sure to check your Phase 1 Quick Start Guide. Hydration is essential to weight loss! Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day.  Working out? Take it easy during your first week! For your health, limit adding physical activity into your routine as your body adjusts to your new meal plan.

Phase 2

south beach diabetes

Good news: Good Carbs (like whole grain bread, beans and brown rice) and Fruit (think apples and berries) are back on the table when you reach day eight! Guys and girls, you can trade your afternoon snack (of nuts or another Healthy Fat) for a small apple or banana. And, if you like, two of your daily veggies may be starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, peas and carrots.

You’ll still eat five-days-worth of South Beach breakfasts, lunches and dinners and two DIY meals per week. To make sure you are following the Phase 2 meal plan, be sure to check your Phase 2 Tracker to know how many lean proteins, healthy fats, good carbs, fruits and veggies you should be eating each day. You’ll start to include exercise into your program. We recommend at least 30 minutes a day. Start small by breaking it up into three 10-minute sessions and as your body adjusts to your new lifestyle begin to increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. And, you’ll still drink at least 64 ounces of water every day to help your body feel full and stay hydrated.

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Throughout Phases 1 and 2, you can use the South Beach Tracker App to log your food, exercise and water. And remember: If you have questions, we’re here for you! You can contact our Dietary Counselors and our Certified Diabetes Educators for info about the meal plan or approved foods: 866.496.0207 or

The South Beach Diet® program is a portion-controlled, low carb, reduced-calorie comprehensive weight loss program that is comprised of three phases, (i)  Phase One provides a pre-selected array of foods and drinks for a meal plan that is lower in carbs than other phases, (ii) Phase Two offers a customized selection of foods and drinks while a customer reaches their weight loss goal, and (iii) Phase Three is the maintenance phase, in which a customer continues to follow the principles of the South Beach Diet, eating a wide variety of foods in moderation.  It does not treat or cure diabetes and is not a substitute for diabetes medications.  Your physician may need to adjust your medications due to changes in your diet, exercise or weight while on this program.  Consult your physician before starting this or any diet plan.