The Miami Diet or South Beach Diet


 The Miami diet is a clever mix of the Atkins weight loss diet and the Montignac method. All this is to adopt a new lifestyle and recognize the right carbohydrates and lipids.

The Miami diet, created in 2004 by cardiologist Dr. Agatston, helps you behave better towards food and discern what is good and what is not so good for your body.

The Miami Diet or South Beach Diet

Phase 1: Eliminate cravings and lose weight quickly (14 days)

The first, lasting two weeks, is very restrictive and selective. A first step that can put off the less adventurous.

Within this phase, the patient can eat the following foods at will:

  • Animal proteins (beef or fish for example).
  • Vegetables: only artichokes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, zucchini, broccoli.
  • Dairy products: milk, eggs, soy milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Dessert: cocoa powder (without added sugars), gelatin, syrups, ice sticks, jam.
  • Oils: avocado, virgin olive oil, salad dressing, olives, margarine.
  • Condiments: almost any type.
  • Drinks: coffee, tea, vegetable juices (such as tomato juice), soda.
  • For the Doctor, these foods involve good fats as well as good carbohydrates.

In return, everything else is prohibited during this phase. Thus sources of carbohydrates, legumes or alcohol are totally banned. No bread, no pasta, no rice, no fruit, etc.

The list of prohibited foods is therefore quite substantial, for a complete list you can either get all the details within the cardiologist's book (you will find a link to the Doctor's book in the sources and references of this file) or on the official website which is responsible for promoting the diet (whose address appears,  again, in the sources and references of this dossier).

Phase 2: Achieve your weight goal

The second phase is similar to the first, but the diet is more balanced even if the list of permitted foods does not change much. It is essentially the same as for the first phase, but new authorized foods are emerging: fruits for example, carrots, sweet potatoes, wholemeal bread, quinoa or alcohol. Apart from a few novelties, the list of restrictions remains huge and there are extremely few foods allowed.

Refined bakery products (white bread ..), certain fruits and vegetables and their juices are to be avoided, such as foods with high sugar levels. This phase is longer than the first one since the goal is to reach its ideal weight goal.

Phase 3: Stabilization with authorized deviations

Finally, the last phase is the stabilization phase. Here again, the list of authorized foods expands (a little bit). You can now eat pistachios, nuts, etc. Not many new authorizations, but banned foods can now be consumed from time to time. The inventor of the diet considers this phase as a lifestyle, and not as a weight-loss stage.

This diet is based in part on carbohydrate deficiency, although this was not at all what Dr. Agatston wanted. Indeed for him, there is no "low-carb" or "low-fat" approach, it is simply necessary to consume the right carbohydrates and the right fats. Carbohydrates are not prohibited, but the list of foods is so restrictive that carbohydrate deficiencies are beautiful and present. In phase 1 carbohydrates represent, in the Miami diet, 14% of the daily caloric equivalence, while the ANC (Recommended Nutritional Intakes) recommends that this figure be between 50 and 55%.

This carbohydrate deficiency would force the body to modify its metabolism and thus touch fats to produce the energy necessary for daily activities (since there are no more carbohydrates to participate in the production of energy). This is the principle of Dr. Atkins' diet. These fats are then converted into ketone, which is then eliminated. This type of diet causes both a decrease in appetite and also a loss of fat, which mainly explains the weight loss caused.

This diet is easily applicable at home. But since carbohydrates are scarce on plates, the patient has an interest in being (very) imaginative in culinary terms. In restaurants, this diet is very difficult to follow. The most common dishes are usually to forget, and this can cause the person to stop the diet, or to isolate themselves.

The method

It takes place in three phases. The first or phase of the attack is to remove carbohydrates and sugars from your diet. Then remain the proteins that will allow the elimination of fat and water retention while maintaining muscle mass. The second allows the reintroduction of cereals and certain fruits and vegetables. Finally, the latter allows all foods within the limits of reasonableness and always within the framework of balanced days.

In practice

At home, it is rather easy to apply the main principles of this diet. However, it takes great creativity to cook tasty and varied meals low in carbohydrates. In the restaurant, it is possible to eat 'Miami', provided you choose your dishes well. 

Results and warnings

This diet makes it possible to obtain a faster melting than conventional diets, especially the first two weeks. However, it strongly induces the yo-yo effect and if followed in the long term, it can create significant deficiencies (vitamins and minerals)

  • Duration: two weeks for the attack phase. The second lasts until you have reached the ideal weight. 
  • Advantage: you can lose 4 to 6 kilos during the 15-day attack phase. 
  • Disadvantages: the first phase, monotonous, can be difficult to follow.