With so many options at the grocery store, it’s no wonder shopping for dairy can be a challenge. But once you learn a few basic guidelines, it’ll be a snap to pick out the best milk, yogurt, and cheese for following the South Beach Diet. We recommend choosing reduced-fat and fat-free dairy products and avoiding those that are full fat.
Milk: You can enjoy up to two cups of fat-free or 1% milk daily on Phase 1, and up to 3 cups on Phase 2 as your daily dairy allowance. Fat-free or low-fat lactose-free milk can also be enjoyed on all Phases as can low-fat, unsweetened or low-sugar plain or vanilla soymilk with 4 grams or less fat per 8-ounce serving, or artificially sweetened soymilk with 4 grams or less fat per 8-ounce serving. Avoid products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
Yogurt: On all Phases, you can alternate your daily dairy serving between milk and yogurt. On Phase 1 (and 2), you can enjoy low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt. Nonfat (0%) plain Greek yogurt is especially recommended because it is so high in protein. Feel free to flavor your plain yogurt with an extract of your choice like vanilla or almond, or some fresh herbs or a sprinkling of nuts. Beginning on Phase 2, you can also have 4 to 6 ounces of artificially sweetened low-fat or nonfat flavored yogurt; just avoid those that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Consider adding 3/4 cup of raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries to the yogurt, but make sure to count them as a fruit serving.
Cheese: While cheese is obviously a dairy product, providing calcium, vitamin B 12, and other nutrients, it wears two hats on the South Beach Diet because it’s also a very good source of protein. You can enjoy cheese on all Phases. Be sure to choose fat-free or reduced-fat varieties and look for products with 6 grams of fat or less per ounce. While there is no serving limitation for cheese, some people who eat more than two small servings a day report stalled weight loss. If you're experiencing this, cut back on your cheese consumption.