Here's an important rule to remember when following the South Beach Diet: The more a food is refined, the more you should stay away from it. What are refined foods? Refined foods are highly processed foods that have been stripped of their original nutrient content and fiber. Refined white flour, white pasta, and white sugar are just some examples.
How Refined Foods
Consider a loaf of sliced white bread. First, the wheat is stripped of bran and fiber, and then it's pulverized into the finest white flour. The baking process puffs it up into light, airy slices of bread. No wonder your stomach makes such quick work of it. A slice of white bread hits your bloodstream with the same jolt you'd get by eating a tablespoon of sugar right from the bowl!
Genuine 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, on the other hand — the coarse, chewy kind with a thick crust and visible pieces of grain — puts your stomach to work. It too is made of wheat, but the grains haven't been processed to death. And while it contains starches, which are just chains of sugars, they are bound up with the fiber, so digestion takes longer. As a result, the sugars are released gradually into the bloodstream. If there's no sudden surge in blood sugar, your pancreas won't produce as much insulin, and you won't get the exaggerated hunger and cravings for more sugary and starchy carbs.
Refined Foods to
The following should be avoided on Phase 1 and Phase 2 and consumed only occasionally on Phase 3:
- White bread
- Bagel (unless 100% whole wheat or whole grain, then it’s Phase 2–friendly. Choose mini bagels!)
- Crackers (unless 100% whole wheat or whole grain, then they’re Phase 2–friendly)
- Cookies (or any baked goods made with white flour or refined wheat flour)
- Instant oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Rice cakes
- White pasta
- White rice (basmati is okay on Phase 2)