Phase two south beach diet

How does Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet work? In Phase 1 you rebooted your body for fast weight loss and changed your preferred fuel from carbs to body fat.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the most restrictive phase of the South Beach Diet, and now it’s on to the next, more flexible phase.

Here’s exactly how South Beach Diet Phase 2 works, plus a list of additional foods approved for Phase 2:

Phase 2: How it Works | Food List

South Beach Diet: How Phase 2 Works:

After 7 days of eating a diet with lower starchy carbs and sugars, you should feel a bit lighter inside and out. Hopefully you’ve also lost some pounds!

By eating those South Beach Diet foods that are low in carbs and high in lean protein and healthy fats, you’ve changed your metabolism. The key is that you’ve made a switch from burning carbs to fat as a fuel source, which should also help to curb cravings for empty carbs.

You’ve also prepared your body for months of steady weight loss, and you’ll stay in Phase 2 until you reach your goal weight. Now, let’s talk about what you’ll eat in Phase 2.

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In Phase 2 You Will…

While the first phase of the South Beach Diet was a “body reboot” week, Phase 2 is where you’ll spend most of your time. In fact, you’ll stay in Phase 2 until you reach your weight loss goal, so it’s important to understand how it works.

In Phase 2 of The South Beach Diet, you will:

  • Supplement the South Beach Diet prepared foods with fresh groceries. As we mentioned, Phase 2 introduces a larger variety of foods including: lean proteins, vegetables, good carbs, and fruits.
  • Drink at least 64 oz. of water every day! You can also enjoy unsweetened iced tea, hot tea, coffee, and seltzer. You’ll still want to avoid sugary drinks, and no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a week
  • Track your progress on the South Beach Diet tracker app, including your weight and measurements. Progress is highly-motivational!
  • Move around! South Beach encourages you to get an average of at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This can include activities like walking, swimming, yoga, or riding your bike.

The goal here is not just to reach and maintain your goal weight, but to live a healthier lifestyle with more energy and joy. After phase 2, you’ll graduate on to the even more flexible, Phase 3.

Phase 2 : What Will You Eat?

In Phase 2 you’ll continue to enjoy South Beach Diet® prepared meals 5 days a week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 3 snacks.

These 5 days should include:

  • 1 lean protein serving (3 for men)
  • 2 healthy fat servings
  • 5 vegetable servings
  • 1 fruit serving (2 for men)
  • 1 good carbohydrate serving

You’ll also have 2 “practice” days each week of DIY meals, when you prepare your own breakfasts, lunches, and dinners plus 3 snacks. These days are also your opportunity to dine out and make healthy menu choices.

For these 2 days, you’ll follow the Phase 2 food guidelines and portion sizes, eating:

  • 3 lean protein servings (5 for men)
  • 3 healthy-fat servings
  • 5 vegetable servings (6 for men)
  • 2 fruit servings
  • 2 good-carbohydrate servings

So, where do you find a list of Phase 2-approved foods?

All approved foods can be selected from the Phase 2 food list, which includes all of the foods from Phase 1, plus more menu variety including starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, fruits, and whole grains.

*Related: South Beach Diet Offers New “Keto-Friendly” Plan

Here’s the list of additional foods you can add to your grocery list for Phase 2:

Phase 2 Food List:

Healthy food is the foundation of the South Beach Diet. In addition to all of the Phase 1 foods, you can also add this list of foods for Phase 2: (Printable PDF)

(One serving is one cup, or 2 Tbsp for dried fruit)

Choose fresh fruits whenever possible. Dried or frozen are acceptable, but only without added sugar. Women may have one fruit serving per day, while men have two.
• apple; 1 small
• applesauce: unsweetened, ½ cup*
• apricots
• banana: small
• blackberries
• blueberries
• boysenberries
• cantaloupe
• cherries
• clementines: 2 small
• cranberries
• elderberries
• grapefruit
• grapes, green or red
• guava
• honeydew melon
• kiwi
• lemon: 1 medium
• lime: 1 medium
• loganberries
• mandarin orange: 1 medium
• mangoes
• mulberries
• nectarine: 1 small
• orange: 1 medium
• peach: 1 medium
• pear: 1 medium
• pineapple*
• plums, 2 medium
• pomegranate: ½ cup seeds
• pomelo: ½ fruit
• raspberries
• strawberries
• tangelo: 1 small
*Limit to 1 serving per week.
(Serving sizes are smaller than non-starchy vegetables)

Introduce these vegetables slowly after completing Phase 1; starting with one per day, and then limit to two servings per day afterwards.
• carrots: raw or cooked, ½ cup
• green peas: raw or cooked, ½ cup
• pumpkin*: cooked, ½ cup
• rutabaga*: cooked, ½ cup
• sweet potato: cooked, ½ cup
• turnip: cooked, ½ cup
• winter squash: cooked, ½ cup
• yams: cooked, ½ cup
*Limit to 1 serving per week.
(*1 serving is ½ cup cooked, 1 slice bread, unless otherwise noted.)
• amaranth
• bagel: ½ small or 1 mini
• barley
• bread: whole-grain
• buckwheat
• cellophane noodles: cooked, ¼ cup
• cereal, cold, low-sugar and > 5 g fiber per serving, 1 cup
• cereal: hot (not instant) • couscous
• crackers: whole-grain, 6
• English muffin: > 2.5 g fiber per half, ½ muffin
• farro: cooked
• matzo, ½ sheet
• muffins, bran, no dried fruit, 1 small
• pasta: (made from wheat, rice, quinoa, soy, or spelt), cooked al dente
• phyllo dough and shells: 2 sheets or 4 mini shells
• pita bread: at least 3.5 g fiber per half, ½ pita
• popcorn: air-popped, 3 cups
• quinoa
• rice (brown, basmati, converted, parboiled, wild)
• rice noodles:, cooked
• shirataki noodles: cooked, 1 cup
• soba noodles: cooked
• tortilla (3+ g fiber per 1 oz.), 1 small
• wheat germ: 3 Tbsp
*Quinoa is a great, high-protein option for a side dish or breakfast!
(*1/2 cup cooked unless noted. Choose fresh, dried, frozen, or canned w/o added sugar or salt)
• adzuki beans
• black beans
• broad beans
• butter beans
• cannellini beans
• chickpeas/ garbanzo beans
• cranberry beans
• edamame
• fava beans
• great northern beans
• hummus: ¼ cup
• kidney beans
• lentils
• lima beans
• mung beans
• navy beans
• pigeon peas
• pinto beans
• refried beans: canned, fat-free
• soybeans
• split peas
• white beans
In Phase 2 you can have up to 2 servings of alcohol per week.
Tip: Choose lower-carb options like light beer, and avoid sweet wine or sugary cocktails.
x Bagel: refined wheat
x Bread: refined wheat or white
x Cookies
x Cornflakes
x Matzo
x Pasta, white flour
x Potatoes: baked, white, or instant
x Rice cakes
x Rice, white
x Rolls, dinner
x Beets
x Corn: sweet
x Potatoes: white
x Currants
x Canned fruit: juice packed
x Dates
x Figs
x Raisins
x Prunes
x Watermelon
x Honey
x Ice cream
x Jam

As you can see, Phase 2 is less restrictive, but you still have to make smart choices at the grocery store and at restaurants. If you aren’t sure about a food, check the nutrition label for trans fats, added sugar, and salt content.

Related: Is South Beach Diet’s $50 Off Coupon Worth Using?

South Beach Diet Phase 2 Meals:

You’ll also notice that every food on South Beach Diet’s menu has user reviews, nutritional information, and which Phase(s) it’s approved for.

This is helpful if you are customizing your menu, or adding food a la carte.

South Beach Diet Phase 2 Recipes:

The best place to find recipes for Phase 2 of the South Beach diet is on “The Palm,” which is South Beach’s official blog.

You’ll find great Phase 2-friendly DIY recipes with ingredients and cooking instructions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Check their latest, sortable recipes out here!


The South Beach Diet is a good weight loss option for those who value convenience and weight loss results above menu freedom. In fact, a lot of women and men who join have already tried the DIY diets and weight loss apps without success.

However, no single diet will work for everyone. That’s why it’s important to do your homework and decide whether the program is a good fit with your lifestyle, personality, and weight loss goals. If you’d like to do more research, you can read about the pros and cons, and the cost in our review.

Tip: a number of people end up choosing Nutrisystem, (reviews, coupons) instead, because it’s a little bit less expensive and fits their lifestyle better. We encourage you to compare the two diets, and see if one looks better for your lifestyle than the other.

If you want to learn more about the South Beach Diet, click below to apply today’s best promotion!

Before you begin any diet or weight loss program, run it by your doctor or healthcare provider. Thanks for stopping by Wonky Pie!

South Beach Diet – Food List

The South Beach Diet has 3 phases. The first (two week) phase is very restrictive, whilst the second has some restrictions. The 3rd and final phase is a maintenance phase.

For a complete and thorough list to refer to, get your own copy of the South Beach Diet – Good Fats/Good Carbs Guide by Arthur Agatston.

NOTE: The food list is updated a number of times per year, as Dr. Agatston is continually refining the diet as new research comes to light.

NOTE: South Beach Diet now offer a home delivery service for food – currently offering 40% off.

Phase 1

Where the items have a line through them, this is a recent update.

Foods to ENJOY (controlled portions)

  • Seafood
  • Lean beef (i.e. good cuts)
  • Lean poultry (skinless chicken or turkey breast)
  • Lean pork
  • Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, onions, fennel.
  • Legumes – beans
  • Eggs
  • Cheeses – fat-free, cottage cheese
  • Dairy – (fat-free or 1% milk, fat-free plain yogurt). Dairy limited to 2 servings per day.
  • Nuts
  • Oils -canola or olive oil
  • Sweets / Sugars – no more that 75 calories per day

Foods to AVOID

  • All Starchy Carbs – bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes, all baked goods.
  • Alcohol
  • All Dairy – ice cream, milk, yogurt
  • Fruit – all fruits and fruit juices
  • Cheese – full fat
  • Vegetables – barley, carrots, white or sweet potatoes, corn, yams, beets.

Phase 2

Foods to ENJOY

Foods to AVOID

  • Starchy Carbs – all refined carbs – white breads, white pastas, white rice, rice cakes, cookies.
  • Fruit – bananas, canned fruit, fruit juice, pineapple, raisins, watermelon.
  • Vegetables – beets, carrots, corn, white potatoes
  • Dairy – full cream


Aim for lots of water, and a maximum of one coffee (or other caffeine drink) per day. Soda should be sugar-free as well as other drink mix type beverages.

What About Coffee?

While the original South Beach Diet listed decaffeinated coffee and tea in the meal plans, the New South Beach Diet Supercharged Plan says that regular coffee and tea are acceptable.

Multivitamins, Minerals, and Supplements

It is recommended that the following supplements are taken:

  • 500mg Calcium (men and women)
  • 1 multivitamin / mineral supplement

See the South Beach Diet food delivery service


Comments now closed

  1. Beth

    What about salad dressing and bacon in phase 1

    Log in to Reply

  2. Yolanda

    Almond milk can i drink?

    Log in to Reply

  3. Colleen

    Is mayo and or salad dressing on any Phase, but particularly Phase One?

    Log in to Reply

    • Kate

      you can make your own mayo & salad dressing to make it easier & allowed 🙂

      Log in to Reply

  4. Elizabeth

    Any vegetarian option

    Log in to Reply

  5. Pam S

    Thanx for food lists..are the foods lined thru acceptable for that particular phase of diet? Re: bananas carrots on foods to avoid list?

    Log in to Reply

  6. Jennifer B

    Can you have avocado on phase 1?

    Log in to Reply

    • Ali

      What are some dessert options for Phase 2? Looking for anythibg ither than Ricotta cheese concoctions

      Log in to Reply

    • Babl48

      Yes. See

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  7. Tammy Wlodarski

    Can you have a plain baked potato with just salt and pepper?

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    • Carol

      But you can have a sweet potato starting in phase 2

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  8. Anthera Gibson

    Can I extend phase one for a longer period.

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    • Brianne

      I have, for sure. That’s the phase you lose the most weight in.

      Log in to Reply

  9. Kory

    Can you have whey protein shakes?

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    • Will Drobnick

      i like to use a vegetable protein shake including fat free yogurt, home made almond milk (almonds and water), rolled oats and spinich or a few strawberries. Would this make it as a phase one breakfast?

      Log in to Reply

      • Will Drobnick

        i like to use a vegetable protein shake including fat free yogurt, home made almond milk (almonds and water), rolled oats and spinich or a few strawberries. Would this make it as a phase one breakfast?

        Log in to Reply

  10. Marilyn

    Can you have spaghetti squash in Phase 1?

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  11. Mom

    So, this is not an exhaustive list here of foods you can have. You can have soy, just in moderation- like a lot of things. The point is to jump start your body into using your fat stores instead of just your food, and then continue with exercise and healthy food choices to lose excess weight.
    It’s not about counting calories, it is as low-sodium as you make it- because you are preparing your foods. The pre-prepared foods they offer commercially are a totally different thing and the best way to find out about those is to call them.

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  12. Gretchen

    In Phase One, can I have other vegetables than the ones listed, like okra, turnips, Swiss chard, bell peppers?

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    • James

      Yes. Except possibly the turnips, that have a higher carb content.

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  13. Al DeFelice

    Did this about 10 years ago, lost 75# in 6months, great diet.

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    • Billy

      Just curious…did you extend phase 1 to get more fat loss?

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      • Sue

        I stayed on phase1 for about 4 weeks.

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  14. Kathy

    I don’t like fish or mushrooms or eggplant

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    • James Adams

      Try using different cooking methods and make sure it’s fresh fish. Tuna that is fresh & Mahi isn’t fishy try grilling them add fresh herbs and spices!

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  15. Fran

    How do I find the number of calories and fat I need per day? Is there a app for that

    Log in to Reply

    • Gwen

      Yes do you count calories if so how many a day

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  16. Marie Burkart

    Does any of the food contain soy

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  17. Madiha

    I want to loose weight how to start im confused…

    Log in to Reply

    • Monty

      Hi wild salmon is great for weight loss. Skinless chicken thigh. Eggs. Have things like pasta and potatoes and pop only once every seven days. Not a proper diet if your not drinking lots of water. Have red meat like steak and lean ground beef only two days a week. Broccoli is very good vegetable. Have some cheat days like every Saturday I have small amount of pop I have pasta even have small or medium pizza sometimes on Saturday. Hope this helps.

      Log in to Reply

    • Carol

      Start phase 1

      Log in to Reply

  18. cindy anderson

    do you offer low sodium meals?

    Log in to Reply

    • James

      The foods meet the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 600mg or less of sodium in each meal. To go lower, you will need to browse the nutrition amounts of each meal, and choose the lower sodium foods.

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      • Kurt

        The AHA is a political organization. Please get dietary information elsewhere. Low salt intake increases your chance of heart disease according to recent studies.

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  19. Sharon

    What about soy crumbles?

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  20. Connie

    Soy foods are not mentioned anywhere in Phases 1 and 2. Does that mean they are entirely a NO?

    Log in to Reply

Last year I learned something terrible about myself: I’m a stress eater.

Let me back up a bit: Looking for a challenge, I had started a job that promised to put all my experience to the test. I’d love to say I got through tough times by meditating and pushing harder at the gym after hours, but really, I just stuffed my face.

A ton of meetings are held at my office, with bagels, sandwiches, and pastries often left over. Before starting this job, I’d followed a paleo eating plan for a couple of years and had managed to cut most refined carbs out of my diet. But I’m not made of stone, so when I’d spot a wrap or cookies in the office kitchen on difficult days, I’d eat them, even if I wasn’t hungry. When there were no sweet treats up for grabs, I began running out to buy myself a huge peanut butter cookie or a pita sandwich. And things just spiraled out of control.

Eventually, I become a card-carrying member of the stretch-pants squad, never wearing pants with a button unless absolutely necessary. I stopped getting on the scale. The numbers kept going up.

All in all, I’d gained about 10 pounds. And while that’s not a lot, it was very noticeable on my 5′ 2″ frame. I decided that once the holidays were over, I needed to do something drastic to shock myself out of my newfound unhealthy eating habits. I knew from going paleo that I tend to lose weight when I cut back on pasta and bread, so when I stumbled across the South Beach Diet, I was intrigued.

What The South Beach Diet Is

According to The South Beach Diet Supercharged, the eating plan focuses on “real food, including nutrient-rich, high-fiber carbohydrates; lean sources of protein; good unsaturated fats; and low-fat dairy.” By following the principles, you are supposed to learn “how to make better food choices for life.”

On the South Beach Diet, you get to that point in three phases, the first of which involves a cutthroat elimination of all carbs for two weeks. White rice and baked goods were out, of course, but so were natural, healthy-for-you sources like fruits. The book says the process is meant to help a person rid herself of sugar cravings and also initiate “early rapid weight loss” to inspire the person to stick with it. The second phase includes the slow reintroduction of foods like whole grains until the person’s goal weight is reached, while the third phase is when the diet has become a lifestyle that helps her maintain that weight.

Although I was skeptical of the benefits of cutting out fruits, I liked that the hardest part, phase one, lasted only two weeks. That definitely seemed manageable. One of my main complaints about paleo was that living without grains for life was too big of an ask for me. So I was 100 percent down to give South Beach a shot.

The Catch

South Beach Diet results are definitely not magic or easy to come by, says registered dietitian Jessica Crandall, R.D., a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Crandall likes that phase one focuses on decreasing sugar and eating lean proteins and high-fiber foods, but she still isn’t a fan of cutting out all carbs, especially ones from healthy, whole foods. “The first phase is extreme. It’s not my favorite,” she says. “It isn’t really nutritionally complete for your body to be at that low of a carbohydrate level. Not only can we become nutrient-deprived, but we also can feel pretty horrible on that phase of the diet.”

Board-certified sports dietitian Georgie Fear, R.D,. C.S.S.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, agrees. “The induction phase is very low-carb, which can cause weakness and fatigue, poor tolerance for exercise, and disrupted sleep,” she says. “Following the first phase for a long time would mean missing out on crucial nutrients.”

Despite the warnings, I soldiered on. What person with 10 pounds to lose doesn’t want to see it melt off immediately?

Well, as I would soon learn, that wasn’t exactly realistic. And despite my initial desire to proceed to phase two and add carbs back in slowly, I’ve already fallen off the wagon. Here’s what I learned during my 14 days on the South Beach Diet.

What is the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet has three phases: The first aims to kick-start the weight loss process, the second takes the dieter to their target weight, and the third aims to maintain the ideal weight.

Phase I: Kick-starting the weight-loss process

Share on PinterestChicken and salad is a good choice during phase I.

Phase I of the diet lasts 2 weeks.

It aims to eliminate cravings for sugary foods and refined starches by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Rapid weight loss may occur during this phase.

In Phase I, the dieter will eat normal-sized portions of:

  • lean meats
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • fish and shellfish
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • reduced-fat cheese
  • nuts
  • beans
  • vegetables

The person will eat three balanced meals a day, with desserts, plus snacks.

The snacks are important, even if the individual is not hungry, because someone who feels satisfied is less likely to overeat at the next meal.

Foods to avoid during Phase I include:

  • bread
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • pasta
  • baked and sugary foods such as cake, cookies, candy and ice cream
  • fruits
  • alcoholic drinks

People can reintroduce some of these in Phases II and III.

Phase II: Achieving the target weight

Phase II lasts until the person reaches their desired weight.

Share on PinterestIn phase II, the person can introduce some “good” carbs, such as brown rice.

The individual now learns to reintroduce some “good” carbohydrates.

Weight loss may now be steady, but slower than in Phase I. During Phase II, the diet says people usually lose 1–2 pounds a week, depending on their metabolism.

Slow, steady weight loss is better, says the South Beach Diet, because it is more likely to last.

Some participants worry about regaining the weight already lost when they start eating the carbs again.

Dr. Agatston stresses that they must reintroduce these carbs, because if they are going to follow this diet for life, carbs will be essential long-term for maintaining good health.

The person will introduce the carbs little by little.

Suitable carbs include:

  • most fruits
  • some whole-grain breads, and pastas
  • some additional vegetables, including peas and potatoes
  • some treats
  • brown rice

First, the person will add one single carb to just one daily meal for one week. The person should monitor closely how their body responds to a reintroduced carb over a few days.

If the body responds appropriately, they can add a second carb, again monitoring the body’s reaction carefully.

Examples of an appropriate response to added carbohydrates are:

  • improved energy
  • better sleep quality
  • better mood
  • continued slow weight loss
  • regular bowel movements
  • better skin

This continues until the person has 2–3 servings of the right carbs each day.

If a person does not feel comfortable at this stage, they can return to Phase I for a few days, until they regain control.

People might need to revisit Phase I if they experience:

  • food cravings
  • difficulty controling carbohydrate portions
  • weight gain
  • a return to old, unhealthful eating habits

On reaching the target weight, the dieter moves on to Phase III.

Phase III: Adopting a lifestyle

In Phase III, the individual learns to make good food choices and maintain their new weight in the long term, while enjoying all foods in moderation.

Phase III is the “maintenance phase.” Now, the person should feel that they are adopting a lifestyle, rather than following a diet.

If the food cravings return, or if weight increases, the dieter can go back to Phase I or II.

The creators of The South Beach Diet say that, in Phase III, people do not go back to eating whatever they like. Instead, they continue to make good food choices, try new recipes and ingredients, and enjoy a new lifestyle.

Phase III is about maintaining an ideal body weight and experiencing better health.

South Beach Diet: What You Need to Know

­Phase two of the South Beach Diet plan is meant to be a steady, long-term phase. Unlike the first phase, this phase has no strict time limit. According to the plan, you should stay at the second phase until you are happy with your weight and comfortable with your diet. Sometimes people start at phase two if they don’t have too much weight to lose but they want to be more healthful. Phase two does produce weight loss, but it’s over an extended period of time .

Phase two has a much smaller list of restricted foods, though bad carbs will never come back to the OK list. During phase two, you can start bringing back more of the good carbs. However, you can’t bring them back all at once. The process of introducing the good carbs back into your diet should be gradual so that your body can get used to the moderate consumption of carbohydrates again. Whole grain foods such as brown rice and whole-grain breads make up a portion of the carbohydrate-driven foods you are allowed to eat at this time. You can also have sweet potatoes and a variety of fruit. Some pasta is permitted, as are chocolate and wine in moderation .


By the time you’ve made it through the second phase, you’ve proven you have the power to stick to the South Beach Diet. So phase three should be a cinch for you. Read on to find out about the foods you can eat in the final stage of the South Beach Diet.

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