The South Beach Diet and Coffee

The South Beach Diet and Coffee, Acceptable?

At CHD we see alot of questions about how many carbs are in coffee, and they usually stem from an interest or curiosity in the South Beach Diet and coffee.  There's simply no denying the fascination and popularity of this diet, and while we are by no means qualified to answer whether or not it works or whether or not it's the best diet choice for you (please consult your phsycian before starting any new diet), we can help answer the question relative to whether or not coffee drinking is permitted while on the South Beach Diet. 

South Beach Diet Basics: They Glycemic Index

As you know, if you're familiar with the South Beach Diet, it's based upon a "good carb" / "bad carb" equation and helps you to determine what foods fall into which category and then cut the bads out.  If differs from the Atkins diet by basing good and bad on how the food fits into a glycemic level.  Every food has a rating on the Glycemic Index (GI) and this number is based upon the types of carbs in the food and their poential to raise your blood glucose levels.  Note, though, that your blood glucose levels are determined not just by the GI level of a certain carb, but also by the quanity of that carb you eat.  Theoretically, you can figure out what effect food will have on your blood glucose (the Glycemic Load, GL) by atking the GI and multiplying it by the amount of carbohydrate you're consuming, and then divided by 100.  So, 1 teaspoon of jam ranks a GI of 51.  If you have 5 grams of carbs from that teaspoon of jam, your GL would look something like: (51 x 5) / 100, which equals 2.5.

Glycemic Index of Coffee

When it comes to straight, black coffee, you are 100% safe in terms of good carbs by looking at the glycemic index because coffee has a carb level of zero.   This happens to be great news for the South Beat Diet and coffee fanatics! 

However, it is important to know that the South Beach Diet also aims to maintain an even insulin level as well, and in terms of this, it's best to make sure that you only drink decaffeinated coffee to avoid spiking your insulin levels unneccessarily.

South Beach Diet
During all three phases of the South Beach diet, you should use artificial sweetener and low-fat milk in your coffee or tea. Since the objective of this diet is to maintain an even insulin level, you should also switch to caffeine-free. If you only drink a cup or two a day, it probably won't scuttle your weight loss if you keep your caffeine.