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South Beach Diet

South Beach Diet Review (UPDATED 2024): Don't Buy Before You Read This!

Dr. Agaston teaches you how you can get a South Beach body.

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What is it?

The South Beach Diet is a weight loss diet that emphasizes low-glycemic carbohydrates, high amounts of fiber, and lean protein. It’s a popular fad diet that has been around since 2003, and it’s published in an official book.

There is a specific ratio of macronutrients one must eat, and it’s considered a long-term dieting plan. It claims that there are certain carbohydrates which are bad, as well as certain fats which should be avoided. The diet became popular as it was one of the first low carbohydrate diets. Our review exerts have analyzed many weight loss diets and the most effective they found was the 18Shake Diet. This diet offers a fat burning weight loss pill and an appetite suppressing meal replacement. Both have only natural ingredients free of colors, stimulants, preservatives, binders, or fillers for natural weight loss benefits. To learn more about the 18Shake Diet, click on the link provided here.

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South Beach Diet Ingredients and Side Effects

There are 3 key phases one must follow while on this diet:

• Phase 1: The intention of this phase is to help get rid of cravings and to balance blood sugar. For two weeks one must get rid of foods that are high in sugar or that are refined carbohydrates. There is no allowance for fruit juice, alcohol, bread, pasta, rice, and fruit. What are allowed are high-fiber vegetables, unsaturated fats, low-fat dairy, lean protein, seafood, skinless chicken, and soy. 2 cups of dairy and 4 ½ cups of vegetables are advised a day. It’s advised to eat slowly and to continue eating if one is still hungry after eating a meal.

Our experts have a compiled a list of the most effective weight loss diets.

• Phase 2: This phase is longer term. There is an increased allowance for whole-wheat pasta, fruits, vegetables and brown rice. This phase is followed until the desired weight is reached. 3 servings of starches and fruit are allowed each day, as well as 2 snacks.

• Phase 3: Both phase 1 and 2 principals are followed, and all foods are allowed but only in moderation. This is considered the maintenance phase and you follow it for the entirety of your life.  2 to 4 servings of starches with no more than this limit, 3 pieces of fruit, and 2 tablespoons of healthy fats are advised.

It’s mentioned in the official book that sustaining this diet in the beginning is particularly difficult. It’s not uncommon to experience cravings and side effects. It’s also claimed that the first two weeks can promote up to 13 pounds of weight loss. However, dietician Dawn Jackson has criticized this suggested weight loss claim by adding:

“Any time you’re promised a weight loss of over a pound a week, which is the safe recommended amount, it’s time to say, ‘What’s going on here’”

She mentions how no safe diet would allow for this much weight loss to happen at one time. This is often the sign of either an unsafe diet, or one that makes exaggerated weight loss claims.

A clinicalreview by Yale University School of Medicine also said:

“some statements in the book are clearly misleading or incorrect”

“We find that over 67% of nutrition facts… may not be supported in the peer-reviewed literature”

According to this clinical review, the majority of nutritioninformation suggested in the South Beach Diet book is not based in facts. This can be potentially dangerous, as one is relying on this diet for weight loss and for promoting good health.

Another clinical review by Harvard says:

“The South Beach diet has problems typical of diet books: lack of proof and some dubious claims”

Due to the lack of quality information, it’s unknown if this diet would be safe to follow. For a comprehensive list of the top ranked weight loss diets, click this link.

There is also potential health risks associated with this diet, as the Mayo Clinic adds:

“you may experience problems from ketosis”

In the beginning where carbohydrates are greatly excluded, it’s possible for the body to go into a state called ketosis. This is activated when the glucose from carbohydrates is unavailable. Glucose is the primary fuel source used by the body. Potential side effects from ketosis include:

         • Nausea, mental fatigue, and headaches.

         • Fruity smelling breath, bad breath, and dehydration.

         • Dizziness, stomach cramps, and low blood sugar.

EDITOR’S TIP: Combine this diet with a proven meal replacement such as 18 Shake for better results.

South Beach Diet Quality of Ingredients

One clinical study by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota has concluded:

“average fiber intake of adults in the United States is less than half the recommend levels and is lower still among those who follow... South Beach”

Not only are there potential risks due to a lack of important fiber, but other clinical studies have found that the suggestions made by the South Beach Diet are not factual. This is concerning as the diet is advised to be followed for the entirety of one’s life. The diet is not considered a reliable or healthy way to lose weigh according to scientific reviews. It can potentially lead to side effects. Click on the link here to see which weight loss diets were rated as the best overall.

The Price and Quality of South Beach Diet

Pricing depends on food and the official book which currently sells for $7.99. While this diet has become popular, it’s not considered an optimal way to lose weight. Any initial weight loss is due to water weight which is what happens when restrictingcarbohydrates.

Much of the weight is returned once normal eating is resumed, and there is no fat loss only water when restricting carbohydrates. Overall, there are far too many critical reviews which show this diet is potentially unsafe and not based in real science. To see a listof the top ranking weight loss diets, click the link here.

Business of South Beach Diet

The official website has contact information listed as:

Phone Number: (888) 841-2620

Address: 600 Office Center Drive

                   Fort Washington, Pennsylvania 19034

Email: [email protected]

The South Beach Diet was created by Arthur Agatston a cardiologist, with support from a dietician named Marie Almon. It was created after Agatston treated patients with a diet recommended by the American Heart Association, which failedto promote weight loss. He suggested this diet to his patients to help them retain cardiovascular help while still being able to lose weight.

Though Agatston is not an expert in weight loss, he does have experience in knowing about heart health.

EDITOR’S TIP: The top 10 list of the best diets is available here.

Customer Opinions of South Beach Diet

Here are some select reviews taken from customer quotes:

“Many people will probably not lose weight on this program”

“so confusing I’m surprised anyone can lose weight on them”

“I learned nothing new. Basically a recipe book”

“Just another of the anti-carb, get on the band wagon books”

“This diet is the worst diet I have ever tried”

People had issue with the information in the book, currently over 300 have left negative comments about the South Beach Diet. There were concerns that they failed to lose the claimed 13 pounds of weight loss in 2 weeks.

Some found that the recipes in the book were also limited, and that they were unappetizing to continue eating.

Certain people also experienced side effects such as nausea, fatigue, headache, ill feelings, stomach pain, bloating, and other side effects. Those that did manage to lose weight often mentioned it quickly returned, and that it was likely just water weight. For a list of the highest rated weight loss diets, click this link.

Conclusion - Does South Beach DietWork?

The South Beach Diet is a popular fad diet that has 3 unique phases intended to help promote weight loss. The initial phase has a restriction on carbohydrates, which is likely, the reason why weight loss via water weight and not fat is possible. Reviews on the diet have shown that it’s potentially harmful, and that there are claims made that are untruthful.  Many people who have tried and reviewed this diet conclude that it’s much like other low carbohydrate diets, and that it’s unusable long term. There is also a potential for side effects especially in the beginning as the body adjusts.

Our review experts have found that the highest rated weight loss is the 18Shake Diet. This diet offers a meal replacement which can suppress appetite for hours, and a fat burning diet pill. They help to maximize weight loss without the use of stimulants, preservatives, artificial additives, fillers, binders, or any cheap additives. Customers have left positive reviews on the official website adding how effective it is for weight loss. It’s made with natural ingredients and can increase metabolism and provide other well-rounded weight loss benefits.

The 18Shake Diet is supported by an entire 30 day money back return policy. All purchases are backed by this return policy offered with no questions asked. Discover more information about the 18Shake Diet, click the link provided.

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User Feedback

(Page 1 of 8, 148 total comments)

Fred Kuykendall

Severe bloating, gas and stomach cramps after three days. Had to discontinue the diet as it had become a danger to my health. And South Beach Diet offers no refunds or other compensation for my monetary loss. Told me to just the remaining product away.

posted Jul 5th, 2018 1:02 pm


I have similar experience with South Beach Diet.com. Food was delivered without meal plan. It took me two weeks to receive the meal plan. By then, the next food delivery would be delivered soon. I have no choice but to delay future shipment. Food was awful, only chicken and Turkey with tomato sauce was delivered. I specified no spicy food, I got over 5 meals that were marked spicy. When I called to cancel, I was too charged $125 penalty. NEVER AGAIN.

posted May 24th, 2018 3:56 pm


I paid 300.00 dollars for some of the worst tasting food I've ever had. The 300.00 dollars is non-refundable. I was left with a bunch of food no one in my family would eat. So I pretty much threw out 250.00 worth of food. I kept making different meals hoping I'd find something that tastes good. I found nothing other than 1 snack bar that was decent.
They really need to show what the actual dinners look like not the perfect people with beautiful choice of foods.
What makes me so mad is they're getting rich by selling people a terrible product at a extremely high non-refundable cost.
I'm buying low sodium, low carb frozen foods at my local store. It tastes better and so much cheaper. Yes I'm losing weight with food that actually is edible.

posted May 8th, 2018 10:42 am


The food sent by this plan is disgusting -- meat is low-quality and flavorless and the plan sends you massive amounts of food all at once that no regular person has room for in their freezer. That leaves you also with lots of packaging to have to recycle. Nowhere are you ever warned about the massive amounts of packaging and freezer room you will need. I asked specifically that spicey foods not be sent and actually requested the meals that I wanted but they didn’t honor that request and sent lots of foods I didn’t ask for. When I called to cancel, they made it nearly impossible; you can't cancel online, you have to call to do so and when you do, they transfer you to a highly trained retention specialist whose sole job is to talk you out of canceling. I persisted, but the retention specialist then told me about some hidden wording that said I still must pay them $125 more!!! Seriously? My freezer is still full of their gross food that I haven't eaten in 2 months and likely never will, yet they insist I still owe them $125?? I think not.

posted Feb 22nd, 2018 8:32 pm


The worst food I ever tasted and they lie on the web site. They stole $394 from me. Stay away from them!

posted Feb 10th, 2018 7:50 am

david larue

Maybe the diet works, but $505 for one months worth of mediocre meals that don't cover half of your required meals is the ULTIMATE RIPOFF. Try to cancel your next shipment for another fun experience that will take away time you'll never get back. Never again!

posted Nov 7th, 2017 6:31 pm


I actually like the food. It is tasty and offers quite a variety of flavors. Remember it is a diet and the food is microwave dinners for the most part. Also, you must read the promotion. It clearly states that if you cancel prior to the second month, you will be charged for the promotional amount. It costs approximately $271 per month which includes your food for the month minus your added veggies and opportunities to dine out and prepare your own meal or two. I lost 4 pounds my first week, with 11 pounds remaining. Again, I like the variety of food and flavors...shakes are good too.

posted Sep 26th, 2017 6:56 pm


South Beach Diet hides information in their promotions that they charge you a very large cancellation fee for AutoDelivery ($125 if you don't order for 2 months). I was totally shocked at how much sugar is in even the Phase I foods. The diet claims to wean people from sugar but this is false advertising since even the Phase I foods contain way too much sugar for someone who wants a low carb diet and wants to change their eating habits.

posted May 10th, 2017 11:58 pm


I inquired about the plan after seeing 1 month meal plan on TV. I decided it was to expensive ( over $300 ). I then received an e-mial with a promo code giving me $100 off. I decided to purchase. I found the diet very easy to follow and lost the weight I anticipated ( 8 lbs). I received an e-mail stating I had an additional shipment coming. I noticed South Beach to inform I would like to cancel due to the purchase was for the month deal. I was informed that since I was not going to remain on the plan, I will be changed the $100 that was discounted to me as well as any cancelation fees that may apply. Within 30 minutes, a $125.00 change was put on my credit card. I feel robbed and mislead. Very disappointed with South Beach diet cooperation. In the future, I will not even purchase anything South Beach (not even in the grocery store). This company is not a good investment for a consumer.

posted May 9th, 2017 5:38 pm

Myra Segars

This is the worse food I have ever tried, The muffin was like saw dust and chocked me, The chicken curry taste like a dog smells, AVOID THIS FOOD! It is nasty.

posted Feb 2nd, 2017 5:36 pm


Terrible program. Terrible tasting food. Terrible customer service. They charge $99 to cancel your membership. I lost 159 pounds on Medifast so I know how to work a program. This is absolutely the worst on the market

posted Jan 16th, 2017 3:28 pm

Im not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. All the best abebgbdceada

Im not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. All the best abebgbdceada

posted May 12th, 2014 4:34 am

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog! degfcaeeccda

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog! degfcaeeccda

posted May 11th, 2014 6:35 pm

I've been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks, I'll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site? aggccbkcdfdc

I've been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks, I'll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site? aggccbkcdfdc

posted May 1st, 2014 7:35 pm

Rebecca Fore Hayes


I like the diet itself, but don't sign up for online site. It is deceptive and they bill you for months (nonrefundable) if you have trouble canceling within 7 days (it clearly states 8). The contend that the entire amount is non-refundable, but if you complain enough you might get $30 back. Go to SparkPeople instead.

posted Apr 30th, 2014 2:09 pm



This is a very healthy plan that can be followed easily for life (...if you don't forget the goal is "healthy" when you're with your friends). Those who have the most to lose will see the greatest weight loss in Phase 1.
This is why it's important to track inches. In 1 1/2 weeks, I only lost 3 pounds, however, I lost 1 1/2 inches off my waist. As promised, that quickly I noticed a positive difference in the way my clothes fit. I am back to the first phase because I felt good, looked good and began overeating and not exercising. The failure was definitely not with South Beach. At my age, I will always have to be vigilant about the types and amounts of food I eat. It's just real life in the Middle Ages.
After a time, this plan is so simple because if you eat just the healthy foods: fruits, vegetables and lean meat, you will never count another calorie. Your tastes will adapt rather quickly to the new foods. You won't like the bloated way the refined carbs make your face look and your body feel. Any time you strive to change life long habits, it is an effort. This is worth it.

posted May 6th, 2013 2:21 pm



I absolutely love this diet! Easy to follow. 9.8 lbs lost in two weeks. I went with this diet because I have hypertension, and this will lead to a healthy heart. Can't wait to see even more results!

posted Dec 12th, 2012 10:35 pm



SAVE YOUR MONEY and buy the book or print what you need from the site during the trial. NOT WORTH IT.

posted Jun 6th, 2012 5:54 pm



How Not To Get A Migraine On the South Beach Diet? I love the South Beach Diet and have tried it many times. I am ready to jump back on it but I always get horrible migraines about 3 days into it, and they take forever to go away. I know its the sugar withdrawal, but does anyone have any ideas on how to stop the migraine from happening in the first place? I would really appreciate it. :)

posted May 28th, 2012 12:35 pm



I lost 3 lbs the first week and nothing the second week. I am eating a yogurt or two a day, but sticking to everything else...other than a vodka once in awhile....thought it would be better than this. I haven't be able to excercise though, and am wondering if this is why.

posted May 23rd, 2012 7:21 pm


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QUICK FACTSQUICK FACTS Start the Diet Now Advertisement
  • Established: 1995
  • Founder: Dr. Arthur Agatston
  • Headquarters: Miami Beach, Florida
  • Accessibility: Online, Books
  • Diet Type: High protein, Low carb
  • Gender: Male and Female

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If you're looking for a diet plan that has grown wildly popular over the past few years, gives your eating habits a dramatic makeover, and shares the name of one of the world's favorite beaches, then the South Beach Diet is for you. Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist, created this friendly contrast to other prohibitive weight-loss plans and offers a chance to achieve success where you might have previously failed.

The South Beach Diet differs from its low-carb competitor Atkins, in that it restricts saturated fats, which are linked with health problems like heart disease and high cholesterol. It promises that cravings for sugars, sweets and other carbohydrates will disappear as you go along because the diet is supposed to keep blood sugar levels maintained.

The South Beach Diet has three separate phases in which you'll wean yourself away from certain foods and incorporate other South Beach Diet "friendly" foods. The diet promises that you'll lose 8-12 pounds in the first two weeks as long as you adhere to the guidelines.

  • The South Beach Diet supports a clean way of eating that is void of refined sugars and trans fats
  • Its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats is an eating plan that is full of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids
  • Support from the medical science community
  • Thousands of satisfied clients
  • Updated its research in the 2008 release"South Beach Diet: Supercharged"
  • Has a maintenance plan
  • Named #5 in the Best Commercial Diets by US News, 2011
  • Research shows that unless you're diabetic, sugar levels actually remain stable even if you eat a sugary candy bar
  • Many South Beach Diet food products contain sugar-alcohols, which may hard to tolerate
  • Not very vegetarian friendly
  • Its elimination of sugars, certain fruits like bananas and other carbohydrates make it difficult to maintain
  • Science behind Dr. Agatston's assertions about certain foods and their ability to raise blood sugar levels or put on weight is inaccurate
  • Original plan doesn't offer much for exercise guidelines

A sampling of feedback and experiences shared by our community.

I am eating really satisfying food, which is a real treat, and consistently losing weight. Most importantly, Phase 1 has largely eliminated my sugars cravings, and that is a great relief! It's an amazing, healthy food plan. - Arlayna 5/28/11

Unless you are severe obese you are not going to loose as much weigh as the diet promises. I lost 2 pounds in the first week. It is really hard with no carbs at all. The cravings DO NOT go away. It just gets worse. I didn't cheat at all. I have to loose 20 pounds. My cholesterol is high and the dctor suggested the diet. I literally dream with carbs and I think that I would have lost the same with a different diet not soooo restrictive. - Tiredofdiets 2/1/11

A real quick success story. A coworker and I started the plan in February, he 2 weeks before I. As of today I am down 120lbs. He has reached his goal and is down 135lbs. I did not introduce an exercise plan untill I reached my first 100. The first 2 weeks suck, but once you break the cravings, everything becomes routine. - William 10/21/10

This is the healthiest eating plan I've ever seen. Tons of vegetables even in Phase 1, many of which provide vitamin C. There is meat, veggies and fudgesicles from the beginning and the short 2 week elimination of grains and fruit is a challenge the first few days, BUT any change of habit is. - Bree 8/22/09

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Other videos

South Beach YouTube Channel

South Beach Diet Meal Plan

South Beach Diet Workout


The first phase lasts for two weeks and has you remove starches like bread, pasta and rice, potatoes, fruits, milk, yogurt, honey and baked goods. Sugars are completely eliminated. During the first phase of South Beach, you'll enjoy three balanced meals and some snacks that should include lean meats and fish, eggs, low-fat cheese, fresh vegetables, beans and nuts.

Phase two of the South Beach Diet will allow you to slowly re-introduce fruits, whole-grain breads and pastas. You'll choose just one carbohydrate and include that in one meal each day for one week. You are encouraged to wait a few days and if there are no noticeable effects, introduce one more healthy carbohydrate. Continue this until you're able to successfully have two or three healthy carbohydrates each day. Phase two will continue until you meet your goal weight.

You'll begin the maintenance, or third, phase of South Beach once you've met your goal weight. It's here that you'll put to practice all that you learned in phases one and two.

The book and [website][1] offer many South Beach-friendly recipes. There is also a complete line of South Beach Diet foods that can be purchased in your grocery store from cereals to frozen meals. But many of the nutrition bars and snack items contain artificial sweeteners, which have been known to induce gastrointestinal problems.

If you become a member of the South Beach Diet web site, you will have access to specific meal plans for each phase of the program. You will also have access to a daily menu that you can customize to meet your specific tastes. The meals are only suggestions, but help give you some ideas to keep things fresh. Due to the first phase of the program being only two weeks, many of the recipes you will find for the South Beach Diet are for phase two of the program, which you stay on until you reach your goal weight. Below is a sample day of eating on the South Beach Diet during the second phase of the program:

  • Breakfast – Greet the Sun Breakfast Pizza; coffee or tea with low-fat or nonfat milk and a sugar substitute; Vegetable juice cocktail
  • Snack – Spicy Nut Mix
  • Lunch – Crisp Green Salad; Whole-Wheat Pizza Margherita
  • Snack – Veggies with Cilantro Pesto Dip
  • Dinner – Grilled Salmon; Edamame Salad; Baked Tomatoes with Basil and Parmesan; Mixed Field Greens Salad
  • Dessert – Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

The South Beach Diet encourages you to incorporate a regular exercise routine as part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Exercise not only helps you lose weight faster, but it can also make you feel healthier, stronger and more energized.

Working out not only helps you get past weight-loss plateaus and lose weight faster; it can also make your heart stronger. Dr. Agatston recommends that that you do at least 20 minutes of interval walking every other day of the week.

The South Beach Diet website features numerous articles and tips on how to fit in fitness into your daily routine regardless of how busy you are.

The updated version of the South Beach Diet called South Beach Diet Supercharged offers a fairly detailed exercise plan. The fitness plan works on areas of the core, cardio and strength and flexibility. All of these areas are important to shape a fit and healthy body. Online members will automatically have access to the Fitness Club which includes:

  • A daily walking routine
  • Hundreds of Pilates-based core movements including pictures and step-by-step videos
  • Exercises for every level from beginner to advanced

Simply incorporating the fitness program along with the South Beach Diet will allow you to tone your abs, boost your energy and help you break through plateaus.

See the South Beach Diet Supercharged review


Common questions asked about the South Beach Diet by our community. Click each to see the full answer

What is the cost of the South Beach Diet program? - Mary 7/5/11

What kinds of food can you eat on the South Beach Diet? - Yoga Jim 2/21/11


You must wonder if the South Beach Diet is just another marketing attempt to motivate folks who are desperate to lose weight? With its strong assertions and its complete line of food products hitting grocery store shelves everywhere, makes you question how much of its appeal is fact or fiction? The truth is that any diet that cuts calories will help you lose weight. The South Beach Diet is no different.

It's encouragement of eating vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats is admirable. Its elimination of white sugar and refined carbohydrates is equally laudable albeit challenging to follow. And many people have had a lot luck losing weigh following the South Beach Diet. But the South Beach Diet itself has some scientific flaws and many nutritionists would argue that its promise of losing 8-12 pounds in 14 days is a bit aggressive and may not be able to stand up against the test of time.

But if you've got a lot of willpower and don't mind knowing that you might be buying into another fad diet, then this might be just the diet for you.

See the Official South Beach Diet Website


View About South Beach Diet Slideshow

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The Cost of Losing 20 Pounds


About the South Beach Diet at WebMD

South Beach Diet Recipes

South Beach Diet at Wikipedi

South Beach Diet Review at Mayo Clinic

South Beach Diet Contact InformationSouth Beach Diet Contact Information
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