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South Beach Diet

South Beach Diet Review (UPDATED 2021): 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.

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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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(Page 3 of 8, 148 total comments)


A real quick sucess story. A coworker and I started the plan in Febuary, 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.

posted Oct 21st, 2010 12:36 am



I'm back to let everyone know that the South Beach Diet is wonderful!! I may be losing slower than most people, but I am so glad the scale is going in the other direction. My advise to you is, don't give up, this diet takes time and you can lose weight with out having those usual cravings that you can experience on other diets. I am now down 16 lbs from July 12th to October 19th and I am still losing. South Beach is a good way of eating, don't let anyone tell you that it is not healthy, they just don't know.

posted Oct 20th, 2010 1:30 am



For the one who said she didn't lose any weight the 1 or 2nd day and was excercising 2 &1/2 hours a day. No wonder, you're excercising so much, you're building more muscle than fat you're losing. Ease up, drink more water, and leave me wondering who has time to excercise so much.

posted Oct 18th, 2010 11:30 am



As far as those who say the recipes are expensive and therefore don't like the diet, I'm someone on the southbeach diet who hasn't done a single recipe fromt the book, I just modify my own recipes using phase 1 or 2 foods. So far I've lost 12 pounds in 6 weeks. Amazing, coming from someone 'unable' to lose weight before.
The diet is simple, just don't make it complicated. Modify your own recipes. My sister (who introduced me to the south beach diet) makes her family lasagne now using thin sliced zucchini instead of lasagne noodles, (all other ingredients the same). They love it!

posted Oct 18th, 2010 11:15 am



Day 11 of the diet. Lost 9 pounds, but better than that, I feel more energetic and am not craving foods. I used to eat a meal, and feel the desire to eat again in a very short time. Not so now. I need to get healthy, and that means for me to be eating healthy. This is it.

posted Oct 17th, 2010 4:17 am



I'd say if you like being constipated you should go on this diet. If not, find another diet.

posted Oct 13th, 2010 2:01 pm



posted Oct 8th, 2010 3:41 am



I'm back to give everyone an update of my weightloss. So far since 7/12/10, I have lost 14lbs, averaging 3lbs per month. I know this a little slow, but I am still losing. I'm glad that I did not give up on the South Beach Diet! Please don't give up. This diet really works! Please don't get discouraged. The weight will come off, everyone loses at their own pace, some quicker than others.

posted Oct 5th, 2010 9:08 pm



This is the best diet I have ever tried. I'm never hungry. I can eat almost all the foods that I like. I don't need to pay any fees. I can eat normal fresh food. My weightloss has been pretty slow, but I am still losing, three lbs per month. So far I am encouraged and not discouraged. Thank you South Beach Diet!

posted Oct 5th, 2010 8:56 pm

Stephen Carr


I have been trying for two days to get online or get help and NOTHING seems to be possible usining Internet explorer or Mozilla

posted Oct 1st, 2010 3:19 pm


I'm returning back to let everyone know that I have lost 11 lbs in 9 weeks and that I am glad that I did not give up on the South Beach Diet. I find that this diet is pretty easy, I have no cravings for baked goods and I can eat normal food. After my third week on South Beach, I added Apples and Ezekiel Bread. I feel so much better now after 9 weeks, I have more energy and I know I can stay on this diet for what ever time it takes to lose 59 more lbs. Please don't give up, I know some people lose alot quicker than others. I'll check back on October 1st.

posted Sep 14th, 2010 12:08 am



I started this diet last week and absolutely love it. I use to be at the appropriate weight for my height, but then during the summer I didn't keep up with the calories/fat/carbs and took vacations and ate out a whole lot more than I normally would. So, I gained about 15 pounds. I got the cookbook and started the diet and so far lost 3 pounds, which is really encouraging for the first week. I also started back at going to the gym (something else I slacked off on this summer) I have about 12 pounds to go. I know I got it with this diet. =)

posted Aug 21st, 2010 5:16 pm



I've always been up and down with my weight. Family Reunion came around this year and I had to follow a diet plan I knew would shed the pounds. South Beach. I've followed this plan three years ago when I lost 50lbs. I must agree with everyone that the foods are expensive...but the weight feels good coming off. However, I started off weighing 198lbs before the reunion. In a month time I dropped down to 175lbs. It feels great. *Another twenty-five more pounds to go. Thank you South Beach Diet,!.

posted Aug 13th, 2010 1:07 pm


So i started the SBD and today is day 3!!! its actually really hard not to eat the bad food that i love especially when im at work. Everyone at my work loves to go out for lunch and eat pasta, pizza and so on. But there has not been any change in my weight yet.... hopefully i will see a change by day 7. I am doing this because i am getting married in 2 months and im giving it one last go!. Cross your fingers for me people!!! any advice?!?!?

posted Aug 13th, 2010 12:13 pm



I've tried the South Beach diet in the past and lost 30 lbs over a three month period. I almost have given up on losing weight, but I decided to try the South Beach diet again. I started the South Beach on July 12th and have only lost 5 lbs. I know carbs are not good for women over 50, they seem to trigger appetite and somehow I retain water. I'm going to stick with the South Beach diet and not give up, even though it promises that you will lose 8-13 pounds in the first two weeks. I know that promise came through when I was younger. The 5 lbs weight loss vs 13 lbs weight loss, shows me what I am up against. I am grateful to even lose 5 lbs and not gain 5 lbs. I will check back in two weeks to give an update.

posted Jul 22nd, 2010 10:43 am



I've lost two stone (13lbs in the first ten days), the weight loss is great but the best part is that I have not felt hungry since day one and my energy levels are amazing. I lead a busy 'city' lifestyle and travel frequently, the increase in energy levels have saved both my sanity and schedule!! I also genuinely do not crave carbs or sugar anymore. fantastic diet, a little will power in the early stages is required though!

posted Jul 4th, 2010 10:41 am

Margaret Forst


The foods on the diet are very expensive. The recipes are for 4 persons. As an individual everything must be reduced to feed one person. I bought the book but find it difficult to use because each day of phase 1 calls for different foods and small amounts of items cannot be purchased. If you work and need to prepare the foods it takes too long. I am unhappy with the diet!

posted Jun 14th, 2010 8:03 am

Bob Pure


Two weeks in I lost 16 pounds and am already noticeably sleeker. Belt moved in two notches. Collar now comfortable with a tie on. Brilliant.

I have been a carb junkie but I am not really missing them now 18 days into this diet.

I am ramping up an exercise regime starting today , I feel confident in this now I have lost some initial weight. I am very happy with this diet so far !

posted May 25th, 2010 1:21 am



South Beach is not a FAD diet nor is it a low carb diet. While there may be discussion on how valid the glycemic index is in weight reduction, I have found in avoiding high glycemic foods I have been able to stop cravings and hunger generated by sugar spikes.

I have just celebrated my 3rd year on South Beach and it has helped me change my lifestyle into choosing foods that are better for me. I was suffering angina, High blood pressure and low energy. All this things have disappeared due to my new lifestyle.

The South Beach Supercharged book does indeed have a huge exercise componant in it and acknowledges that exercise as a daily lifestyle is equally beneficial, not only in burning calories but in toning core muscles.

The Phased approach also helps one understand that falling off the wagon one meal or one day is not failure and lack of willpower. It is life. Things happen. What is important is to have a plan that will work during all those unexpected stressors.

There are always those looking for a quick fix but if you seek support on any of the South Beach website forums they will tell you to expect 1-2 Lbs loss per week. The first phase may be the largest loss in a week l, but much of that is usually water loss.

What I have also found interesting is that the principals of the South Beach Diet are basic principals that folks now from Dr. Oz to Bob Green are expousing. It is becomming the new language of healthful dieting designed for long term results.

posted May 18th, 2010 12:22 pm


I've been following the South Beach strategy for 7 months now and have lost 44 pounds. More importantly to me, my blood sugar is now normal. I have cut all but whole grains from my diet, do not eat sugar and rely on protein, whole grains, fruit and veges. I feel great and healthier than I have in years. I also exercise doing lap swimming most days of the week.

I think SB is a sound and healthy eating plan that I know I can stick with for life. And thanks to SB, that life will be healthier and hopefully, longer. :-)<

posted May 17th, 2010 9:23 am


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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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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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About the South Beach Diet at WebMD

South Beach Diet Recipes

South Beach Diet at Wikipedi

South Beach Diet Review at Mayo Clinic

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