What is the South Beach Diet?
On the South Beach Diet, there are good carbs and fats, and there are unhealthy carbs and fats. The key to weight loss is choosing the best of each. That means lots of nonstarchy vegetables, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy, protein like chicken and turkey, whole grains and nuts. South Beach is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and healthy fats than the typical American diet.
South Beach doesn’t categorically eliminate all carbs. The ones you do eat are low on the glycemic index, a ranking of how carbs affect blood glucose. Low-GI carbs are said to keep your blood sugar and metabolism steady – and you feeling fuller longer – while high-GI “unhealthy” carbs do the opposite.
What kind of fat you’re getting counts, too. Say goodbye to unhealthy trans fats and omega-6 vegetable oils. Healthier monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocado, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish are on the menu, as well as saturated fats from full-fat dairy and plant-based sources like coconut.
Weight loss without hunger or deprivation is the goal on South Beach, along with promoting heart health.
- Yes to mindful snacking
- No calorie counting
- Could seem awfully restrictive at first
- Lots of time prepping and cooking meals
South Beach Diet is Ranked:
- No.6 diet in Best Commercial Diet Plans (Tie)
- No.8 diet in Best Weight-Loss Diets (Tie)
- No.8 diet in Best Diets for Diabetics (Tie)
- No.8 diet in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (Tie)
- No.8 diet in Easiest Diets to Follow (Tie)
How does South Beach Diet work?
The South Beach Diet is now a home-delivery program broken into two phases. There are no counting calories – the bulk of your food shows up at your door. You’ll receive three meals a day, plus snacks if you’ve ordered the “tier 2” program. The diet lasts as long as you want – it depends on your weight-loss goal.
Phase one is the weight-loss phase. You will stay in this phase until you reach your desired weight-loss goal or you want more flexibility in your food choices. In phase one, you will limit daily net carbs to 50 grams. You’ll include high-quality protein (such as fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, and soy) and nonstarchy vegetables. You may include very small quantities of beans and legumes and extremely small amounts of high-fiber fruits like berries and high-protein whole grains like quinoa.
You will jumpstart phase one with a “Body Reboot,” lasting one week and including three meals and three snacks each day. On most days, you will include South Beach Diet prepared breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and two snacks (a bar and a shake.) Twice each week, you will include two DIY meals, which can be cooked at home or eaten out. In addition to South Beach Diet prepared foods, you’ll need to purchase some of your own fresh grocery foods to complete the plan. After the Body Reboot week, you will continue on to phase one. Lower-carb alcohol, such as a glass of dry red wine, is OK, but it should be limited to no more than two servings a week.
Phase two, the maintenance phase, is your lifelong healthy way to eat. You’ll begin to reintroduce more “good carbs,” such as whole grains, low-sugar fruits and starchy vegetables. You’ll also begin to increase your daily net carbs with a goal between 75 and 100 grams per day. You will keep up a high protein intake, representing at least 25% of your daily calories, to maintain muscle mass. Although no food is off-limits, some individuals – such as people who are insulin-resistant or postmenopausal women – may have more success by continuing to limit their carbs. During this phase, you can continue ordering South Beach products a la carte, and you’re encouraged to use portion-control containers and the program guide to transition to this stage.
South Beach is launching a keto-friendly diet approach planned for late 2019. The South Beach Keto Diet Friendly plan includes elements of the ketogenic diet – low carbs and high fat – but does not require you to be as strict in limiting your carbohydrate intake, allowing for more variety in the diet. The South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly approach does not require you to be or stay in ketosis to see the weight-loss benefits.
How much does South Beach Diet cost?
The plan costs around $339.99 or about $12.33 per day on the program. A la carte items start at $2.49. You’ll have to budget more, too, to add in fresh items; the company supplies its ham and vegetable frittata, for instance, but you supply the avocado slices.
Will South Beach Diet help you lose weight?
What little research there is on South Beach does suggest it’s an effective way to lose weight, at least in the short term. But whether it keeps the weight off long-term is unproven. Plus, no published research exists on the new delivery plan.
How easy is South Beach Diet to follow?
The South Beach Diet is ranked #8 in the Easiest Diets to Follow
South Beach’s most restrictive phase calls for extremely limiting most food and grains. Even the more liberal phase two calls for limiting foods like bagels, white bread, cookies, ice cream, honey, and jam. The same goes for pineapple, watermelon and raisins, permitted only once in a while. (These fruits are high in sugar.) While you don’t need to go into ketosis to see benefits, you will need to keep track of your net carbs each day to stay with your daily goal of 50 grams (phase one) or 100 grams (phase two). You may need to muster up your willpower to stick to the program.
- Since becoming a meal delivery program, South Beach is more convenient but still leaves you with a grocery list. Alcohol is allowable but limited to low-carb choices and no more than two drinks a week. Restaurant meals are doable, provided you stick to the rules. The company’s online resources may be helpful.
- South Beach provides meal plans and recipes with ingredient lists, net carb counts, and nutritional facts like calories and protein. Recipes can also be found on the company’s website, The Palm.
- Restaurants and dinners with friends are doable on South Beach Diet, even in phase one – if you can stick to the guidelines. Skip the bread during phase one, for example, but enjoy a whole-grain roll in later phases. An all-phase-friendly tip: Order soup as a first course, then have a salad and choose lean protein for your entree. That way you’ll already be feeling full by the time your main dish arrives, making you less likely to splurge on dessert. Grilled fish, turkey, and filet mignon are all smart choices.
- The South Beach Diet meal delivery is a timesaver, and once you’re cooking more for yourself you can turn online for recipes and planning advice. South Beach Diet offers meal plans including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on its website. All are free of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors from synthetic sources.
- Online members can track meals, weight, and diet goals with the South Beach Diet app. You can chat with a counselor seven days a week online or via email, or by phone from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
- Hunger shouldn’t be a problem with this diet. South Beach encourages mindful and strategic snacking. While the meal plan includes three meals and three snacks each day, if you don’t want to include snacks in your program, you have the flexibility to instead have three larger daily meals. Unlike stricter ketogenic diets, you’ll also be eating foods that are fiber-packed, which promote fullness.
- Even in phase one, there’s room for tasty items like chicken broccoli and cauliflower rice, Italian sausage and peppers, and a bar of dark chocolate.
How much should you exercise on South Beach Diet?
South Beach encourages light exercise like walking as you adjust to the program. Later on, it’s recommended to ramp up your workouts by trying high-intensity exercise and resistance training to help maintain muscle mass.