south beach diet

South beach diet: what you need to know

The south beach diet is a commercial diet plan that was created by a cardiologist by the name of Dr.  Arthur Agatson in the 1990s. This low-carb diet has remained popular since the launch of his book on the diet in 2003.


Even though the diet was intended to reduce the risk of heart disease. It soon became popular as a weight loss diet.


Although the diet is considered low-carb it’s not as strict as the ketogenic diet and doesn’t require you to count calories. So what exactly is the south beach diet?



What is the south beach diet

As Dr. Arthur did more and more research into heart disease. He noticed that patients on the Atkins diet were able to lose stubborn belly fat and reduce their weight easily.


In comparison,  patients on low-fat and high carb diets were struggling to do the same.


However, he was not a big fan of the Atkins diet because it’s high in saturated fat, something that he considered risky for heart disease. Also, he didn’t like the fact that high-fiber foods were restricted on the Atkins because they were high in carbs.


With this in mind, he set out to create a diet that prediabetic and diabetic patients who are overweight would use.


That was the idea behind the South Beach diet. He tried the diet himself and once he got positive results. He started recommending the diet to his patients who got similar results.


In this book “The south beach diet“, Dr. Arthur says the goal of the diet is to create a balance of the foods we eat that allow us to stay healthy and even lose weight.


This means you can expect to eat all three macronutrients, good carbs, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats on the diet.


What to eat on the diet


How does the south beach diet work?

The diet is divided into three phases that offer guidelines on what to eat and what not to eat.


The first phase of the diet is meant to kickstart weight loss, the second phase will help you achieve your target weight loss while the third phase is intended to help maintain that weight loss for life.



Phase 1

This is the first and most restrictive part of the south beach diet and it lasts for only 14-days.


This phase of the diet is meant to help you reduce cravings for sugary foods and refined carbs. To do this, the diet limits foods high in sugar, and refined carbs such as pasta, white bread, and all that good stuff.


Also, you’re not allowed any fruit or alcohol at this stage.


However it’s not all gloom, you’re allowed three meals in this phase with 2 mandatory snacks in between meals. Your meals will contain lean protein foods served with green leafy vegetables.


You will also enjoy a small serving of healthy fats and legumes in this phase of the diet.


Don’t expect any sweet snacks though, you still follow diet rules and healthy snacks will be full of protein or vegetables. The snacks are mandatory on the diet as you’re less likely to overeat.


You can expect to lose a lot of weight during this phase due to the restrictions. Expect to lose as much as 8- 10 pounds of body weight.



phase 2


Phase 2

The goal of the second phase is to help you achieve your target weight and starts on day 15.


This means that this phase has no definite timeline and should last as long as you need until you achieve your desired weight.


However, this is the phase you introduce carbs back into your diet. This phase allows you to eat limited amounts of fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and even drink alcohol.


This introduction will slow down your weight loss but that is the goal of the phase.


In this phase, you start by adding just one serving of carbs to one meal daily for one week and observe. You have to observe how your body responds to this change.


You should still be able to lose weight just as before and experience no negative effects. However, if you do experience negative effects such as weight gain, food cravings or unable to control portions.


You will need to revisit phase 1 and start again.


If you’re still able to lose weight, add another carb servings and then observe for changes. The goal is to gradually add 2-3 servings of carbs to your diet and still be able to lose weight.


This phase involves a lot of adjusting and observation until you find what works for you. You will stay in this phase until you achieve your target weight.



Phase 3

The last phase of the south beach diet is meant to be a maintenance stage that you can use to adapt to this new diet into your lifestyle.


Dr. Arthur recommends that users don’t view this stage as part of the diet but rather a new way to eat healthier and maintain their weight loss.


In this phase, you will use the food guidelines learned in phase 2.


The goal in this phase is to help you enjoy all food moderately. If you overindulge you might gain weight and be forced to start again with Phase 1.


Occasional treats are allowed and you can try out your favorite recipes but in moderation. It’s at this stage that you should also start doing regular light exercises.



Light exercises such as walking


How much exercise should you do on the diet?

Dr. Arthur recommends that you introduce some exercise from phase 3 once you’ve settled into your diet.


You can start with light exercises such as walking and increase your intensity with time. You can do some HIIT cardio exercises combined with weight training exercises for the best results.


Even though the diet doesn’t say just how much exercise you should do. Most experts recommend that you strive to do at least 150-minutes of exercises per week.


What can you eat on the diet?

The foods you can eat on the diet will depend on what phase you’re in. Here’s what you can expect.


Phase 1: Foods to Eat

  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Skinless turkeys and chicken
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Tofu
  • Low-fat cottage, ricotta or hard cheese
  • Not more than 2-cups low-fat dairy
  • Greek yogurt
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Not more than 1/2 cup of legumes daily
  • A 1-ounce serving of nuts and seeds daily
  • 2-tablespoon healthy oils per day
  • Condiments allowed
  • Tea or coffee


Phase 1: Foods you should avoid

  • Bread
  • Fatty cuts of meats and poultry
  • Rice
  • Coconut oil and butter
  • Pasta
  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Baked goods
  • Grains
  • Alcohol
  • Starchy vegetables: Corn, beets, yams,  squash, turnips, carrots, peas, potatoes
  • Maple syrup, honey, agave nectar
  • Whole milk


Phase 2 an 3: Foods to Eat

  • 1- 3 servings of fruit daily.
  • 1- 4 serving of whole grains daily
  • Dry wine or light beer- one serving daily
  • 1- 4 serving of starchy vegetables daily


Phase 2 and 3: Foods you should avoid

  • White Bread
  • Fatty cuts of meats and poultry
  • White Rice
  • Coconut oil and butter
  • White Pasta
  • Fruit juices
  • Baked goods
  • Starchy vegetables: Corn, beets, and potatoes
  • Maple syrup, honey, agave nectar
  • Whole milk
  • Dates, pineapples, watermelons, figs, and raisins


How much does the south beach diet cost


How much does the south beach diet cost?

If you prefer to work differently with the company, you can choose between different plans available.


The cheapest plan is the silver plan that costs $9.56/day while the most expensive is the platinum plan that costs 11.87/day.


The cost varies depending on what type of service you want. However, the most expensive plan will set you back $332 per month while the cheapest will cost $267-monthly



How easy is it to follow the south beach diet?

Compared to other low-carb diets such as ketogenic, South beach diet offers some flexibility and should be quite easy to follow with a  little discipline.


What’s more,  phase one of the diet is the most restrictive yet it provides you with mandatory healthy snacks that make the phase bearable.


Also, you don’t have to worry about getting in and out of ketosis, you will still be able to lose weight in phase 1 without having to severely count your calories.


Besides, it’s pretty easy to eat out with friends and family in restaurants as long as you stick to the guidelines of the phase you’re in. Another major plus is that since this is a commercial diet plan, you can get all your meals delivered.


This is a major time-saver for many people and the online program will also help provide you with useful resources to use. All in all, the diet is pretty easy to follow.



Is the south beach keto?

While the south beach diet is also low-carb it is not ketogenic.


There are major differences especially on the basic principles of each diet. While the keto diet drastically reduces your carbs to help you get into and maintain ketosis, it is not the same case with South beach.


Besides, the keto diet doesn’t allow you to get back to eating carbs as this would kick you out of ketosis. However, on the south beach diet, you eventually add carbs back to your diet in moderation.


Another major difference between the two diets is fruits and whole grains South beach diet allows you to eat high fiber legumes even in the most restrictive phase while keto completely cuts out grains in its approach.



you will lose weight


Benefits of the diet?

1. Weight loss

The south beach diet can help you lose weight fast without starving yourself.


This is the reason the diet has remained popular for almost a decade now. Most users of the diet love that it allows you to balance out macronutrients to maintain weight loss rather than burning certain food groups.


The weight loss on the diet is mostly due to the high-protein foods it includes in all meals. Eating high protein foods at all meals can help boost your metabolism. Besides, protein foods keep you full for longer.


Not to forget, the diet also allows dieters to eat high fiber foods and green leafy vegetables.


This means that all meals on the diet are very filling. This alone allows you to eat less even without having to count calories.



2. Heart-healthy

When Dr. Arthur came up with the diet, the goal was to help reduce the risk of heart disease


The diet encourages the regular consumption of heart-healthy foods such as nuts, seeds, eggs, and extra virgin oils. These foods have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.


3. Support

If you do choose to sign up with the diet online. You will be able to access meal delivery services. This can help you through the diet as all your meals are prepared for you in advance.


Also, you will find support from other people on the diet and also easy access to useful resources.


Cons of the diet?

1. Cost

Just like any other high-protein diets, buying quality cuts of lean meats can be expensive. On the diet, all meals should contain these lean cuts of protein that are quite pricey.


Also, if you choose to have meals delivered to you, the costs will quickly add up as meals for just one person are estimated to cost $335 per month.


This might not be so reliable for a whole family.


Final thoughts on south beach diet


Final thoughts on the south beach diet?

The south beach diet is a low-carb diet that was developed by a cardiologist in the 1990s.


Even though the diet was intended to help reduce the risk of heart disease it quickly grew in popularity as a weight loss diet.


The diet has often been described as low-carb, however, it focuses on balancing out all macronutrients to allow users to eat healthier, lose and maintain weight.


The diet is divided into three phases that users are required to use as they start.


As a commercial diet plan, users can get meals delivered to them at a monthly fee tailored to their needs on the diet. However, those who don’t want meals delivered can still use the diet according to the diet guidelines.


The diet is intended to be used as a lifestyle and not just one-time use for weight loss.



What you need to know about the south beach diet