South Beach Diet Review

What’s it Really All About? 8 Questions Answered.

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Overview: Where did the South Beach Diet come from and what is it exactly?

The South Beach Diet was developed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston in 2003. Similar to the Atkins diet, it is a low-carb diet designed to promote weight loss and heart health. Unlike the Atkins diet though, the goal of the South Beach diet is not to enter a state of metabolic ketosis. Rather, the goal is simply to keep blood sugar levels stable by eating primarily heart-healthy, weight loss-promoting fats and protein.

There are three main food categories within the South Beach Diet: healthy fats like those found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados; lean sources of protein such as seafood and poultry; and high fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates. The glycemic index refers to how much any given food spikes blood sugar levels. Because fiber-rich carbohydrates are digested more slowly than simple processed carbs, blood sugar levels remains more stable after consumption.

There are two ways to go about following the South Beach Diet. The first option is to buy the South Beach Diet book ($9.49 of Amazon) and to create your own self-guided diet plan. The second is to sign up for a South Beach Diet Plan online. By signing up for a online plan you take all the thinking out of dieting and get meals shipped directly to you. There are three plans: Silver ($10.71/day), Gold ($12.32/day), and Platinum ($13.39/day). The more you pay, the more variety you’ll get in your meals and snacks. Although this option is a little more pricey, it may be worth it for those who need more structure and don’t want to have to worry about shopping or preparing meals.

Whether you are preparing your own foods from home or consuming pre-prepared meals, you will be following the same basic diet plan. The South Beach Diet is split into three phases. The first phase, called Body Reboot, lasts for two weeks and is designed to help you lose between 8 and 13 pounds. This is quite a bold goal, but low-carb diets are generally effective at helping people drop large amounts of weight (much of which is water weight) very quickly. During this phase of the diet, you will eliminate almost all carbohydrates – including fruits, fruit juice, starchy veggies such as sweet potatoes, and all grains. Instead of carbs, you’ll be consuming lean protein, healthy fats, and high fiber low-carb veggies such as kale, broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes. If you purchased the South Beach Diet plan, you have the option to supplement the meals they send with your own food as long as you stick to South Beach Diet approved foods for this stage.

In the second phase, called Steady Weight Loss, you’ll start adding back in some of the foods you eliminated in Phase 1. You’ll start reincorporating complex carbs such as brown rice and low glycemic fruits such as berries. You are even allowed the occasional glass of alcohol in this phase. Phase 2 is designed to not be overly restrictive, but to still allow you to lose weight. If you’re on the purchased South Beach Diet plan (which relies primarily on pre-prepared meals), you have the option to add in two “DIY meals.” These

The South Beach Diet was developed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston in 2003. Similar to the Atkins diet, it is a low-carb diet designed to promote weight loss and heart health. Unlike the Atkins diet though, the goal of the South Beach diet is not to enter a state of metabolic ketosis. Rather, the goal is simply to keep blood sugar levels stable by eating primarily heart-healthy, weight loss-promoting fats and protein.

There are three main food categories within the South Beach Diet: healthy fats like those found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados; lean sources of protein such as seafood and poultry; and high fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates. The glycemic index refers to how much any given food spikes blood sugar levels. Because fiber-rich carbohydrates are digested more slowly than simple processed carbs, blood sugar levels remains more stable after consumption.

There are two ways to go about following the South Beach Diet. The first option is to buy the South Beach Diet book ($9.49 of Amazon) and to create your own self-guided diet plan. The second is to sign up for a South Beach Diet Plan online. By signing up for a online plan you take all the thinking out of dieting and get meals shipped directly to you. There are three plans: Silver ($10.71/day), Gold ($12.32/day), and Platinum ($13.39/day). The more you pay, the more variety you’ll get in your meals and snacks. Although this option is a little more pricey, it may be worth it for those who need more structure and don’t want to have to worry about shopping or preparing meals.

Whether you are preparing your own foods from home or consuming pre-prepared meals, you will be following the same basic diet plan. The South Beach Diet is split into three phases. The first phase, called Body Reboot, lasts for two weeks and is designed to help you lose between 8 and 13 pounds. This is quite a bold goal, but low-carb diets are generally effective at helping people drop large amounts of weight (much of which is water weight) very quickly. During this phase of the diet, you will eliminate almost all carbohydrates – including fruits, fruit juice, starchy veggies such as sweet potatoes, and all grains. Instead of carbs, you’ll be consuming lean protein, healthy fats, and high fiber low-carb veggies such as kale, broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes. If you purchased the South Beach Diet plan, you have the option to supplement the meals they send with your own food as long as you stick to South Beach Diet approved foods for this stage.

In the second phase, called Steady Weight Loss, you’ll start adding back in some of the foods you eliminated in Phase 1. You’ll start reincorporating complex carbs such as brown rice and low glycemic fruits such as berries. You are even allowed the occasional glass of alcohol in this phase. Phase 2 is designed to not be overly restrictive, but to still allow you to lose weight. If you’re on the purchased South Beach Diet plan (which relies primarily on pre-prepared meals), you have the option to add in two “DIY meals.” These meals should still be based around the South Beach Diet allowed food list, but you have the option of cooking your own foods or going out to eat. You will stay in Phase 2 as long as it takes to reach your goal weight. Again, throughout the duration of the second phase, you have the option of supplementing the South Beach Diet meals with your own snacks purchased from the grocery store, as long as you stick to foods that are approved for this phase.

The third phase is called the Maintenance Phase. No foods are off limits, but you are encouraged to eat primarily South Beach Diet approved foods and to use portion control. Additionally, you can continue to order South Beach Diet approved snacks and meals a la carte.

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Program details:

Exercise: The South Beach diet recommends low intensity exercise such as walking or hiking during Phase 1–when your carbohydrate intake is most limited and your energy levels will probably be a little lower. After Phase 1, they recommend high intensity exercise such as running, cycling, weightlifting, and HIIT (high intensity interval training). High intensity exercise is proven to be most effective for weight loss, and during phases 2 and 3, you will have enough carbs in your diet to support the energy demands of these activities.
Supplements: The South Beach diet is designed to meet all of the body’s basic nutritional requirements, so dietary supplements aren’t necessary. Arthur Agatston, the founder of the South Beach Diet, does suggest that all people take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement though. He does this because omega-3s have been shown to help lower blood triglyceride levels and protect against heart disease, but they are hard to obtain in the diet. The only natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids are certain fish (such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines), and certain algae such as algal.
Support: There is limited support available to those on the South Beach Diet, but there are weight loss counselors that can be contacted via phone call, email, or online chat. These counselors can answer specific diet-related questions and provide tips on meal planning, dining out, grocery shopping, and exercise.
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Is there research supporting the South Beach Diet?

Although there is extensive research on low-carb diets, there is limited research on specifically the South Beach Diet. Below are two examples of studies that have been conducted:

In 2014, a study was published in the National Archives of Internal Medicine that reviewed the South Beach Diet, comparing its effect on weight loss and blood lipid levels to the diet plan laid out by the National Cholesterol Education Program. The National Cholesterol Education Program suggests replacing saturated fat and cholesterol with carbohydrates, whereas the South Beach Diet (which for the purposes of this study was termed the MLC – Modified Low Carbohydrate Diet), suggests replacing saturated fat and cholesterol with monounsaturated fats and protein. The study found that the South Beach Diet was more effective for weight loss, but that the two diets had the same effect on blood lipid levels.

In 2014, a study was also published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes that reviewed existing research on the South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, and Zone diet. Investigators found that research has indicated that all four diets are effective in achieving significant weight loss within a 12 month period, but that Atkins and the Weight Watchers dieters were generally more likely to regain weight within the second year. This suggests that, ultimately, dieters should choose the plan that they think will accommodate their current lifestyle the most. If the South Beach Diet seems like it’s a reasonable option for you, then you should try it out.

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Sample Diet Plan (Phase 2 and 3 - Women):

The diet for men contains a few more calories each day.

Breakfast
1 large egg ½ avocado
Snack
½ cup full fat greek yogurt
Lunch
2 ounces deli turkey
1 Tbsp olive oil based mayo
1 slice whole grain bread
Snack
1 medium orange
Dinner
3 ounces pork tenderloin
½ cup olives
½ cup cooked whole wheat pasta
Desert
2 squares 85% dark chocolate
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Praise, Critiques, and Cautions

Praise

In terms of low-carb diets, the South Beach Diet provides a lot of freedom. Only for the first two weeks are you significantly limiting your carbohydrate intake. Additionally, since the goal isn’t to enter ketosis, as is the case with some low-carb diets like the Atkins Diet and the newly popular Keto Diet, you don’t have to suffer through the two-week transition into metabolic ketosis, which can be quite uncomfortable. Furthermore, because South Beach also provides dieters with the option of getting most or all of their meals shipped to them, it simplifies the dieting process. Figuring out what low-carb meals should look like is made simple when someone is preparing the meals for you. By utilizing their delivery service at first, you can get an understanding of what your plate should look like before you start trying to prepare meals for yourself. And finally, research has demonstrated that diets focusing on vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of whole grains are beneficial for health.

EDITS OF DIET REVIEW PAGES: FROM WEBSITE:

In the first two phases, the South Beach Diet is very simple: you pick from a list of approved foods and meals and that’s it—no grocery shopping, planning, or prepping. This can be especially helpful as you focus on modifying your eating patterns and tuning in to how your body feels when you add carbohydrates back into your diet., Additionally, studies have found that eating patterns that focus on vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of whole grain carbs can have beneficial health outcomes.

Critiques

The South Beach Diet is likely to lead to weight loss initially, but you may find that your progress quickly plateaus as you increase your carbohydrate intake. Additionally, plans can be quite costly depending on how much food you purchase from them and which plan you choose. And, because the diet relies heavily on meat, poultry, and seafood, the cost of food can remain quite high when you start cooking for yourself.

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Summary: Why is this NOT a top diet?

The South Beach Diet makes bold claims in regards to the amount of weight loss it promises, but there is limited research backing up these claims and little research in general on the South Beach Diet. Additionally, some experts find that its restrictiveness can make it too difficult for some dieters to stick to.

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Using MealEnders to support you on the South Beach Diet

As with most diets, the South Beach Diet limits sweets and treats. MealEnders can help you satisfy and move on from your sweets cravings without loading up on carbs. One MealEnder contains only 2 carbs.

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How do I learn more about the South Beach Diet?

The best place to go is their website.

*Individual Results May Vary