The South Beach Diet was developed in the early 2000’s by cardiologist Arthur Agatston, MD, director of the Mount Sinai Cardiac Prevention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. It was designed as an alternative to both low-fat and low-carb diets. Dr. Agatston’s original purpose for the diet was to prevent heart disease in his own patients, but word of the diet spread quickly, and it gained enormous popularity as a means to lose weight.
What Is the South Beach Diet?
The South Beach Diet is basically a “diet meal delivery service”. Unlike Home Chef, Hello Fresh, etc. which mainly focus on meal delivery services, the South Beach Diet combines the ease of a meal delivery service with a weight loss regimen. While there are other popular diet meal delivery services available, like Nutrisystem and Medifast, the South Beach Diet approach is different. They’ve figured out a way for their users to lose the most amount of weight, in the quickest time possible, without crossing an unhealthy threshold.
There is even a vegetarian version of the popular diet, as the original version calls for a good deal of protein. The vegetarian version allows for such protein substitutions as beans, milk products, eggs, tofu and meat substitutes like Tempeh, soy and veggie burgers.
How can the South Beach Diet Help You?
The South Beach Diet can help you lose weight simply and easily. There are no calories to count, no points to keep track of, no trends to follow. You’ll experience quick weight loss without the fear of high cholesterol or increased risk of heart disease because the diet focuses on healthy fats and lean meats.
The diet helps keep you feeling full, so you won’t overeat. This is because you fill up on the right kinds of food, not processed foods or sugars. The South Beach Diet restricts both refined and highly processed carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies. These are all foods which are quickly digested and they make you feel hungry faster.
What Does the South Beach Diet Include?
The South Beach diet encourages lots of snacking, so dieters will not go hungry. The diet consists of stages.
The first stage is two weeks long and is an induction phase. In this stage, dieters are able to eat normal meals of chicken, beef, turkey, fish, or shellfish and lots of vegetables.
You can also eat eggs, cheese, nuts, and garden salads, but can only use 100% olive oil for their salad dressing. There are three well-balanced meals each day and a snack between breakfast and lunch, and a snack between lunch and dinner.
In this first phase, dieters cut out all alcohol, sugary sweets, potatoes, fruit, bread (all baked goods), cereal, rice, pasta, beets, carrots, and corn.
The second phase is longer than the first, as it lasts until dieters reach their goal weights. In the second phase, some of the foods that were excluded in the first phase are added back in, but only in moderation. If a dieter wants chocolate cake, they are encouraged to have it—but just a bite. The theory behind the diet says this is enough to satisfy your cravings, so you will not need to eat the whole piece.
The final stage is the ‘Diet for Life.’ You will eat normal foods in normal portions, following basic guidelines put into place by the diet. The diet revolves around the idea of changing your body’s chemistry so that by the final phase, you will not crave the wrong foods. During this stage, the diet also says that if you find yourself gaining weight, you should return to phases one and then two, again.
South Beach Diet Recipes & Foods
Before we jump to South Beach Diet recipes and foods, there are a few things worth noting.
Note: You will be eating up to 6 times a day which includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and 3 homemade snacks. You must provide your own snacks and sides from the South Beach Diet grocery list of approved foods.
You can view South Beach Diet Food menu here (These are the food that is provided to you by South Beach)
You can also add some of your own fresh grocery foods – these can be used as side dishes to the main entrees and for your homemade snacks.
Phase 1 Foods (Grocery List for Sides & Snacks) Part: 1
Phase 1 Foods (Grocery List for Sides & Snacks) Part: 2
Phase 1 Foods (Grocery List for Sides & Snacks) & (Foods Not Allowed) Part: 3
Phase 2 Food Details:
During Phase 2, you will be eating 5 days worth of meals that are supplied by the South Beach Diet with 2 practice days. You will need to add/supply your own snacks and side dishes from the South Beach Diet approve grocery list just like in Phase 1.
Also, in Phase 2, you’ll start making meals on your own with the help of South Beach Diet recipes. Their dedicated page of recipes is extremely helpful and you have the option of filtering by choices. All recipes include ingredients, directions, nutrition facts, etc.
During your 2 practice days, you’re allowed to eat these Foods and Amounts for 3 Meals and 3 Snacks:
• 3 lean protein servings (5 for men)
• 3 healthy-fat servings
• 5 vegetable servings (6 for men)
• 2 fruit servings
• 2 good-carbohydrate servings
Phase 2 Foods (Grocery List) Part: 1
Phase 2 Foods (Grocery List) & (Foods Not Allowed) Part: 2
Does the South Beach Diet Really Work?
Cindy Moore, RD, Director of Nutrition Therapy at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, stated that the South Beach Diet “…really does meet several criteria for a health-promoting diet” and that “…it appears to be scientifically based.” She also mentions that it’s rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein, and most importantly, it doesn’t leave out any major food groups.
Experts also warn, though, that the rapid weight loss in the first phase is actually water weight. This rapid loss of water weight can actually set your body off balance, so it may be good to work with a nutritionist during the first phases of the diet.
To date, millions of people have purchased the South Beach Diet plan, and the majority of users say it’s working for them.
Who Is the South Beach Diet For?
This diet is very good for those who may think they have a food allergy, for instance, an allergy to gluten. By taking foods out, and then adding them back in one by one, you will see which foods react negatively with your body, and therefore you can cut them out completely.
The diet is also very good for anyone looking for a long-term change, who wants to learn how to gradually make these changes.
The diet is also good for anyone who is looking for a diet that will allow them to see changes in their body right away, as the diet does invoke change very quickly.
What are the Pros and Cons of the South Beach Diet?
One of the biggest advantages of following the South Beach Diet is the fact that it helps you make better lifestyle choices. These are the choices that will lead to healthy weight loss, and that will help you maintain that same weight loss over time.
Because the diet is a balanced one, you’ll eat better than you probably ever have before. The diet includes lean meats, healthy fats and nutrient-dense sources of ‘good’ carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables.
When you follow the plan, you’ll learn how to eat right on your own. You’ll learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats and refined and unrefined carbs. You’ll become educated enough to make good choices when you go out to eat and go grocery shopping.
And, with because it is a delivery service, there is really no cooking or prep work involved with South Beach Diet meals. Most of their entrees can be prepared in the microwave or on the stovetop and take just 3 to 5 minutes to get ready. However, this can be a con as well because most of South Beach Diet meals come in pre-prepared frozen boxes which might sacrifice the flavor/taste profile of the meal. (South Beach Diet does allow you a few days out of the week to prepare and cook your own meals using their exclusive recipes).
Understand, the majority of “diet” meal delivery services have the issue of their meals not tasting like restaurant quality. This is the sacrifice you’ll have to make when you taking the approach of diet and meal delivery. If this may be an issue, you may want to look at strictly meal delivery services whereas the meal may be of restaurant quality due to the fact that their market is really not geared for consumers looking for weight loss but those that are looking for food variety; busy moms and dads and those that really don’t like to or know how to cook.
One of the drawbacks of the diet is phase one. It has dieters excluding all fruit from their diets, even though fruit is essential to any healthy eating plan. Fruit isn’t a bad carb, it contains a great deal of fiber which helps keep you satiated and it supplies us with essential vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, the prepackaged South Beach Diet meals don’t come with fresh veggies or fruits. You’ll need to supply your own. You will also need to add/supply your sides and snacks in-between meals. Note: If you opt-in to receive snacks from South Beach Diet, then this won’t be a big issue but you will still need to provide your sides.
And while it’s not a huge drawback, you will receive all of your food items from South Beach Diet in one shipment every 4 weeks. It can be an issue when you are trying to store a month’s worth of prepared frozen food in your freezer. It would be nice to see an option to receive your meals bi-weekly or even weekly.
Another con with South Beach Diet is with their auto delivery cancellation policy. If you try to cancel prior to paying for your second shipment, South Beach Diet will charge $125 for the auto-delivery discount you received on your first shipment. However, you may cancel any time after the second shipment with no charge whatsoever
How Much Does South Beach Diet Plan Cost?
The diet plan can be very affordable. You can purchase a plan with or without snacks; without snacks, the plan costs about $10 a day. The meals are delivered right to your door, four weeks at a time. Shipping is free, and the meals are delivered based on the needs of the phase you’re in. There’s no stressing over what to eat, the meals are ready to go when they arrive.
Where Can I Purchase the South Beach Diet?
You can order at the official South Beach Diet website here. When you visit SouthBeachDiet.com, you can choose auto delivery and meals will be sent to you every four weeks. The meals will be specific to your needs, which will change by phase. You can choose to add snacks for an extra fee, and shipping is always free.
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What Do You Think?
Have you tried the South Beach Diet? Let us know. Share your South Beach Diet reviews, success stories, challenges, and tips in the comments below!