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South Beach Diet

South Beach Diet Review: Does it Work?

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.

EDITOR’S TIP: Combine this diet with a proven meal replacement such as 18 Shake for better results.

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: gettingstarted@southbeachdiet.com

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.

How Does South Beach Diet Compare?
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> Leave Feedback

User Feedback

(Page 7 of 7, 137 total comments)

justlil'oleme

A NEW SB BOOK? Fantastic! I have all of them. They are kinda like a diet BIBLE....lol ! Looking forward to the new book with the exercises and all. What I like about the South Beach Diet Books...everytime I read them..I found something new...I missed. Strange Huh ? Thanks Dr. Agatson for making me realize I needed to start eating Heathier. YOU are an inspiration to everyone! Thanks again!


Anonymous

I think this is is last book...which is available at Amazon. The South Beach Heart Program: The 4-Step Plan that Can Save Your Life (Hardcover) Is there another one??


Anonymous

I have been on SBD for 8 months and have lost 50 lbs., halfway to my goal weight. It's a great, healthy plan. You do not have to eat any of their products or join the online service. Get the book from the library and find one of the free online support groups, if you want. SB actually advises against eating prepared, "convenience" foods. You can have 2 - 3 servings of fruit/day after Phase I. The only things you can't have are refined sugars and carbs. I have never been able to lose weight before and I have had no problem sticking to this plan. No hunger, just great food. There is not a prescribed exercise plan, but it is advised to do the exercise of your choice. There is an updated book coming out in a couple of months and I hear exercise will be part of it.


kimbo

Why is this Even Called a diet? I agree the first Phase is a little restrictive but only for two weeks. The second Phase ..You start adding some of the restricted food back into your diet. When you lose the weight you want...then you start Phase III this is how you eat for the rest of your life. It really is NOT all that hard. With a little discilpine..you can accomplish your goals. I know I FEEL so much better eating this way. South Beach is just a Healthier way of Eating. I don't consider it a diet at all. When you hear the word diet..dosen't it make you want to run away? I give South Beach a thumbs up. Go ahead and try it...I dare ya!


Kimmi

On Jan 2006 I went on the South Beach Diet and in the first two weeks I lost 10 pounds. In 6 months I went from 153 to 126 and maintained my weight until September 2007. I quit smoking an have gained 15 pounds back. So it Back to the Beach...South Beach that is....WORKS for me! Thanks Dr, Agatston !


Jamie

I remember eating some of the South Beach diet products and everytime I would eat their snack bars, I would be sick to my stomach. That's when I gave up that diet. It just wasn't agreeing with my stomach and I ain't going to be sticking to a diet where I feel sick all the time.


Anonymous

You can't eat just the bars. As previously stated it is about a lifestyle change. It is about eating healthy portions and foods. All the foods that you are eating are fresh and healthy. I use the meals for emergencies. Most of the pre-packaged foods are for Phase 2 and 3. A lot of the recipes can be made in advance and frozen for later. I have a very busy lifestyle and this is one diet that I have been able to stick too.


SouthBeachDieter

South Beach Diet Rocks ! If you don't lose on this diet...than there is NO HOPE for you. Actually I really don't consider this a diet...just a healthier way of eating. South Beach you gotta love it!


Anonymous

ISounds to me like you never gave the diet a chance. The diet does not require you to eat their bars . I love the SB diet!


Anonymous

That's the whole point..you're not supposed to "go off it". It teaches you a way of eating for the rest of your life. I have never been able to lose weight and I lost 8 lbs in the first two weeks. It's tricky re-introducing the carbs but you just need to monitor yourself. I've now lost 12 lbs and I feel great!


vick

Exactly the south beach diet is a lifestyle change not a quick fix.


kstov

I did the south beach diet to lose weight for my wedding day. I did it! 25lbs gone in a couple of months. The bad part...2 years later I weigh more now than I did before! as soon as you get off it, you gain it all back!


Katiedid

I konw that fruits have sugars and those sugars convert to fat or something. Since they make you get rid of all the sugars then fruit has to go. :( I love fruit!


DanaBoyd

Come to the beach! I've lost five pounds and starting week two of phase one. Best of all I don't feel hungry! I give up on so many diets because I just WANT TO EAT! Not this time. And you don't give up fruit completely, you get to start eating it again in phase two. Good luck!


MaryLevine

No fruit for 2 weeks, why does that have to be eliminated, I thought fruit was healty....didn't read the book can someone tell me what the south beach diet says about it?


Dawn

South Beach is a great way to kick start healthy living. I tried it, and lost 4 lbs for starters. It's a great way to help cut back on unnecessary carbs and stratches that you can live without.


SaraWelch

The good 'ol South Beach diet! I love this diet and definitely recommend the book but I am not sure about the online program. Sounds cool though. Anyone else try it?



 

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QUICK 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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BACKGROUND

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.

PRO
  • 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
CON
  • 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
USER REVIEWS

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

Leave your own review and rating.

SOUTH BEACH DIET VIDEOS

Other videos

South Beach YouTube Channel

South Beach Diet Meal Plan

South Beach Diet Workout

DIET and NUTRITION

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
EXERCISE

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

SOUTH BEACH DIET FAQ

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

CONCLUSION

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

SOUTH BEACH DIET SLIDESHOWS

View About South Beach Diet Slideshow

7 Weight Loss Plans Fit for Fall

The Cost of Losing 20 Pounds

SOUTH BEACH DIET RESOURCES

About the South Beach Diet at WebMD

South Beach Diet Recipes

South Beach Diet at Wikipedi

South Beach Diet Review at Mayo Clinic

South Beach Diet Contact Information
Common Misspellings

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Related Diets: Atkins Diet, Atkins Advantage, South Beach Diet Supercharged, Low-Carb Diet, Sugar Busters!

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