South Beach Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

south-beach-dietThe South Beach Diet plan was originally created by cardiologist Dr Arthur Agatston based at Mount Sinai Hospital in South Florida.

The diet was originally developed for overweight heart patients. The patients experienced excellent results, not only in their general health but they also lost weight.

Since his diet was so successful, Dr. Agatston began marketing his diet plan to the masses with the release of his book, The South Beach Diet. Recently the South Beach has evolved into a successful online diet plan filled with tools and resources to enable anyone to be successful with this healthy low carb diet.

South Beach Diet Online

Dieters interested in the South Beach Diet are first asked to complete a free diet profile in order to tailor the diet to his/her individual needs.
south beach diet

Dieters then begin working through the three phases of the South Beach Diet.

Phase 1: Start Losing Weight

The South Beach Diet begins with a somewhat restricted two-week induction phase — generally producing weight loss of 8 to 13 pounds.

In this phase most carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, and breads must be avoided. There are three meals a day and snacks — eating until your hunger is satisfied. Meats, shellfish, chicken, turkey, and fish are all on the menu – along with nuts, cheese (fat-free), eggs, salads, and vegetables.

Phase 1 eliminates all fruits.

Phase 2: Reach Your Goal

The second phase reintroduces some of the foods avoided in Phase 1 – but only sparingly. In this phase weight loss should be in the region of 1-2 pounds per week.

Dieters will be able to eat some fruit and a small amount of complex carbs. You will learn to adjust portion size and focus on foods that will satisfy with smaller servings.

Phase 3: A Diet For Life

The third phase is about living the lifestyle more than a phase – its about eating healthy foods, and maintaining weight. Most healthy foods can be added back in, but dieters should continue to avoid carb laden breads, pasta, and processed foods.

This is NOT Atkins

Although the South Beach Diet may seem similar to the Atkins diet or the Zone diet, Dr Agatston stresses it is not a strictly low-carb diet.

It’s all about balancing the good carbs against the “bad” carbs. Although when looking at the first 14-day phase – there is no doubt that this is a low-carb phase. However, the South Beach Diet is based around the Glycemic Index, and carbs are chosen according to this index.

South Beach have an on-line program that includes an 800 recipe database, and options for vegetarians. (see top right).

South Beach Food brand fits in with the diet guidelines for snacking. These prepackaged foods are available in most grocery stores.

South Beach Diet Phase 1 Meal Plan

Tomato juice, 6 oz
Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and mushrooms
Canadian bacon, 2 slices
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
Part-skim mozzarella cheese stick
Chicken Caesar salad (no croutons)
Prepared Caesar dressing, 2 Tbsp
Low-fat cottage cheese (½ cup) with ½ cup chopped tomatoes and cucumbers
Mahi mahi
Oven-Roasted Vegetables
Arugula salad
Low-sugar prepared dressing
Lemon Peel Ricotta Crème

Sample Phase 2 Meal Plan

Berry smoothie (8 oz Dannon Light ‘n Fit fruit-flavored yogurt, ½ cup berries, ½ cup crushed ice, blended)
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
1 hard-boiled egg
Lemon Couscous Chicken
Tomato and cucumber slices
Dannon Light ‘n Fit yogurt, 4 oz
Meat Loaf
Steamed asparagus
Mushrooms sautéed in olive oil
Sliced Bermuda onion and tomato with drizzled olive oil
Sliced cantaloupe with 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese

Sample Phase 3 Meal Plan

½ grapefruit
Tex-Mex eggs (2 eggs scrambled with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and salsa)
Whole grain toast, 1 slice
Decaf coffee or decaf tea with fat-free milk and sugar substitute
Roast Beef Wrap
Grilled salmon with tomato salsa
Tossed salad (mixed greens, cucumbers, green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes)
Olive oil and vinegar to taste or 2 Tbsp low-sugar prepared dressing
Chocolate-Dipped Apricots

Look for more high protein, low carb recipes here.

Online Tools

The online version of the South Beach Diet has a multitude of tools and resoucrses exclusively available to members. Some of them include:

  1. Weight Tracker: Track your weight as you shed pounds and head towards your ideal weight.
  2. Meal Planner: Customized, easy meals that you’ll love – every day of the week.
  3. Community Message Boards: Join our huge online community of thousands of members sharing support, success, and motivation.
  4. Personal Online Journal: Record your thoughts, struggles, triumphs – and read other member’s journals.
  5. Calendar Tool: Plan your diet day-by-day.
  6. Shopping List Generator: Print out complete shopping lists from your meal planner.
  7. Answers from Dr. Agatston: Ask your own questions to Dr. Agatston and see what he says to others.
  8. Registered Dietitians: Online dietitians will give specific answers to all sorts of tough questions.
  9. Daily Newsletter: Diet news, health tips, and inspiration in your inbox every day.
  10. Beach Buddies Program: Get matched with another member and diet together: teamwork makes for great successes!
  11. Food guides: From fast food to fine dining, the South Beach Diet™ has options for everyone.
  12. Huge Recipe Database: Search hundreds of delicious recipes, all designed to help you start shedding weight.

A Healthier Low Carb Diet

The South Beach Diet is nutritionally sound, however the more expensive food items could make the cost difficult to meet for some. Unfortunately good nutritious foods do tend to cost more than their highly-processed counterparts.

The principles of eating in balance, little-and-often, low-GI carbs are all included in the South Beach. Despite some feeling that the diet is a fad, and has had a major positive impact on the eating habits of millions.


The Original

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

South Beach Wake-Up Call

Dr. Agatston says that this book is intended to be a wake up call and he wants his readers to be alert educated and aware. He explains how the current epidemic of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases is related to an excessive intake of fast and processed foods.

He then outlines how we evolved to eat a diet that was very different, being based on fruits, vegetables, wild game and seafood.

The South Beach Wake-Up Program is based on seven strategies:

  1. Control the Clutter, Free Your Mind
  2. Make Every Meal Matter
  3. Shop Right
  4. Cook As If Your Life Depends on It
  5. Eat In More, Dine Out Smart
  6. Get Moving, Get Fit
  7. Sleep Better, Live Longer

The actual diet includes three phases. Dieters commence in phase one – which is the lowest in carbohydrates – and then move into phase two where foods such as fruits, whole-grain breads, brown rice, and sweet potatoes are gradually reintroduced.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

South Beach Supercharged

south-beach-diet-superchargedThe diet is basically the same as that outlined in the original South Beach Diet with some extra foods allowed. Agatston says that he updated the diet to allow for greater flexibility based on feedback from his patients and on his website.

As with the original diet it involves three phases and promotes the intake of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. In the first phase carbs are dramatically limited to so as to reduce cravings. In the second and third phases the amount of low glycemic carbs are gradually increased.

The main difference with the new Supercharged plan is the inclusion of 20 minutes of a specific type of exercise called ‘interval training’ that Agatston claims will speed up metabolism, increase the rate of weight loss and improve general health. He states that interval training allows dieters to achieve maximum results with a minimum time commitment.

Interval training burns more calories than other forms of exercise, which is why 20 minutes is enough in order to achieve successful weight loss results. Other forms of exercise may require one hour of activity in order to produce a similar effect.

In addition to the emphasis on exercise the updated version of the South Beach Diet includes extra menu plans and 40 new recipes.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

  • Chalasani, S., & Fischer, J. (2008). South Beach Diet associated ketoacidosis: a case report. J Med Case Reports, 2, 45. link
  • Hayes, M. R., Miller, C. K., Ulbrecht, J. S., Mauger, J. L., Parker-Klees, L., Gutschall, M. D., … & Covasa, M. (2007). A carbohydrate-restricted diet alters gut peptides and adiposity signals in men and women with metabolic syndrome. The Journal of nutrition, 137(8), 1944-1950. link
  • Astrup, A. (2005). The satiating power of protein—a key to obesity prevention?. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 82(1), 1-2. link
  • Agatston, A. (2003). the South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-designed, foolproof plan for fast and healthy weight loss. Rodale, Inc., New York.
  • Johnstone, A. M., Horgan, G. W., Murison, S. D., Bremner, D. M., & Lobley, G. E. (2008). Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(1), 44-55. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: December 22, 2014. Disclaimer