South Beach Diet Review: A Sustainable Plan to lose and maintain weight

Who doesn’t enjoy showing off a beach body, especially in the summer? Looking lean and ripped is every fitness enthusiast’s dream. Many of them may not know, but “Fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition.” There are many weight loss plans. Of these, the South Beach Diet, first promoted as a book in 2003, is backed by medical expertise.

Essentially, this is a low-carbohydrate diet that excludes foods with high glucose content. Further, it divides carbs and fats into two categories – “good” and “bad” – and eliminates bad carbs and fats while keeping the good ones. It doesn’t place restrictions on calorie intake. But does it work? Find out on our South Beach Diet Review.   

What Is South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet was first developed by a Miami-based cardiologist and celebrity doctor, Arthur Agatston, who was assisted by Marie Almon in designing this plan. Their work began in the mid-’90s, and the final plan was outlined in a book that quickly became popular.

This plan was named after the glamorous South Beach, which is near Dr. Agatston’s practice. Was he inspired by the people flaunting their well-shaped bodies on Miami’s most famous beach? Hard to say. But he was definitely determined to create a diet plan to help people lose weight and inches.

The result was the South Beach Diet, a low-carb diet without a strict limitation of carb intake. The program also includes high amounts of healthy fats and proteins. While it is not a strict low-carb diet, the South Beach Diet also has a ketogenic version.

The keto South Beach Diet program includes only negligible amounts of net carbs, replacing carbohydrates with fats as the fuel. The South Beach Diet doesn’t lay emphasis or place restrictions on the intake of calories and saves you from the trouble keeping track of calories.

How South Beach Diet Works

So, how does South Beach Diet aim to help you hit that number you’re targeting on the scale and with the tape? Well, this plan is designed to change the balance of nutrients that you consume. Doing so leads you not only to healthy eating but conscious living.

Three Phases of the South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet offers a complete program that’s divided into three phases. Phases 1 and 2 are for weight loss, while Phase 3 concentrates on maintaining your newly achieved weight. Here’s how the three phases work:

Phase 1:

The first phase lasts until the 14th day. This is the strictest period since the intake of grains, high-carb foods, and fruits will be restricted. That means lower sugar and insulin levels in the blood while curbing hunger and reducing appetite. You can lose around 8-13 pounds of body weight during this time.

You’ll have to take three meals a day, along with two snacks. Your meals will include lots of lean protein, high-fiber veggies without starch content, healthy fat, low-fat dairy, and small amounts of legumes. The snacks will comprise veggies and lean protein.   

Phase 2

The second phase of the South Beach Diet will begin on the 15th day. This phase is much more relaxed. It allows you to slowly start consuming good carbs like whole grains, sweet potato, and fruits – in limited amounts, of course – along with the foods of the first phase. You can also enjoy alcohol occasionally.

This phase is much slower as you start to eat small amounts of carbs now. But this slowdown is necessary to keep your body in a healthy state. Otherwise, you can feel weakness and loss of stamina. You will lose 1-2 pounds every week. So, continue until you achieve your target weight.   

Phase 3

The final phase of the South Beach Diet begins once you gain your goal weight. This is the easiest phase, as you won’t have to follow any specific food list. But wait! Does that mean you can go back to eating whatever you want? Well, yes, and no.

Indeed, you will have no restrictions regarding food consumption. But, to maintain the weight, you have to follow the guidelines of phase 2. Those guidelines should be the basis of your diet, though no food will be off-limits, and you can be indulgent more often.

But, should you follow the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet is ideal for you if you –

  • Like lots of proteins, with moderate amounts of fat and carbs.
  • Can handle the restricted food amounts in the plan.
  • Want to lose weight and cut fat.
  • Change your eating habits and your lifestyle.
  • Need a sustainable diet plan.

Apart from the main diet plan, Dr. Agatston offers a series of books about diet foods, recipes, exercise plans, etc. These make cooking your meals, staying active, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle easier. It is recommended that you exercise regularly. For that, you can follow Dr. Agatston’s fitness program that is also divided into three phases.    

South Side Beach Diet Review: Advantages and Disadvantages

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the South Beach Diet and figure out if it’s the right fit for you:


  • Rapid weight loss
  • Sustainable, with long term maintenance
  • Curbs hunger pangs
  • Based on the scientifically-backed high-protein, low-carb diet
  • High energy for workouts due to increased metabolism
  • No calorie tracking
  • Steady and gradual weight loss 
  • No severe restrictions during weight maintenance
  • No bland food


  • May require certain supplements like calcium, vitamins, etc.
  • Can be a little expensive
  • May be difficult to follow for some people, especially vegans

If you have heart problems or any other chronic health issue, you need to consult a dietician before adopting this life-altering option.

Does South Beach Diet Work?

Dieters following the South Beach Diet have mostly reported excellent results, even though this program will affect individuals differently based on their body types. It is based on the principle of high-protein, low-carb diets, which, according to research, is highly efficient in losing weight.

It’s a sustainable plan that doesn’t need you to cut out certain food groups entirely or restrict you to home-cooked meals. As long as you stick to healthy, unprocessed food and follow the basic guidelines, you’ll see amazing results and maintain the weight.  


The South Beach Diet is designed to help you lose weight and then maintain it. It does not use any unnatural method. It simply attempts to increase your metabolism rate and burn the fat in your body and turn it into energy. While it is initially strict, the program gets more relaxed eventually.

Simply put, it is easy to follow this diet plan throughout your life. At any point, if you gain weight, you can always move back to the first phase. But, if you continue clean and low-carb eating, follow the basic guidelines, and complement the plan with a workout program, you’ll stay fit and can show off a ripped beach body that justifies the diet plan’s name!!   

Health and nutrition writer for Mother of two and passionate ultramarathon runner. Excited to share great resources with my readers and help them live their best healthy life.