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The South Beach Diet Review

by George Pierce
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The South Beach Diet promotes fast weight loss of about 9 pounds in 2 weeks.  It was created by Arthur Agatston, MD., and is based on carbs that are low glycemic and high in fiber as well as good fats and lean protein.   Although the diet is rated as a 'Fad diet' by Wikipedia (see below), it is ranked as the 22nd best overall diet by US. News and World Report.  

According to Dr. Agatston, the diet is about about helping you learn how to choose the right carbs and the right fats.  You should be able to shed unwanted pounds while staving off cravings and you should be able to keep those pounds off for life.  

The diet is based on three meals and two snacks daily.

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The diet is laid out in three steps.  

Phase 1:  This is a two week stage in which you should lose from 8 to 13 pounds. In this phase you will give up potatoes, rice, bread, pasta and fruit, fruit juices, and dairy and no alcohol.

Sample daily menu for phase 1:

Breakfast. 

Omelet with smoked salmon or baked eggs with spinach and ham, you can add a cup of coffee or tea.

Lunch.

Vegetable salad with scallops or shrimp, with iced tea or  water.

Dinner.

Grilled tuna or pork with grilled vegetables and a salad.

Dessert.

Dessert is allowed and even encouraged such as a ricotta cheesecake or chilled espresso custard.

Snacks.

Two snacks such as a Muenster cheese and turkey roll-up or roasted chickpeas.

Phase 2: This stage lasts until you  reach your goal weight.  You will be gradually adding back some of the foods that you gave up in phase 1.   In this stage your weight loss should slow to about one or two pounds weekly.

Phase 3:  Once you reach your goal weight, you will move to phase 3.  This is your maintenance phase.  At this point, you should know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid.

What you can and cannot eat:

The diet is a high protein low carb diet.   It focuses on veggies that are high in fiber and that are least likely to spike your sugar levels.   You will be eating lots of protein such as eggs, cheese, poultry, beef, and seafood.  Certain fats are allowed (good fats) such as extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, and avocado.  Your carb intake will be centered on low glycemic vegetables such as eggplant, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes.

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Exercise:

The diet does not include exercise.  The later or updated version, however, which is the South Beach Diet Supercharged, includes an exercise plan focused on walking and strengthening your core.  

Cost:

Eating healthy can add to your food cost.  The diet website has helpful tips for saving money on your grocery bills such as using coupons and buying in bulk.

Home Delivery:

You can also opt for a home delivery plan.  

Including snacks, the four week plan for women is $339.99 monthly or $12.14 per day and the four week plan for men is $369.99 monthly or $13.21 daily.  At the time of this post, free shipping and free shakes are included. You can choose from Classic, Paleo, Vegetarian, and Vegan.  Based on monthly billing, your meals will average about $9.95 per plate.  Kid's meals are also an option at about $7.95 per plate.

South Florida Delivery only ( DeliverLean):  The delivery area is presently the South Florida Area, which is the Broward, Miami Dade, Palm Beach area.  The plan should cost about $400 per moth (10 meals per week) to  about $796 for 20 meals per week to about $955 per week for 24 meals per week.  

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Does It Work?

Yes.  The diet is considered to be a healthy approach to losing weight.  Experts do warn, however, that in phase 1, a 'carb crash' is likely.  A carb crash can mean feeling irritable, weak,  and/or shaky.  This is a result of 'ketosis'.  Ketosis happens when your body does not have enough glucose for energy so it breaks down stored fat which causes ketones to build up in your body.  Ketosis helps with weight loss but can cause headache, nausea, dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, and bad breath.  This should rectify itself when you go to phase 2.  

According to Kathleen Zelman, MPH, Rd, once you get past phase one, the diet "is a healthy Mediterranean-style approach to eating that can help you shed pounds."

Studies:  

A study of the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet, the Zone diet, and The Weight Watchers diet,  published in 2014 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, showed that none of the four diets were significantly better than the other.  The study found that each of the four diets helped dieters shed about the same numbers of pounds and each helped them to keep the weight off over a one year span.  At the end of two years, some of the dieters on Atkins and Weight Watchers were regaining the lost weight.  

Since the results were similar, the study conclusion was that dieters should choose the diet that best fits their lifestyle.

In addition a study was made by Cochrane Collaboration of six small, randomized controlled trials of low-GI diets.  A low GI diet is a low Glycemic Index diet which includes South Beach.  It was found that low GI diets outperformed other diets by a slight margin of about 2 pounds over 26 weeks.

However, a 2010 study in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that a low-GI diet compared with a low-fat regimen in 202 overweight and obese adults, weight loss at three months was greater on average for low-GI dieters – 11 pounds versus 8 pounds – low-fat dieters lost more on average after a year – 9 1/2 pounds versus 9 pounds.

The bottom line is that the weight loss differences are very small, so choose the diet that fits you best.

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Level of difficulty:

During the first 14 days (phase 1), the level is high for most people, then the diet gets easier.  Overall, the diet difficulty is medium.

Recipes:

Recipes are provided and can also be found online and on the company website.

Meetings:

There are no meetings.

Vegan or Vegetarian?

This diet can be adapted to both.  The home delivery version offers both options.

Gluten Free?

You can adapt this diet to gluten free, simply read the labels.  The South Beach Gluten Solution, written by Dr. Agatston should be of help.

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Positives:

Lose weight.
Healthier eating
Look better
Feel better
More energy
Delicious recipes
Nutritious
Lower your risk of obese related diseases
You should not be hungry
Exercise is included in the Supercharged version
Restrictive yet flexible. If you overindulge or get off track, you can revert back to phase 1 or 2.
Proven to work

Negatives:

Low carbs can be difficult if you are a carb lover
High protein may be a problem for some people especially those with kidney problems
Home delivery...although home delivery is convenient and will help you to lose weight, studies show that they do not work in the long run.
Some experts feel that this diet is low in potassium. (Supplementation with a quality absorbable vitamin and mineral may be a good option.)

Conclusion:  

A healthy diet that aims for long term success is what you should be looking for and this diet fills that need.  Phase one is difficult, but your weight loss will be sufficient to motivate you to continue.  If you are a carb lover, then this diet may not be your best choice.  I feel that this diet is far from a 'Fad diet', I believe that it is healthy and will work long term.  I give it two thumbs up and suggest that you consider adding it to  your list of weight loss options.  

SBD (South Beach Diet) was purchased by Nutrisystem in 2015.  

I thank you for reading, my friends.  Allow me to wish you success on your weight loss journey.

Kind regards,
George Pierce
WALW Founder

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Fad diet From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A fad diet or diet cult is a diet that makes promises of weight loss or other health advantages such as longer life without backing by solid science, and in many cases are characterized by highly restrictive or unusual food choices.  Celebrity endorsements are frequently used to promote fad diets, which may generate significant revenue for the creators from the sale of associated products.

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Dr. Arthur Agatston

Dr. Agatston specializes in preventative medicine and cardiology.  He presently is the Medical Director, Wellness & Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida.  He also serves at South Beach Preventive Cardiology.

His South Beach Diet is a result of a diet that he created for his patients.   Food can create our health problems as well as cure them.

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Dr. Agatston helped identify calcuim as a biological marker in heart disease.  His research helped develop the Agatson Score, Agatston Method, or Calcium Score.  This method is used worldwide to evaluate coronary calcium.

His diet is a low carb diet, but actually it is based on choosiing the 'right carbs' and the 'right fats'.  The diet was intended to lower his patients cholesterol naturally.  

In addition, his patients were losing weight and they loved the diet!

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Frontline Interview with Dr. Agatston:

In Dr. Agatston's interview with PBS Frontline, he paints a realistic picture of what has happened to make us overweight.  Our society's eating habits have changed over the years

Fortunately, the South Beach Diet can help you to fix all that and the interview helps us to understand how.  Click here to access the interview.

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