The South Beach Diet Pros and Cons

A Candid Review of the South Beach Diet


Wondering about the pros and cons of the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach diet was one of the most popular “IT” diets a few years ago. It’s popularity spawned even more spinoff books –  South Beach dining guides, heart healthy plans and recipe books.

In the past couple of years however, it has cooled just slightly popularity as newer “shinier” diets have come onto the market.

Still, it does have some very enthusiastic followers – and lots of successful weight loss stories from around the world.

How does it work and is it right for you? Here’s a review of the South Beach Diet to help you decide:


South Beach Diet Review:

The South Beach diet is a lower, healthier carb diet that is kinder and more permissive than Atkins.

Created by cardiologist Arthur Agatston, M.D. for his overweight patients in his South Florida practice, it focuses on eating the ‘right’ carbs, such as whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables; the right fats, such as olive and canola oil; and lean sources of protein.

However there are a few things you need to do before you get there.



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There are 3 Phases to the Diet:


Phase 1 is the toughest and is similar to Atkins in that all carbs are restricted. This helps reduce your insulin (which is a fat-storing hormone among other things) and subsequently you lose weight as your body starts to burn fat for energy.

Phase 1 lasts for 2 weeks and kick-starts your weight loss. People have reported losing 5-10 pounds in this 2 week phase.

The focus during Phase 1 is on lean meat, fish, eggs, reduced-fat cheese, nonfat yogurt, nuts, and plenty of vegetables. You are also allowed artificially sweetened products. This phase helps you lose weight fast and reduces your cravings for the wrong kinds of carbs.

During phase 2 you start to reintroduce ‘good’ carbs, such as whole grains and most fruits. Some indulgences are allowed.

Your weight loss will be slower at this stage (1-2 pounds per week) but at least you’re allowed some carbs (unlike Atkins).  You should stay on the Phase 2 part of the diet until you reach your goal.

Phase 3 is more of a maintenance phase once you’ve reached your goal. You’ll still make good eating choices but it’s less strict than the previous 2 phases.

You’re supposed to basically stay on Phase 3 for the rest of your life – it’s more like a way of eating for life.


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South Beach Diet Meal



The South Beach Diet – Pros and Cons


So what are some of the pros and cons of the South Beach diet?

Well, on the plus side, the South Beach diet is balanced and, for the most part, healthy.  If you can’t for the life of you imagine cutting out carbs, you don’t have to on this diet (except for the first 1-2 weeks).

It’s not as complex as many other diets however it does still require you to prepare special recipes.

Also you’re encouraged to eat when you’re hungry (not starve over long periods of time, like some other diet plans) which will definitely help you not to feel deprived.


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South Beach diet reviews by users have been very positive – the average user rating at epinions was 4 out of 5 stars, with many people liking the fact that they lost weight fast, and that the diet was easy to understand.

Also, Consumer Reports in their ‘Rating the Diets’ issue gave South Beach a good overall score and a positive rating on the nutritional analysis of the diet



Any Cons?


Unfortunately the recipes on this plan can be hard to prepare. They take time and are very precise – which can turn a lot of people off (especially when you’re dieting and not feeling 100% happy about it).

You can get around this problem a few different ways. You could use a diet meal prep service like the South Beach Diet Meal Delivery Service. They’ll make the meals for you that exactly follow all 3 phases of the diet.

You don’t have to do anything but heat and eat (and lose weight). So that’s a stress-free way to do the diet.

You could also choose a similar carb-controlled plan that still lets you have carbs and focuses on healthy foods to lose weight  – like the Bistro MD plan.

Another con is that dieters have reported that the first 2 weeks (phase 1) is especially tough to get through. And if you’re going straight from eating fast food and sugar sweets like donuts and chocolate bars every day, yes that’s definitely going to be a huge adjustment. So the first phase can be a bit tough.

On the other hand you’ll be losing very fast on this phase – and that can kind of make up for it. Plus it’s only 1 – 2 weeks (1 week if you go with the Meal Delivery service)


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South Beach Meals



Options for South Beach Dieters:

 The South Beach diet comes in both book form where you can read it, make the recipes and do the diet yourself.

The book is 320 pages and contains both explanations of how the diet works and why it works. Plus there are a lot of detailed recipes.

You can also find a lot of recipes that you can make up yourself online.

And of course if you want the easiest, stress-free option there’s always the South Beach Meal delivery service.

Plus at just under $10 a day it’s pretty affordable for most people.


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Bottom Line:

South Beach is a welcome improvement over the crazy low or no carb diets that have been the rage in the past.  It’s much more balanced and focuses on curbing cravings while you’re making positive eating changes.

While the first 2 weeks can be tough for most people, they are not starving themselves and the rapid weight loss can be reward enough for most people.

If you’ve found that your body responds best to lower carb plans and you like the concept of the South Beach diet (healthier carbs vs no carbs), then this might be a great diet for you.


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