South Beach Diet Review

5.8 out of 10

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Dr. Arthur Agatston created the South Beach Diet in 2003, and many called the diet “a low modified carb diet.” The diets overall message, is that they will teach you how to eliminate the “bad carbs” from your diet all together. The book is based off the notion that the overall balance of good carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats consisting diet will be sustainable and easy to follow long term. Foods with higher glycemic index levels are avoided as they can spike your blood sugar, and boost your appetite, which results in over eating.

healthy fatsThere are three different phases to the South Beach Diet:

  • Phase 1: This is a two-week phase that aims to completely cut out all refined sugars and starches from your diet. You are not allowed to drink any fruit juice or alcohol during this period either, as it is truly meant to be a detox phase. The focus is placed on consuming healthy fats, oils, and proteins.While no grains, fruits, or refined sugars are eaten, there are carbs in vegetables, which you can eat plentifully, and in dairy products which also are encouraged during phase 1.
  • Phase 2: This is a long-term weight loss phase that is meant to get you to reach your weight loss goal. You are allowed to slowly add in foods that were prohibited in phase 1 like starches and pastas (in moderation). You can stay in this phase until you reach your weight loss goals.
  • Phase 3: Once you have reached your weight loss goals, you can eat most foods in moderation. There are no restrictions in this final phase, because it is meant to be implemented for a lifetime. The idea is that in this phase you will have learned to eat healthier foods, and indulge in other foods only in moderation.

Do Dieters Lose Weight?

The book states that when following the South Beach Diet you can lose 8-13 pounds in two weeks! Holy cow, this is a bold statement, and I do not know if I can believe them whole-heartedly or not. Normally, when this much weight is lost so rapidly, it can mean you are losing large amounts of water weight or lean tissue that is vital to your health. Many times when large amounts of weight come off, it is not from fat but rather from water and muscle mass. Overall there was a mix of reviews saying the program worked for them, and then some that did not notice any changes in their weight at all.

Is It Easy To Follow?

carbohydratesOverall this diet demands a lifestyle change, and a complete diet change in the first few weeks. With the total elimination of carbohydrates you can leave your body feeling drained from ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body does not have enough energy coming in from sugar and glucose storage, so it starts to take from your fat storage. The side effects from this are nausea, dizziness, headaches, mental fog, and irritability.

Like any other diet book, it will not guarantee a magical weight loss reaction the minute you start reading, rather it is a guide to help educate you. Many people said in their reviews that the book was okay, and the implementation overall was harder than it seems. There are recipes that are given in the book, which many people found helpful and used it long term. Other people said that the book was okay, but the recipes were hard to stomach initially. It is all about finding the right balance that works for you, as one book or program may not be the end to all your diet and weight loss needs.


social mediaSouth Beach Diet social media platforms have been well established by their followers, and the interface to their website is user friendly. When calling into their support line I was routed all around, as this company is rather large and corporate. Once getting on the line with a support agent, I asked simple questions which were answered. The diet does not make you count calories, or join counseling sessions, and it educates you on healthy eating choices for life. They also offer you their South Beach brand snacks, which I do not personally care for and only see it as a marketing strategy for them. Overall, it does not seem like a complete waste of time investment, but there will be a lot of discipline and commitment involved when taking the time to change your diet all together.

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*Individual results will vary.

Information on this website is not to replace the advise of the doctor, but rather for general education purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be considered as medical advice. Aways consult your doctor before starting any diet or taking any dietary supplements.

Articles, reviews and investigations are our own opinion, and written based on the information publicly available or simply contacting the companies. We try our best to stay up to date with constantly changing information. If you find any information inaccurate, please email us, we’ll verify for accuracy and update it.

Disclosure: some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase an item following one of the links, we will receive a commission. Regardless of that, we only recommend the products or services, that we strongly believe will benefit our readers. Read full disclosure here.”

  • Miles Pulsford
  • Claudette Newell

    Getting a subscription cancelled is almost impossible! Called Chat line. Chat line told me I had to call and “no questions will be asked”. Wrong! I refused to answer any questions when transferred twice to a “consultant”. She said cancellation REQUIRED answering questions.A review of the contract does not support this. I gave her my name and address and emphasized I WAS CANCELLING and hung up. I have my conversation recorded and have a copy of the chat questions/answers and will call my credit card company to stop the auto pay. My husband said that the reason men loose weight with South Beach is because they loose their appetite when eating it. Don’t know how they can make great recipes taste so bad. Interestingly, any attempt to email South Beach (i.e. [email protected]) comes back with a ‘failure notice’. If there was a class action, I would join it. If I have any more problems, I am turning everything over to the State of Texas Attorney General Office. They can usually get the attention of companies who attempt to scam consumers.

    • Penny Diane Stevenson

      That is horrible!
      The original old South Beach Diet book is good, and definitely works! I am glad I read these reviews!

  • nyrose

    I have had wonderful success on the South Beach diet over the years and am getting back on because I’ve been carbing out since winter started and need to go back to the lifestyle. I’ve done the plan to the point where I changed my eating lifestyle all together but I’m a carb addict so have fallen off the wagon a few times 🙂

    Here is the thing about SB from my view:
    Using their pre-packaged foods is NOT the way to go, in my opinion/experience (if they still sell it). It is definitely a commitment and you have to be ready for the lifestyle change when you start this but real food is the ONLY way to go. And so much cheaper!!
    For the first 2 weeks of Phase 1, you will be off starch/sugar/alcohol completely. This is hard but my snack cravings really went away after a few weeks. I actually continued Phase 1 for an additional couple weeks because I found it easier after the first 2 weeks and I felt so much healthier and energetic.

    This is what I’ve done to make it successful:
    * First, if you don’t mind preparing your own meals GO SHOPPING BEFORE YOU START. It is so much cheaper/healthy/delicious than pre-packed foods.
    It was so important to have the right fresh foods in the house: Eggs, boneless chicken breast and other allowed meats, deli cold-cuts, NUTS, snack cheeses on the allowed list, green veggies (fresh & frozen), LETTUCE, olives, any other salad veggies. For dessert: sugar-free Jello and fat-free Cool Whip, sugar-free fudgesicles (Tofutti brand is awesome). My go-to when i don’t want to cook is a rotisserie chicken and a bag of microwavable Birds-Eye veggies.

    – Here is a typical day of eating for me. And DON’T SKIP MEALS OR SNACKS!

    ** Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with ham & cheese, bacon on the side if you need.
    ** Mid-Morning Snack: a handful of almonds with string mozzarella cheese for mid-morning snack. Keep a bag of nuts with you and in your desk for snack times.
    ** Lunch: Big salad with no dressing (or just olive oil/vinegar), and loaded with stuff on the allowed list. Cheese, nuts, veggies, and any protein! Load that badboy up.
    ** Mid-afternoon Snack: nuts & cheese is my go-to. If you’re craving sweets, have a sugar-free jello with some fat-free Cool Whip. In the later phases, I love dark chocolate covered almonds.
    ** Dinner: I saute lean meats in my skillet with just a little olive oil/salt and pepper. Then I put with a ton of allowed veggies. I love the BirdsEye frozen green beans and broccoli – 6 minutes in the microwave is so easy. If I’m tired after work, I pick up a rotisserie chicken (not bbq or honeyed, just plain) with green veggies or another salad.
    ** Dessert: I like the sugar-free jello with nuts and cheese too. Or the SB book has recipes if you want to experiment.

    Again, this is just my experience and opinion. And SB has many other more interesting recipes, but I keep it pretty simple.
    But I always feel healthy and light when eating real/clean foods and adapting to the lifestyle change. Stuff in a box is never the answer.
    And I have lost real weight (10-15 pounds is the most I’ve had to lose) so this is always what I go back to when I’m bloated and tired from evil carbs and I have a pouch :).

    Wishing you healthy living and the best of luck if you stick with it!

  • Diamond Annette

    When I called to cancel my order, the lady asked me a thousand questions. What food do you normally eat, How much food, and so on. When I mentioned the old South Beach entrees and how good they were, she stated “South Beach never had entrees before.” I know they did…. That’s so sad that their a rip off.

  • Dion

    Experts say: Do not eat meat more than three meals a week.

  • Galbraith Britt

    These meals are disgusting and I cant see to get out of it because I got some sort of deal that I have to pay back a portion. The chicken is chewy and gross… Any advice in how to get out of this plan?

    • Lisa Leonard McLain

      I agree 100%. If you find out how to recoup your money, please let me know.

  • Agnes Smith

    I liked Nutrisystem MUCH better…no comparison.

    • Lisa Leonard McLain

      Me too. Was told that South Beach food would be much better. Absolutely not!!

  • Agnes Smith

    This stuff is DISGUSTING. Sure, you can lose weight on it…you can also lose weight by eating worms. I bought a month’s worth of this at some $300 and I ended up throwing it all out after the 3rd day. The pictures look amazing. The TV commercials are enticing…but the food is mush and barely edible. (NutriSystem, which I did several years ago, is better BY FAR.) I found their customer service, which I called twice, fine…but they wouldn’t let me get out so easily. I had to order another shipment before they’d let me out. Read the fine print!

    • 3/1 Marine

      The prepackaged South Beach Diet is now owned by Nurtrisystem. South Beach would not admit it when I asked them but one of my e-mails to them bounced (they don’t like to talk to unhappy customers) and the return address was Nutrisystem. So I googled it. They were bought out by Nurtisystem. Nurtisystem inherited a company with a lot of dissatisfied customers. I used Nurtisystem about 10 years ago, never had any problems with them and their food tastes better.

    • patti

      My thoughts EXACTLY!!!! this is the worst excuse for food that you could imagine. 99% of it is completely inedible….disgusting. You can lose weight by eating cardboard, and it would taste better, too. I wasted the same $300 as Agnes above, then when I called to cancel, they said I owed them $125 for early cancellation fee since I didn’t get 2 months of “product”. They are extremely arrogant, rude and obnoxious on the phone…that is, when you can finally get to speak to someone. I sent 3 emails and had 2 chats…none of the emails were returned and the chat people said they couldn’t help me. I sat on hold for over 30 minutes to speak to a person who was rude and unhelpful. I alerted my credit card company and disputed the cancellation charge. AVOID THIS SCAM AT ALL COSTS!!!!

    • Lisa Leonard McLain

      I agree with everything that you said.

  • iwasthinkn’

    AWFUL, HORRIBLE Customer service!!!Have now been on the phone for almost 1.5 hours. Transferred to, not exaggerating 8 times. Called because needed a refund for an unauthorized shipment. BE CARFUL if you order, twice they set up an automatic delivery account without our authorization. Reason my husband stopped using was because it was giving him hives (yes he went to the doctor). Unbelievable.

    • patti

      You should call your credit card company and dispute the charge. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this stuff.

      • iwasthinkn’

        Thanks for your reply. Did that and was a squeaky wheel and they finally agreed to a refund, 7-10 biz days, so we will see.

        • patti

          Good for you!! the expensive food is torture enough…adding that cancellation fee is adding insult to injury. Glad you worked it out 🙂

  • Agnes Smith

    Let’s face it, folks. They just want our money. They don’t give a whit about whether their food tastes good. They can make quite a lot of money by unsuspecting souls such as us. WE learned our lesson…but what about all the other poor ‘suckers’ out there believing their TV commercials???? Once they see their profit margin start to shrink, they’ll fire everyone and make a run for it.

  • Agnes Smith

    You lasted 2 weeks? I lasted THREE DAYS! LOL! What a racket this is. I wouldn’t feed this stuff to my dog 🙁

  • 3/1 Marine

    Nothing wrong with the book “The South Beach Diet.” However the marketing organization using the name is a ripoff. Somewhere (they say) in their fine print I signed up for a 2nd unasked for order. So now I am charged a $ 125 penalty. Then I will be finished with them forever. Their foods are not that low calorie, just small servings. You can go to the grocery store and buy Lean Cuisine or Dr. Stillman prepackaged food and do the same thing and save $$$.

    • patti

      You should call your credit company and dispute the $125 charge. That’s what I did successfully

      • 3/1 Marine

        After the bill had already been posted??

        • patti

          Yes! in fact, the card company can’t do anything until the charge is posted. So, I would definitely give it a try. My card was a Citibank Visa

      • Lisa Leonard McLain

        You actually won that dispute?

    • Diamond Annette

      I was told the same thing when I tried to cancel. I called my credit card company and she stopped the next payment which would have been due in 2 weeks. That food is the worst. I wasted my money seriously, its not like the other entrees. It’s like they made this food up to the point it is awful. I took out my old South Beach Diet book

      • 3/1 Marine

        I cancelled once with a phoney Apple anti-virus scam. But I had to get a new credit card with a different number. Caused me a lot of problems.
        I have found a couple of brands of frozen food at the grocery store that tastes better than South Beach stuff and it way cheaper.

  • Agnes Smith

    Really, what these people are doing is stealing our money based on false advertising (delicious food) and making it difficult to cancel. What kind of outfit IS THIS???? NO one, but a sadist, would describe this food as ‘delicious’. Thank God I have a job and can afford to make such a blunder….Some people I’m sure are on a fixed income and this is something they thought long and hard about before spending the money…THEY deserve better!!!

    • 3/1 Marine

      If you or anyone knows what state they are based in I’ll complain to their attorney general. This is a bush league ripoff. Hard to believe in 2017 companies like this still are operating.

      • Agnes Smith

        South Beach Corporate Headquarters
        600 Office Center Drive
        Fort Washington, PA 19034

  • Agnes Smith

    Wow…this stuff is bad news! I’ve been on the diet just 3 days and I can no longer stomach this mush. Tonight I finally threw all the food out…$300 wasted! The pictures look so appetizing but this stuff is disgusting. I called to cancel this morning but she said I have to take one more order in order to do so or I’d have to pay a FINE. Can you all believe that? Like I’ve broken a law? My experience is exactly the same as Reeser and others below. I think with all of us saying the same thing, you can trust that this stuff is GARBAGE! SAVE YOUR MONEY!!!!!

    • Agnes Smith

      I didn’t mean a fine…I meant a FEE…but same result!


    03/15/2017 $425 wasted. Food looks nothing like the box photos. Turns to mush when its cooked. Flavors all blend. Called today to cancel was charged $125 to do so. Online chat customer service said I could get a refund then said ignore what I said and I would have to pay full price, she had made a mistake with providing false info. I have been on Nutri-system and loved it but thought id give South Beach a chance. BIG MISTAKE.. a company that doesnt back thier product YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY FROM………… Going to throw out the remaining food. Only 3 days in and cant stomach it. South Beach you should be ashamed of your products and lack of customer service.. OH and the APP never works and trying to get someone online took 8 attempts and over 1 hour………. VERY DISAPPOINTED…

    • 3/1 Marine

      You are right. I can starve myself for free! Sad I payed South Beach for the opportunity. But I learned my lesson. I’ll never fall for any online scam like this again.

  • Guest07

    My wife and I ordered the South Beach 4 week delivery plan for around $675. By far the worst food we have eaten and they should be charged with false advertising after seeing what is on the box vs. reality (SB will blame the microwave settings which isn’t the case).
    My opinion is to stay well away from South Beach delivery option. We even threw away much of what was delivered as we couldn’t even give it away.

    • Agnes Smith

      I had the same experience. I threw mine all away tonight. Close to $300 down the drain. This false advertising and bilking the public should not be allowed.

  • Tammy

    Started the diet with high expectations, the food was not good at all. decided to try another way. Anyway, I got on the website and tried to cancel, this is another business that makes it very difficult to stop their program. There was no way to cancel online, so I got on chat and they could not help, he gave me a number to call. I called the number and a lady would not accept my decision to just quit, she had a million questions about why and how I could do the program another way, I pleaded that “I JUST WANT TO STOP THE PROGRAM” Anyway, it ended with me having to pay another 135.00 dollars and another shipment of crap food, because of the “discount” on my first shipment that I had to go at least two months into the program. I will never deal with online diets again!! So disappointed with Southbeach.

  • Jeff Stahl

    I would not recommend Southbeach because of their deceptive business practice. The food is nasty and they don’t guarantee their product. If you try to cancel before next shipment, you forced pay $99 cancellation which is not shown on their webpage.

    • 3/1 Marine

      They have gone up on the cancellation fee! It is now $ 125. Buyer Beware.
      This company is probably run by old aluminum siding salesmen.

  • Faith

    10 yrs. ago I lost 65 pnds. on South Beach in 1 yr. I now need to loose about 35 pnds that have jumped back on within the past 2 yrs. In that 2 yr. period I moved to Tx. from Ca. and started eating very differently. From Cal. fresh veggies and fruit of all kinds to Tx. biscuits and gravy and a heavy dose of carbs at every meal. Plus, just as much a factor if not more so I now use a wheel chair nearly always. Ten years ago when I went on South Beach I talked to my Neurologist about it. He said having the extra weight isn’t good for me so get the weight off then go back to eating a healthy balanced diet. South Beach is very difficult to stick to especially in the beginning. Carbs are equal to sugar and cutting ALL sugar can cause withdrawal symptoms. I’ll need to clean out my pantry so there are no temptations. I equate it to stopping smoking, well maybe not that tough but it’s hard and will consume my every thought for the 1st 2 wks. I’ll stay in the induction phase longer than 2 wks. as South Beach says, or used to say that’s safe. What makes the diet a little easier to stay on is I’ll see the weight drop rapidly and that motivates me in a big way. It seems I remember it was more like 5 pnds off per wk. for the 1st 2-3 wks at least for me. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    • consumerscompare

      Great job Faith! Learning how to eat right and finding something that will work long term is difficult but it sound like you have it figured out. Good luck on your journey and please come back to share your experience.

      • Faith Joy

        Thank you and I will come back to share.

        • Dear Faith, we do not sell South Beach Diet nor do we promote it. We were simply congratulating you on your success. We apologize if our comment was confusing.

      • Faith Joy

        I did not use your program! I used the official South Beach diet plan which charges NOTHING!! It sounds like you’re ripping people off. SHAME ON YOU!!

    • Agnes Smith

      Are you sure you bought the current SBD that is advertised on TV NOW?? It is so disgusting and if YOU can actually get it down, you ARE my hero!!

      • Faith Joy

        Agnes, I didn’t “buy” anything. It was just a matter of not eating carbs. A couple of times I ordered a pizza and ate the topping only. It didn’t taste bad at all.

        • Agnes Smith

          Oh…I’m happy to hear that you didn’t spend money on the current diet advertised on TV. Did you ever allow yourself sweets? If so, what kind?

          • Faith Joy

            If you goggle search the South Beach diet. There’s the “Induction Phase”, that lasts at least 2 wks. maybe 3. In that phase there are no sweets except artificial sweetener. This phase is to get you past craving sugar and it’s the hardest phase. No sugar, not even fruit. Sugar equals carbs. Phase 2 starts allowing certain fruit and veggies that contain “healthy carbs”. Find their official site. There’s lots of info, “Foods Allowed in Phase 1, 2 and 3. Chat with others on the diet. Recipes for each phase. I see people are NOT happy with this stuff that’s being sold here or how they’re running their “business”. Blow this off, you don’t need to pay anything at the official South Beach Diet site.

        • 3/1 Marine

          It is just tiny portions. I was amazed when I read the calories for such a miniscule amount of food on their packages. I now have a great high protein breakfast, 3 scrambled eggs with a smattering of feta cheese = 210 calories. Better than any breakfast of microwaved food.

          • Faith Joy

            If you go to the official South Beach diet site you’ll find LOTS of info and won’t have to pay a penny. Everybody has the easiest way for them to do it, mine was South Beach. Weight Watchers watches portions but I was always hungry on that but you’re right portions is one way to do it and some like that best.

          • 3/1 Marine

            I liked the diet, I was losing weight. But their sales tactics turned me off.
            Do you know the address of their home office?

  • maddy

    is it true that the south beach diet can help migraine suffers

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