South Beach Diet Reviews: Does It Really Work?

woman learned

Our review: does the South Beach Diet Work? In the U.S. today, 7 out of every 10 people are considered overweight. This number continues to grow each year. Whether that is the result of our DNA or our love of fast food and fatty meals is unclear.

What is clear is that with obesity at an all-time high, the demand for effective weight loss plans has risen as well. This has led to an influx of fad diets. While many promise big results and fail to deliver, there are many that can provide real results and help you live a healthier lifestyle. One of those is the South Beach Diet.

Backed by tons of positive South Beach Diet reviews, this plan for healthy eating and exercise may be the solution that you’re looking for, especially now that it’s keto-friendly. In our review we’ll discuss:

South Beach Diet: How it Works | User Reviews | Expert ratings | Cost | Coupons

How the South Beach Diet Works:

Oh, I get it. They send you food, and then you frolic in the ocean until the weight comes off? Well, actually, here’s how it works:

Invented in 2003 by a cardiologist by the name of Arthur Agatston, the South Beach Diet rolled out at the height of the fad diet craze. But unlike many of those that offer quick-fixes and real results, the South Beach Diet remains popular more than ten years later.

Agatston first introduced his diet plan idea in his book, “The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss.”

The idea behind the South Beach Diet is a nutrition plan that is low in bad carbohydrates and high in lean protein and healthy fats and good carbs from fruit vegetables, and whole grains. Because it doesn’t involve cutting tons of items out of your diet, it is simpler to follow. (I guess that’s how people in Miami eat?) 

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You can still enjoy many of your favorite foods while on this diet, although simply reading the book doesn’t give many people enough structure. That’s where the monthly meal-delivery comes in.

How Does the Diet Work?

south beach diet meal delivery

Here’s how the diet works: (from

  1. Eat the right carbs and healthy fats to keep you satisfied while losing weight
  2. Lose weight with a nutritionally sound plan that consists of a wide variety of wholesome foods
  3. Learn how to make better food choices for life

Unlike other fad diets, the South Beach Diet doesn’t involve adding any special ingredients to your food or eating, liquid meals, or eating so few calories that you feel as though you can’t function.

Instead, the South Beach Diet now revolves around a subscription meal service. Frozen meals and optional protein snacks are delivered right to your door every month.

South Beach Diet reviews reveal that the meals feature tasty, popular recipes high in lean protein and good carbs that are low on the glycemic index. This helps to keep your blood sugar and metabolism steady, making you feel full longer.

In fact, many of the meals resemble everyday meals that you likely indulge in already.

Because they are frozen and packaged individually, you can easily take the meals to work, to a friend’s house, or even on vacation with you.

The diet itself consists of 3 phases, and meal-delivery is only necessary during the first two phases.

What are the Phases of the South Beach Diet?

south beach vintage

The South Beach Diet is broken into three phases, each of which claims to serve a different role in the dieter’s weight loss journey. Here’s how the stages work:

Oops, that’s not it! Here’s how the phases really work: (No warm liquid goo phase necessary)

1. Phase One: “7-day reboot”

Phase one is designed to be a 7-day reboot for your body and health. You’ll start with the low-carb, high protein diet plan, which begins to boost your metabolism and helps begin your weight loss journey.

In Phase 1 you will: 

  • Reset your body with fast weight loss
  • Burn fat and transform your metabolism with a low-carb, high-protein plan
  • Enjoy South Beach Diet pre-packaged meals
  • Reduce cravings for unhealthy foods

The meals and snacks that you’ll enjoy during this phase of the South Beach Diet plan are designed to help reduce sugar cravings and make it easier to transition to the diet plan you’ll be following from here on out.

South Beach Diet reviews often cite how easy it was to make the transition, and how many people don’t miss the items that they cut from their diets. More about how Phase 1 works

2. Phase Two: “Steady Weight Loss”

Phase two of the South Beach Diet is the steady weight loss phase in which you keep losing weight to hit your goal.

In Phase 2 you will:

  • Add in good carbs from whole grains, fruits and more veggies
  • Continue to enjoy South Beach diet meals
  • Add a DIY breakfast, lunch and dinner each week

The meal plan begins to add in good carbs, as well as more fruits and vegetables, during this phase. The workout tips and plans also increase during this phase to help support your weight loss.

3. Phase Three: “You’ve Got This”

The final phase of the South Beach Diet plan is intended to help you maintain a healthy weight without being hungry.

In Phase 3 you’ll:

  • Enjoy all foods in moderation
  • Follow the principles of the South Beach Diet
  • Look your best and feel great
  • No/optional meal-delivery in this phase!

You’ll get South Beach Diet tips that help you follow the plan even when you are no longer receiving the meals or strictly following. The idea is that your body has now adapted to healthy meals, exercise, and less excess, like sugar or unhealthy carbs.

South Beach Diet reviews often reveal that by the time the dieters reached this phase, it was easy to follow the guidelines for healthy eating.

Customer / User Reviews:

south beach diet customer reviews
South Beach Diet customer reviews & ratings

In my search for verified customer reviews of the South Beach Diet, I was surprised to find that the best resource for honest reviews, testimonials, and complaints was actually on their own website. They don’t seem to attempt to hide the bad ones either, as there were a couple one-star reviews featured on the first page.

The success rate indicates whether customers successfully lost weight. Although an actual success rate or percentage is not published, we can consult 300+ online ratings and user reviews to estimate a success rate:

  • Positive Ratings: 60% of customers rate the diet favorably (4+ stars)
  • Neutral Ratings: 13% of users give the South Beach Diet a neutral rating (3-stars)
  • Negative Ratings: 27% of customers rate the diet negatively (1-2 stars)

Customer ratings infer that the success rate of the South Beach Diet is 60%, with the balance of the ratings being either neutral or negative. Experts rate the diet well for short term weight loss results, but not as well for long-term success.

Independent Study: A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2004) compared the South Beach Diet with the government’s National Cholesterol Education Plan (sounds exciting!) and found that over a 12 week period 60 South Beach dieters lost about 13.5 pounds compared to 7.5 pounds on the NCEP plan.

Anyway, for every bad review there are at least two good ones, so check out our infographic above to see how the ratings were distributed. Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of the South Beach Diet.

South Beach Diet: Negative Reviews


Having been around for so long, there have been thousands of South Beach Diet reviews, but a lot of these reviews are based on the South Beach Diet book, and not the meal delivery diet.

It’s also important to remember that not every diet will work for every person. A successful diet should be compatible with the personality and lifestyle of the individual. Having said that, here are top complaints from South Beach Diet customers:

Top User Complaints: (Cons)

  1. Food Taste: The most common complaint in bad reviews is that people didn’t like the taste of the food. Some mentioned that the food was spicy, or even “inedible,” while others quit after several months because they missed eating more “real” (restaurant / home-cooked) food. The portion sizes are also smaller than some customers expected.
  2. Expensive: With a $300+ /mo. price tag, (plus fresh fruit and veggies) the South Beach Diet doesn’t fit into every budget. Even though their meals replace most of the ones you’re buying now, many users complained about the relatively high price
  3. Not Working: The diet didn’t work for a number of people, who lost motivation and didn’t make the adjustment to scheduled, pre-made, pre-portioned meals
  4. Cancellation Policy: A number of bad reviews expressed anger after trying to quit. Basically, if you cancel auto-delivery before the second month delivery, you are charged a cancellation fee of $125  more
  5. Nutrisystem is Better– A number of users who tried both South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem preferred the latter for both food and price. (compare

As with any diet, weight loss should be the happy result of living a healthier lifestyle, and not just a single end goal. If prepared meal delivery and being told “what to eat and when” sounds constrictive, maybe this diet is not for you?

South Beach Diet Alternatives? If you like the idea of meal delivery and a structured eating plan, consider Nutrisystem, a similar diet that customers and experts rate well. If you like the idea of a DIY diet based on counting points (with no forbidden foods) check out Weight Watchers!

Positive Reviews:

Well, if 11 million people have tried the South Beach Diet (online or book) then they must be doing something right?! The majority of users leave a positive review or rating, so let’s look at the positives of the South Beach Diet.

Common Praise: (Pros)

  1. The Diet Works – Positive reviews are likely to include specific weight loss results. The most common theme among good reviews is that people achieved real weight loss results
  2. Structured – Meal delivery is not for everyone, but many turn to it after other DIY diets fail them. The South Beach Diet sends you food each month and tells you what to eat and when. If you follow their plan and stay active, the math infers that you will lose weight each week
  3. Convenient: Preparing meals is time-consuming. Many customers rated the South Beach Diet highly for convenience, and mentioned the hours they save not planning meals, cooking, and calculating portions
  4. Food Is Good – No one claimed in their review that the South Beach Diet food rivals gourmet restaurants. However, a lot of people were happy with the food quality and flavor, and that they were content with eating it as a means to lose weight.
  5. Flexible – The South Beach Diet allows you to have a weekly meal out along with several home cooked meals each week, which a number of users look forward to.

Most customers find that the convenience and effectiveness of the South Beach Diet outweighs the potential sacrifices you must make to be successful. I imagine that people who really like this diet might think of it as a long airplane flight; the food isn’t spectacular and there are restrictions, but ultimately it gets you to a better place! *Related: South Beach Diet vs Nutrisystem

OK, we’ve listened to the wisdom of the masses, now let’s see what the experts say:

Expert Reviews / Ratings:

south beach diet expert reviews
South beach diet expert reviews / ratings U.S. News. (Playful beach man not included)

U.S. news recently asked a panel of health and diet experts to rate the South Beach Diet on a number of criteria. As you can see, the diet gets good reviews for “short-term weight loss,” but a bad review for “long-term weight loss,” as customers seem to lose enthusiasm, and tire of the food.

  • Short-term weight loss: Experts give the diet a 3.4/5 rating
  • Long-term weight loss: Experts give the diet a 2.4/5 rating

Here’s more about the South Beach Diet:

How Much Does It Cost?

diet cost

The South Beach diet ships you meals every month, and when you signup you are automatically on auto-delivery. This means that your credit card is charged each month at the same rate that you paid at signup.

This is why it’s so important to find the best promotion available, because you will be billed at that rate every month going forward.

If you signup with today’s new customer promotion for 40% off, the South Beach diet costs about $10-12 per day or $300-350 per month. depending on the plan.

*Best price? Click to apply discount, or view all coupons

*Want to know more? We explain the costs in detail here!

What are the Meals Like?

south beach diet meals

When you sign up for the South Beach Diet meal delivery, you’ll get four weeks of meals designed to support the South Beach Diet three-phase plan.

The South Beach Diet calls for dieters to eat six times a day. To do this, the meal plan features both meals and snacks.

The basic meal delivery plan includes only the meals for two weeks. It averages around $10.75 per day. With this basic plan, you must supply your own healthy snacks in order to properly follow the plan.

There are plenty of snacks that fit the diet available in any grocery store. The South Beach Diet plan will provide you with plenty of ideas for healthy snacks, like hard boiled eggs, carrots, or avocado toast.

Customizing meals: By default you’ll get the “chef’s picks” for meal delivery, but you can customize that through your online preferences for future orders. For your first order they recommend that you stick with the Chef’s Picks, as it gives you a sampling of their most popular foods.

You can also opt to include snacks in your South Beach Diet delivery plan for just $40 extra for four weeks worth of healthy snacks high in protein.

Should you add snacks? South Beach Diet reviews are mixed about whether the snack option is a must or not, so if you skip the snacks, have some protein or Kind bars handy as a good substitute. You can buy them in bulk pretty cheaply on Amazon.

Jesse James Decker Is On the S. Beach Diet:

*Frivolous slow motion beach-frolicking not included!

Is the South Beach Diet Right for You?

If you’re tried fad diets and failed to lose weight, have trouble cutting too many foods from your diet, or just want a healthier lifestyle, South Beach Diet might be the right choice for you.

The South Beach Diet reviews make it clear that anyone, with a little determination, can be successful with this diet. If you want to learn more, they’ll give you 40% off the price. You can also check out all of today’s specials here.

If you don’t think that the South Beach Diet is for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of other effective diets out there that can help you achieve your weight loss goal!


15 thoughts on “South Beach Diet Reviews: Does It Really Work?

  1. Sally

    Food is horrible. You can do diet by making your own food which will be healthier. Frozen foods are cardboard processed food. Don’t waste money.

  2. John Barrett

    Complaint: Horrible way to do business. You don’t realize you’re signing up for a subscription plan, and they charge you $125 to cancel. Deceptive marketing and sales practices! Awful.

    1. Connie Z Melchizedek

      Yes John. I wish I had taken the time to read all the reviews before I went ahead and purchased South Beach Diet. I only wanted a one month trial to make sure I wanted the subscription or not. The crook on the other end told me that the monthly package was 500 dollars and in order for me to get the $345 deal I had to agree to a two months purchase. I stressed to him that all I needed was the two months and no more. He assured me that it was all he was going to bill for. I got a 3rd shipment and my credit card was charged this month. I called to tell them it was a mistake, they tell me no, I automatically signed up for a continuous subscription the moment I received the 2nd package. There is absolutely no refund and they will not accept the food back. The food is not fresh when you get it, it has no variety, most of it is chili and some rotten really bad tasting chicken dish. Not a good way to do business. Terrible. I pray every one gets to read this review before purchasing anything from these people. I begged them to listen to the so called recorded conversation between myself and their sales person, they refused. I am sure they encourage the deceptive practice anyway. I posted a review and they took it down. Thieves.

    2. Mike

      Agree with, John! Awful customer service! But it’s a good thing the food is terrible! Try a different plan, the South Beach Diet is awful. I just wish I would have read these reviews before I ordered.

  3. Sad N Sorry

    Do not order. It is not a low-carb diet. I received many meals that were slightly over 200 cal but yet were 25 carbs. It is true that you will pay $125 to cancel this. It is absolutely deceptive marketing, untruthful dietary statements and a phone staff that is nothing short of criminal. You will be sorry if you buy into this crap.

  4. Bobbie Maggs

    I love the food and I am a food snob. When I called, they told me right up from that it would be two-months with a cancellation fee of $125.00. Therefore, take your chances. I am losing weight and I am excited. Thank You!
    PS… I tried Nutrisystem and the food is horrible.

  5. Ariel

    I’m not seeing a huge difference between south beach and nutrisystem? looks like the same food, is that true? If so, it looks like South Beach is more expensive, (and there’s a number of bad user reviews) so why pay more?


    I have been on South Beach for a little short of 4 weeks. I have lost 11 1/2 pounds. I don’t find the food too bad, but I ordered what I wanted. I tried 1 or 2 of most frozen foods, and only found about 3 that I really didn’t like. I did Nutrisystem several years ago, and those vacuum packed meals were disgusting. I am only doing frozen with South Beach. My only problem has been (sorry about this) constipation. Which surprises me since I am eating more veggies and drinking lots more water. So far the only complaint I have is the customer service, which is terrible. The website also has issues, and it is hard to get anyone to help you. The Chat is a joke.

  7. Dawn

    So… I tried to start a new healthy eating lifestyle change by trying out the “South Beach Diet”….The food was ok but not for the $300 + I spent. Couldn’t eat half of the stuff for one reason or another. So, I figured…Lesson learned, cancel the program. When I get to the “Cancel subscription” page, I see this…”With auto-delivery, we’ll ship your plan every 4 weeks, unless you tell us not to. You can cancel at any time by calling 1-888-841-2620. If you cancel prior to paying for your second shipment, your payment method will credit South Beach Diet $125 for the auto-delivery discount you received on your first shipment. You may cancel any time after the second shipment with no charge whatsoever.” ….Are you EFFEN KIDDING ME???? You’re going to charge me back the free shipping? EF YOU! Here’s my advice….DO NOT EFFEN DO IT!!! Warn any and all of your friends to NOT do it. Man I am pissed!

  8. South Beach Diet Alternative?

    South Beach Diet is OK. There are a lot of complaints on this page,and here’s what I’ll say. People don’t like the small portions and frozen food, but it was my bad decisions with food (and big portions) that made me have to go on a diet like South Beach to begin with. If you are going to try meal delivery diet, try Nutrisystem instead. It’s cheaper, a little better, and even made by the same company as South Beach Diet!

  9. Anne

    The calorie allotment is so low per day that I felt like I would pass out. Only 1000 calories per day for a woman in phase one of South Beach. I felt hungry pretty much ALL THE TIME! Sometimes just a little hungry and at the end of the day extremely hungry. Then I would microwave my little frozen meal – and little is was – I would eat it and then still feel miserably hungry. The food is not good. Just passable. Definitely not quality worth the price! The bars and shakes are not bad and if I could get them separately, I would use them as a meal replacement when I have a busy schedule. The bad food and lack of quantity of food is so misery making that I wish I’d never gotten rooked into this deal. At this point, I’m willing to PAY $125 for not having to endure another month of this awful food! Even in Phase 2 of South Beach, you are only allowed 1200 calories per day. How can you possibly exercise and carry on a life? I definitely DON’T recommend the South Beach Diet! Buy the book instead, try to incorporate the ideas in to a sensible plan and make sure you get enough healthy calories so that you don’t feel faint and you’ll lose weight just fine.

  10. Denise Treadwell

    I don’t understand all of the chocolate and nuts that you eat in South Beach Phase One. I have eaten more chocolate (or drank in shakes) than ever, as I rarely eat chocolate… I gained 2 lbs in the first 4 days. I stuck to their chocolate and nut diet with a little bit of meat and sauce, and some raw vegetables, and I gained weight! I broke down and cried.

  11. Ellen Roberts

    I’ve been on South Beach since July 28 and have lost 12 lbs. i don’t mind the food in fact I think it is better than Nutrisystem as there are lots of frozen foods. One of my problems is stomach issues and bad headaches. I feel like I have a hangover and those days are long gone! I have chewing tums all day. Perhaps I really need the bad food! LOL! My sugar has been great! My one really bad problem is the customer service! They are the very worst! They talk over you and I got into a screaming match with the hitch I was talking to. They obviously have never heard that the customer is always right. I think that they think they are always talking to someone who wants to cancel! Very rude. I just ordered my second auto ship and probably will cancel after I get it so I don’t have to deal with their consultants and cancellation policy! They seriously need training in dealing with their customers!!

  12. Julie

    My husband and I just started the diet. So far so good. Some of the meals we dont like but are able to trade with each other! We went thru Walmart! A bit cheaper and no “subscription”! We’ll see how it goes! I do find I am a bit hungry though. We are supplementing the dinner meals with a small, VERY low fat and no carb salad. I may opt to cook the meals going forward after our first week is finished.

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