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.
What is the South Beach Diet?
Here’s what the South Beach Diet is: 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?)
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?
Here’s how the diet works: (from southbeachdiet.com)
- Eat the right carbs and healthy fats to keep you satisfied while losing weight
- Lose weight with a nutritionally sound plan that consists of a wide variety of wholesome foods
- 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?
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.
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
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.
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 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.
In my search for honest customer reviews of the South Beach Diet, I was surprised to find that the best resource for both testimonials and complaints was their own site. 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.
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 common reasons why users praised or hated 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 Complaints from Users:
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
OK, we’ve listened to the wisdom of the masses, now let’s see what the experts say:
Expert Reviews / Ratings:
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.
*Related: South Beach Diet vs Nutrisystem
Here’s more about the South Beach Diet:
How Much Does It 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 per day or $280 per month.
Optional snacks: At checkout you’ll be given the option to add (20) protein snacks to your monthly shipments. If you do, the same promotional price jumps to about $11.50 per day or $316 per month.
Click to apply discount, or view all coupons
So, whether or not you add snacks doesn’t make a huge price difference, but over the course of a year those snacks will cost you over $1 per day, or about $400 per year. *We explain the costs in detail here!
What are the Meals Like?
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.
Does It Work? Success rate / Study Results:
The success rate indicates whether customers successfully lost weight. Although an actual success rate or percentage is not published, we can consult the ratings and reviews to estimate a success rate:
- User ratings: 61% of customers rate the diet 4+ stars
- 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
Customer ratings infer that the success rate of the South Beach Diet is 61%, (4+ stars) 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.
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!