South Beach Diet

How does the South Beach Diet work?

Developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston in Miami, Florida (hence the name), this best-selling book has been popular for the past couple decades as a meal plan to help you lose weight and keep it off. How does it work, and is it effective? I set out to answer that in my review below.

What is the South Beach Diet?

Each diet that I review on here has its own tenets that it follows. In the South Beach Diet, the focus is to steer clear off “bad” carbohydrates and fats and to consume “good” carbs and healthy fats instead. For anyone who is trying to eat healthily, these are good principles to follow. The meals in this diet plan are very low in carbs and high in lean protein. If you go to too extreme on both of these fronts (in terms of carb and protein intake), there can be adverse problems, but Dr. Agatston has measured these amounts out to a science to getting you the precise amount you need in a healthy way.

Phases of the South Beach Diet

Like other diets, this one is split into phases or cycles that determine what you eat. There are three phases in the South Beach Diet: Body Reboot, Steady Weight Loss, and the Maintenance phase.

Body Reboot

This phase is adhered to for one week and consists of three meals and two snacks on each day. Snacks are typically a shake or nutritional bar, so don’t get carried away thinking you can snack on what you want. The meals are focused on lean proteins like fish, turkey, or soy, along with non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats.

Steady Weight Loss

This is where you’ll consume the “good carbs”. On these days you’ll eat three meals and three snacks. You can find out more information on the foods that this entails in this best-selling book on this diet.


There are no limitations during this phase, you can eat whatever you want. However, don’t take that literally. The literature for this diet provides advice on healthy choices in the kitchen, a lifestyle that you can continue to follow for better health.

Does It Work?

This diet will only work as well as you follow it. You could say that about every diet, but it is especially true with this one. Other diets have a very rigid meal schedule that you cannot deviate from. This one, particularly during the Maintenance Phase, gives you the control of what you eat. It’s up to you to make healthy choices.

The principle behind this diet is the ketosis method, which is transitioning the body into using stored fats as energy, as opposed to using sugars for energy. This boosting of the metabolism helps to burn fat faster and provides longer-term results.

My Thoughts

I like that the restrictions in this diet are not too harsh. Some other meal plans, like the Cabbage Soup Diet (described here), are way too rigid for my liking. This puts me in more control of what I eat, and the book I read has lots of recipes and suggested meal plans that make this easy to abide by. There were a lot of delicious options and I never felt hungry or unsatisfied. There is a reason why the South Beach Diet became so popular! If you’d like to get more information, I strongly suggest you take a look at this book.

Other Diets I Recommend

If the South Beach Diet interests you with its focus on healthy choices, you may also like these other popular diets:

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T.J. LaPanta is a Florida based aspiring comedian and health nut.
When he's not trying to hack his way through a post-graduate degree, he's slaving away in the kitchen, working out, or trying to score a date.

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