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a woman shows off her results following the South Beach Diet

What is the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet was first created Arthur Agatston, a well-known heart doctor, back in 2003 [1]. When Dr. Agatston first invented the diet, it was only available as a book, which featured a weight loss plan, and recipes that you could follow.

Over the last 15+ years, a lot has changed. The diet is now also available as a frozen food delivery service, which sends customers a month’s worth of weight loss food.

No matter which version of the South Beach Diet you choose, though, the founding principles largely remain the same.

It’s mostly known as a low-carb diet [2], but it is less strict than other plans, like Atkins for example. When following South Beach Diet, you don’t have to count carbs, but you will eat a diet that is high in “healthy” fats and protein, and lower in carbohydrates.

What is the Goal of the Diet?

The goal of the South Beach Diet is to help people lose weight in a way that is safe and healthy [3]. While you want to be wary of weight loss promises, the do say most people can expect to lose an average of 1 to 2 pounds per week when following the program.

Their goal is to show you how to lose weight, and also maintain a healthy weight once you reach your goal, through a combination of healthy eating and moderate exercise.

This means it’s a program you can follow whether or not you’re trying to lose weight.

Who Should Consider the South Beach Diet?

  • You enjoy an international-style menu, with plenty of American favorites
  • You like low-carb eating
  • You enjoy protein like beef, chicken, fish
  • Prefer a diet that teaches you skills you can use for life
  • Prefer a meal delivery plan (a “done-for-you” weight loss program)

We always recommend checking with your doctor before starting a new diet and/or exercise program, but if you want to learn more about their delivery program and see the full menu, head to the South Beach Diet website:

How it Works

a diagram explaining how the diet works

Whether you sign up for their delivery service, or simply follow the original The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss book by Dr. Agatston [4], you’ll pretty much be following the same plan.

They call it a “balanced” approach to eating, which involves using the “right mix” of nutrients in all of their meals.

These nutrients include:

  • “Good” Carbs
  • Lean Proteins
  • “Healthy” Fats
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Their goal is to teach you how to eat the “right” way, so you can keep a healthy weight for life [5], by showing the “right” carbs to eat.

They determine good and bad carbs based off the glycemic index. Basically, carbs that elevate your blood sugar are avoided, because they say these can lead to overeating and weight gain.

By eating “good” carbs, they hope to help regulate your hunger, so you don’t overeat, and don’t get hunger pangs.

They also show you the right fats and protein sources to eat. This means avoiding saturated fats, and eating foods that have monounsaturated fats [6] instead.

Lastly, they encourage you to get healthy fiber, by including fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal.

How Many Grams of Net Carbohydrates Do You Eat?

While some consider South Beach Diet to be “low carb,” it’s not as restrictive as other well-known diets like keto or Atkins.

During the first two weeks of South Beach Diet you’ll eat about 50 grams of net carbs per day, but after that expect to eat about 140 grams of net carbs per day.

By comparison, the keto diet includes about 20-30 grams of net carbs per day (see how they compare), while the Atkins diet is somewhere between 20 and 100 grams, depending on which of their programs you’re following [7].

Do You Have to Exercise?

The latest version of the diet recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. If you sign up for their delivery food, they have a free exercise guide that you can download or access via their app.

Exercise options include things as simple as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or even gardening.

South Beach Diet Phases

South Beach Diet follows three main phases, with the first phase being the strictest part of the diet.

  1. Phase 1: Phase 1 of the diet lasts the first two-weeks. The focus is to help adjust to their healthy eating plan, and get rid of your sugar cravings. To make this possible, they eliminate all sugar and most carbs. That means you won’t be eating any pasta, bread, rice, or even fruit [8]. Sugary drinks and alcohol are also eliminated. Most of your diet will consist of protein and non-starch vegetables. They also mix in some nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy.
  2. Phase 2: This is the steady weight loss phase, and you’ll be able to eat some of the foods you eliminated during Phase 1, but in moderation. You can even drink some alcohol, but not more than a glass of wine per night.
  3. Phase 3: When you reach Phase 3, you will have reached your goal weight, and should hopefully be ready to carry these new healthy eating and exercise habits forward for life. You no longer have to follow South Beach Diet, just continue making smart choices.

Sample Menu + Frozen Foods

some of their top menu items

The menu is one of the best parts about South Beach Diet, in our opinion. Remember, we’re talking diet food here, so as long as you go into with realistic expectations, then you should enjoy the food too!

The offer an awesome selection of international-style foods, so there should be options that most people love!

We’re talking meals like Chicken, Broccoli & Rice, Artichoke & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast, Chicken Fajita Bowls, and Garlic-Ginger Beef & Broccoli!

They also have crowd favorites like pizza, breakfast sandwiches, and chicken primavera.

Here’s a small sampling of the more than 101 menu choices they currently offer:


  • Beach Shack Chocolate Shake
  • Canadian Turkey Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Muffin
  • High Protein Pancakes
  • Vegetable Frittata
  • Florentine Omelet

Lunch & Dinner

  • Italian-Style Meatballs in Zesty Tomato Sauce
  • Southern-Style Chicken & Beans in Tangy BBQ Sauce
  • Edamame Chicken
  • Home-Style Creamy Cauliflower & Chicken
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Margherita Pizza
  • White Bean Chicken Chili
  • Roasted Turkey with Herb Gravy
  • Steak & Asparagus
  • 7 Spice Shrimp & Chicken Stir Fry


  • Vanilla and Chocolate Shakes
  • Meat Sticks
  • Salt & Vinegar Multigrain Chips
  • Salted Caramel Protein Puffs
  • Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
  • Fudgy Graham Crumble Bar
  • Whipped Chocolate Almond Bar
  • Nacho Protein Puffs

Remember, this is a very small sampling of all the food they currently have on their menu. Head here to see their full menu of 101+ items.

How Much Weight Can You Lose?

There is no one-sized fits all diet plan, so remember that results will vary from person to person. Based on their research, though, they say people can lose somewhere between 8 and 13 pounds during the first phase [9].

Moving forward, most people should see an average of 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week.

Pros & Cons

the top pros and cons

By now it’s probably pretty obvious what our opinion of the diet is: We’re big fans, and that’s because it easy to follow and it absolutely can help you lose weight when used properly.

Even with all the positives, though, there are some potential downsides for you to think about.


  • Have to Stay Committed to the Plan to Lose Weight
  • Isn’t the Cheapest Delivery (here’s how it compares to Nutrisystem)
  • They Don’t Currently Offer Plans for Vegetarians
  • Diet Food Ins’t for Everyone


  • Lose up to 7 Pounds in First Week
  • Easy to Follow
  • Great for People Who Hate Grocery Shopping
  • Food Tastes Good
  • Lots of Menu Options to Pick From
  • New Keto-Friendly Menu Items
  • Clear Beginning, Middle, and End
  • Proven to be Safe and Healthy
  • Diabetes-Friendly Plan (Talk to your doctor before starting the diet)
  • Generally considered pretty affordable

South Beach Diet Cost: How Much for Delivery?

South Beach Diet ranges in price from $10.36 to $13.93 per day depending on the plan and options you choose [10]. This comes out to be about $289.99 to $389.99 per month for their full meal delivery service. These prices are dependent on your enrollment in their auto-delivery program.

If you decide to buy just the book, it typically starts somewhere around $10, plus the cost of groceries.

Now, let’s take a look at these prices in more detail. Because the diet features several different plans for you to pick from, the prices can vary greatly depending on a number of different factors.

South Beach Diet Frozen Food Delivery Plans

1. Silver

their silver plan

If you’re looking for South Beach Diet’s most affordable plan, then Silver is what you’ve been looking for.

The best part is, it’s still a full-service meal delivery program, so you should be able to expect the same weight loss results as their more expensive plans.

Here’s the pricing breakdown for Silver:


  • Per Day: $10.36 for Women / $11.79 for Men
  • Per Week: $72.52 for Women / $82.53 for Men
  • Per Month: $289.99 for Women / $329.99 for Men

What’s Included

  • Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners
  • Free Tracker App
  • Free FedEx Shipping with Auto Delivery

 2. Gold

Gold is their most popular plan

Want more menu variety and even more convenience? The Gold Plan may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

It’s a bit more than the Silver Plan, but if you want a larger menu, then it’s definitely worth it.


  • Per Day: $11.79 for Women / $12.86 for Men
  • Per Week: $82.53 for Women / $90.02 for Men
  • Per Month: $329.99 for Women / $359.99 for Men

What’s Included

  • Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners
  • Snacks
  • Free Tracker App
  • Free FedEx Shipping with Auto Delivery

3. Platinum

Platinum is their biggest and best menu

Want the very best plan they offer? Then Platinum is what you’ve been looking for. It’s their biggest and best plan ever.

Here’s how much it costs:


  • Per Day: $12.86 for Women / $13.93 for Men
  • Per Week: $90.02 for Women / $97.51 for Men
  • Per Month: $359.99 for Women / $389.99 for Men

What’s Included

  • Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners
  • Snacks
  • 20 South Simply Fit Shakes
  • Free Tracker App
  • Free FedEx Shipping with Auto Delivery

Diabetes Plan

their recently launched menu for diabetics

Their Diabetes plan is the same price as their Gold plan. It’s specially designed for those who are living with type 2 diabetes, and is designed to help:

  • Control blood sugar and lower A1C
  • Give you more Energy

It features 4 weeks of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.

Prices for the diabetes plan are as follows:

  • Per Day: $11.79 for Women / $12.86 for Men
  • Per Week: $82.53 for Women / $90.02 for Men
  • Per Month: $329.99 for Women / $359.99 for Men

New Keto-Friendly Option

Here’s the deal with South Beach Diet’s new keto menu – they don’t have a specific keto plan for you to enroll in, but you can make it a part of the Silver, Gold, or Platinum plans simply by choosing more of their “keto-friendly” meals.

The best way to do this is to select the “I’ll Pick My Menu” option, and then when it comes time to choose your menu items, you can stick with the the foods that have the lowest number of net carbs.

Wondering how South Beach Diet compares to Keto? See our South Beach Diet vs. Keto comparison.

Are There Other Costs to Consider?

groceries are an additional expense to consider


In addition to what you’ll pay for the frozen delivery food every month, you will also have some misc costs for the following:

  • Groceries: Mainly Fresh Vegetables and Fruit
  • Flex Meals: SBD has flex meals built in, so you can expect to pay for meals out, or those that you prepare on your own.

I would say you should easily be able to keep these extra costs at $100 or less, especially if you’re smart with your grocery shopping or buy things on sale.

Of course, these additional costs will totally depend on your dietary needs, if you decide to dine out at restaurants, and how much you want to spend on groceries.

Review Summary

South Beach Diet can be a safe and healthy way to lose weight for most people. While it isn’t always the best fit for everyone, it’s a proven way to lose weight, and has a large body of research [11] and testimonials supporting its results.

You have the option of doing it on your own and simply following their book, or you can go with their full service meal delivery program. Both work great, you’ll just have to decide which option you prefer if you decide you want to give it a try:


  1. About Dr. Arthur Agatston, MD, U.S. News & World Report. Found at
  2. Franziska Spritzer, RD, CDE, South Beach Diet Review and Beginner’s Guide, Healthline. Found at
  3. Mayo Clinic, South Beach Diet. Found at
  4. Arthur Agatston, MD, The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss, Amazon. Found at
  5. How South Beach Diet Works. Found at
  6. Facts about monounsaturated fats, MedlinePlus. Found at
  7. How Does a Low Carb Diet Work? Atkins. Found at
  8. Laura Dolson, What to Expect on the South Beach Diet, Verywell Fit. Found at
  9. Wendy Lee, The South Beach Diet, WebMD. Found at
  10. Weight Loss and Diet Plans, South Beach Diet. Found at
  11. Sarah L Goof, et al, BRIEF REPORT: Nutrition and Weight Loss Information in a Popular Diet Book: Is It Fact, Fiction, or Something in Between? Journal of General Internal Medicine. Found at
  12. Not Convinced SBD is the Right Diet for You? See the Best Alternatives
Megan Ayala
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