Working within the fitness industry for the last seven years, I fully understand the importance of following a clean diet. Many people, however, don’t put too much stock in nutrient dense foods as an important component of sustainable weight loss. Starving themselves on regular basis, they seriously risk their health.
And while restrictive diets are dotting the map, I wanted to focus on something different, something more balanced. The South Beach Diet, therefore, is a sustainable approach to losing weight, and despite many South Beach Diet reviews around the net there is a surprising lack of insight. We hope to remedy this by writing an extensive South beach diet review. You’ll read everything you need to know, while we give this review the extensive treatment it deserves.
But let’s make a short and quick D-tour before continuing with the rest of this review. Who the heck am I?
Fitness blogger and former coach, I’m now the co-founder of Fitness Updated – the first fully personalized fitness platform. Still loyal to my audience at Lifestyle Updated, I’m continually writing fitness articles and reviews. Truth is – I love the process, despite seriously lacking time.
What should you expect from this South Beach Diet review?
If you ever had the chance to read one of our extensive reviews on Lifestyle Updated, you are already familiar with the in-depth approach to evaluating products and services. Being a product creator myself, I insist on writing in detail.
I’ll explain everything you need to know about the South Beach Diet, and leave you informed enough to make the calculus by yourself. So let’s begin…
What is the South Beach Diet?
Designed by world-renowned cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatson, the South beach diet is a book-turned-meal delivery service. Dr. Agatson designed a clean and sustainable approach to eating healthy, and the book sold millions of copies. Needless to say, it achieved international fame.
But while the book has countless of reviews to vouch for its method, the South Beach Diet meal delivery service has almost none. Most reviews on the net, you see, are inaccurate in the sense they all cover the book, and hence diet method only. This South Beach Diet review will go over the method, yes, but the meal delivery service as well, providing insight for each.
The meal delivery service ships fully prepared dishes, delivering them straight to your door. They also send free shakes, while FedEx shipping is included as a gift. The food you’ll receive follows the South Beach diet method, ranging between wide varieties of meals.
Each week, you’ll receive a package with the sum total of 7 days’ worth of meals. Including breakfast, lunch and dinner (snacks are optional, and free shakes – 7 of them – are delivered with your first order).
Details about the South Beach diet
While many diets focus on restrictive eating and counting calories, the South beach diet follows a not-so-intuitive approach to losing weight. You’ll be eating clean and healthy, while feeling content and satiated.
The macro nutrients come from lean protein sources, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
You’ll be asked to type in your height, gender, current weight and goal weight as well. From the looks of it, the diet is heavily personalized, taking into account your ideal caloric intake.
Non-restrictive and packed with nutrient dense foods, it is rather close to a Mediterranean approach to eating. The claim is that you can lose 14lbs in 2 weeks, and up to 24lbs total.
They also pride themselves in having sold 11+ million copies of both book and meal delivery service combined.
How does it works?
Packed with nutrient dense foods, the South Beach diet is designed to transform your metabolism, make you burn fat, lose weight and build muscle tissue (if active).
It provides slow release of both carbs and protein, keeping you energized throughout the day, while your entire system is being properly fed.
Low in added sugars, refined starches, and with no artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners, the South Beach diet is a safe and healthy approach to losing weight.
You’ll eat 3 main meals and 3 snacks per day, staying full and satisfied thanks to a high fiber intake. The premise of the entire diet is to keep you satiated while providing you exactly what you need concerning the number of calories and macronutrients.
While other diets are designed to test your metal, this one feels like a sympathetic tap on the shoulder.
You can very well use the book and prepare each meal separately, but the meal delivery service is basically saying this – why untie a knot when you can cut it with your sword? Instead of doing kitchen prep, and learning from the bottom, here is the hands-off solution.
I’ve spend months designing the nutrition program behind Fitness Updated, together with my wife who has deep understanding of nutrition principles, and both of us agree that this is the only way to stay on a healthy diet for prolonged periods of time. Balance, that is. Otherwise, it becomes exceedingly difficult.
The diet, primarily, is designed with medical purposes – to help people lose weight, lower their cholesterol and prevent heart disease. And though many of us are adamant when it comes to such scenarios (“Not me, I’m healthy”), losing track and going downhill is easier than it seems. Unfortunately, in real life, ominous music rarely plays before shit hits the fan.
This association, of course, is very unfortunate, as the man who fancies himself the rational type automatically things “Oh, that’s definitely not me”. My post-wedding period, however, taught me to never rest in such confidence. Few months of increased workload and not-so-disciplined eating habits can easily flip the scale.
Reviewing the 3 phases of the South Beach Diet
The goal of the South Beach diet, besides the apparent aim to make you lose weight and get healthy, is to provide you with a course for life on how to make better food choices.
Its structure, therefore, follows 3 phases.
From the slightly restrictive 1st phase, you move, through the 2nd, towards the constraints of a generally relaxed caloric limit. The diet itself becomes progressively less restrictive, allowing you to eat and enjoy virtually all foods imaginable.
Phase 1 is your 7-day body reboot. It’s a way of resetting your glucose levels, so the body enters a partial state of ketosis – where fat tissue, instead of carbohydrates, is being used as an energy source.
The high protein & low carb meals, snack bars, and shakes, will work towards reducing cravings for sugar and starches, and you’ll be losing weight without feeling hungry. The 1st phase is also gluten free.
This phase will basically convert fat into energy, and slightly shift your internal chemistry.
You can stay in phase 2 until your weight loss goals are achieved. Here, however, the process slows down, and you are losing weight steadily at about 2 pounds per week. The meals though, become progressively more caloric, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and more healthy fats.
You’ll receive simple fitness tips (more on that later), and learn to make better food choices by having 2 DIY meals for breakfast, dinner and lunch, that you can prepare using the ingredients provided.
This phase is more flexible, and you can start to incorporate the principles from the South Beach diet while personalizing the meals as well.
The goal of phase 3 is to maintain healthy weight without hunger or depravation. It allows all foods, in moderation, teaching you how to follow the principles for optimal health.
By the time you reach this phase, you’ll look your best and continue to eat –as they say – healthy and happy for life.
Here is what I personally think about each phase
Writing this South Beach diet review, I think that the idea of sustainability is spot-on and crucial for success. I’ve trained many people and understand, all too intimately, the frustration in having to deal with strict exercise regimens.
Having said that, the first week, though not heavily restrictive, can still cause some minor hunger issues.
I appreciate the fact that they don’t fight to keep you dependent for life, and instead empower people to move ahead on their own, making healthy choices.
You’ll learn how to move from a low-carb week, with no sugar and alcohol, to eat-everything-you-want-in-moderation with a glass of wine every once in a while.
The weight loss, as you probably imagine, follows a symptomatic curve – sharp drop at the very beginning, supplemented with slow and steady progress as you move forward. You can, however, keep yourself within the second phase until your goal is being reached.
How to pick your South Beach diet meal plan?
Before placing your order, there is a default option titled Chef’s picks.
It is basically a package containing varied dishes, and some of the most popular meals from the entire diet program, so you can later pick your favorites.
With the Chef’s picks, you’ll receive the Phase 1 reboot kit for the entire first week, and start losing weight fast. Then you’ll receive meals for phase 2. The basic idea behind this package is for you to sample the entire palate, and pick with confidence later (you can always change your program). The meals catalogue is a kaleidoscope run wild – hardly any ingredient is left out.
If you decide to crate the entire menu by yourself – by picking each meal separately – phase 1 still remains fixed, and you’ll only be allowed to choose for phase 2.
The selection, should you decide to follow this process, happens after checkout.
The food choices are rich indeed and the great thing about each meal is that there is quality transparency, where every verified customer can post reviews on each meal separately. Browsing through the meals, you’ll see honest reviews for each dish.
A review of what is included
Each package is a 4-week plan, with week-to-week delivery in front of your door (free FedEx shipping). You’ll also get 7 shakes each packing 20 grams of protein along with probiotics for better digestion and flat abdomen.
The price of the monthly package is $299, which comes down to $10.71 per day. Should you decide to include snacks as well (3 per day, for the entire month – 4 weeks to be precise), you’ll pay an additional $40 which brings the package down to $12.14 per day.
You can pause, update, or cancel your subscription any time you like, by calling their number (1-888-841-2620 – do note that it can change, so look at their official page if the service is unavailable). Make sure, however, to read the fine print! Not a single one of the South Beach diet reviews around the internet is telling you this:
Due to the nature of the product, there are no returns and refunds. And there is also the issue with the Auto-delivery option. It is set by default, which means that a single purchase will subscribe you to continuous monthly orders, unless you call their number and cancel by phone.
Should you decide to cancel the subscription before the second order, you’ll have to return the $125 difference, included in the auto-delivery discount.
To sum up, it’s either two monthly orders and cancel whenever you like no fees whatsoever; or the first monthly order and cancel before the second, by having to pay back the $125 (previously given as a discount).
Also consider the possibility of paying lip service and inviting friends, by following the option “refer a friend” located right next to the Log in button on their website. This way, your friend gets a $30 off his first order, and you get a $30 off your next order as well.
Additional tools for free
Included in your package are the Quick start guide, Daily meal planner, and a complete Handbook with tips and tons of recipes on how to customize each meal, or prepare different meals altogether.
They also provide you with access to the South beach Diet app, so you can stay on track.
But let’s go over the pros and cons…
South Beach diet review – the pros
- First of all, you’ll be relieved for not having to count calories.
- The diet goes on for as long as you want, and you can customize on the fly, which is definitely another plus
- You’ll be satisfied with the amount of calories, and hunger will not be an issue
- There is a lot of flexibility (eating out, customizing meals, DIY breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- The South Beach diet doesn’t depend on exercise in order to work
- You’ll lose weight and lower your cholesterol
- There is plenty of different foods to enjoy
- There is a plan specifically designed for people who have diabetes (you’ll have to call the company first though)
- Highly personalized – there is an option to choose your meals
- Effective against high blood pressure and recommended for heart disease prevention
- Vegetarian and vegan friendly options
- First week gluten free
- I can say relatively affordable considering how the food comes fully prepared and delivered to your door
South Beach diet review – the cons
Despite offering tons of value for the money, the South Beach diet has some drawbacks.
- At the time of writing this review, the package can ship only to continental US and nowhere else
- The Auto-delivery option incentivizes you to order a second package, for you’ll have to pay $125 when canceling earlier than the second shipment. Many people might fail to read the fine print, and feel ripped off afterwards
- Many South Beach Diet reviews and comments are piling up on the net, complaining about the small portion size. Some people say that the pictures are misleading, given how small each serving is
- Many online comments complain about the taste, saying it tastes mediocre, while some are utterly disappointed
- Considering portion size, you can save $$ by buying the ingredients and cooking them by yourself
These points invariably illuminate several flaws, so shine is off the apple. Each is highly subjective, so I’m betting dollars to doughnuts that while some folks are going to love the meals, others won’t.
Considering everything from above, you’ll have to make the calculus all by yourself. Pity, however, is the fact that you’ll have to return $125 for wanting to cancel the monthly subscription before the second order. That way, should you decide that you don’t fancy the food, your one month excursion will cost $299 (basic package without snacks) + $125 cancellation fee for cancelling before the second order = $424. For my taste (no pun intended) that is a bit much.
You can however, continue trying to lose weight within the orthodox format – the book by Dr. Agatson containing the entire South Beach diet is more than enough to help you on your journey. It has tons of recipes, tips, strategies and hacks that ease the entire process. The cost varies slightly depending on whether you choose a hardcover or a paperback. It is very affordable (as all books are), and available on Amazon.
It also includes expert hacks on how to use farmer’s markets and buy in bulk in order to save money. You’ll even get coupon codes as well.
The Book gives you the entire method and all of the principles. Should you decide to walk the solo-road these provide the necessary backbone – the proper framework – on which you can build your healthy diet.
Our intent with writing this South Beach Diet review wasn’t about bashing their service, no! You can observe all the other fitness related reviews that we publish and find tons of praise. We like to give credit only where credit is due.
If you are on your first attempt to lose weight, the odds against success might prove overwhelming – especially if you are trying to combine both exercise and healthy eating. While the first is very important, many people routinely underestimate the second. The truth is, both work, more or less in tandem. Doing one without the other – sorry for lacking a more poetic description – feels like pissing in the wind.
Should you decide to go with the book only, it might require herculean effort. Eating crispy clean could eventually erase the need for physical exercise altogether, but it’s a gamble.
Trying both – simultaneously – you’ll need motivation, and the best way to sustain it is by either purchasing a fitness program, subscribing to a gym, buying a piece of exercise equipment, or choosing a fitness tracker.
In light of this, we’ve created Fitness Updated – an affordable solution that you can try for free – 7 days, no credit card required, no phone number to fill in or anything else! Just log in, and start following your personalized program.
- You’ll have unlimited access to the workout library
- Daily guidance and motivation
- A personalized program to follow (with specifically arranged videos and meals)
- As well as a personalized nutrition program with dozens of simple-to-prepare recipes
Fitness Updated can be accessed through any device with an internet browser, any time you like. You’ll be able to track your progress, customize the workout calendar, and let our sophisticated algorithm modify your workout program when necessary. Simply give one-click feedback after each workout and leave the rest to us – just as if you were training with a professional coach.
Best of all? It’s super affordable!
After the free 7 day trial period (neither credit card, nor phone number required), the regular price for a monthly subscription is $9.95, and the yearly option is set at $79.95. And it gets even more affordable for the trial users, on the third day of the trial you’ll get a 30% discount on both the monthly and yearly subscriptions.
I hope this South Beach Diet review was detailed and informative. If it managed to clear just a tiny portion of the fog, my job here is done. I also hope that you have enough information to come up with a verdict on your own.
If you are not excited, and would rather prefer one of the alternatives, I’m glad for providing several options. Consider them not a lousy attempt to redirect your purchasing decision, but a timely and sincere suggestion. I’ve been in the trying-to-lose-weight boat once, and can very well remember the struggle.
So here is to healthy choices, and a sustainable fitness journey!