The South Beach diet is a low-carb diet focused on the consumption of unsaturated fats, lean meats, and low-glycemic-index carbohydrates.
Made popular in the early 2000s, the diet is one that quickly became popular with fitness communities and regular people alike.
An Incredibly Popular Fad Diet
The South Beach Diet was developed by Arthur Agatston, a celebrity doctor, and Marie Almon, who had been the chief dietitian at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida.
Championed by Agatston, the diet was created in the mid-1990s and was initially called the Modified Carbohydrate Diet, though it was later renamed the South Beach Diet after the neighborhood near where Agatston practiced medicine.
The plan was initially just supposed to be for Agatston’s patients. He built them a personalized eating plan that emphasized fiber and lean protein while categorizing carbs and fats as either “good” or “bad”.
The plan caught on quickly, and in 2003, Agatston released “The South Beach Diet”, and a year later already 8 million copies had been sold.
A Diet Broken Into Phases
Like many diets, the South Beach diet has three different phases.
Phase one typically lasts two weeks and is the strictest phase. It limits fruit, grains, and other high-carb foods.
Phase two can last for as many weeks as it takes to reach an individual’s goal weight. During phase two, foods from phase one such as lean protein, vegetables, and legumes are consumed, as well as limited fruits.
This phase is designed to see weight loss of between 1 and 2 pounds per week.
After reaching the goal weight, a person will start phase three of the process. This stage is the one in which a follower will remain ideally throughout their life, so there aren’t really any “off-limit” foods.
There is a variety of ways the diet can be modified in parts 2 and 3, though part one is fairly strict and far more difficult to change up. However, once you’ve reached part 2, you can begin to reintroduce a greater amount of food into your diet and can determine how long you want to be on the diet itself.
An Evolving Diet
Most recently, the South Beach Diet made headlines after being purchased by Nutrisystem in 2015. The Nutrisystem company then spent $124 million in marketing to rebrand the South Beach Diet and then launched a new line of products in 2017.
An Unsupported Diet
Something to know is that the diet is considered to be safe short-term, but has not been tested for use over short periods of time. Further, the diet lacks fiber, which is usually considered to be beneficial to the digestive system.
An Ever-Popular Diet
The South Beach diet has had a number of celebrity proponents over the last two-and-a-half decades, including Bill Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Eva Mendes, and Kim Cattrall. Described as a “food-lover’s diet”, the diet is one that was heavily promoted by these celebrities as an accessible and effective dieting treatment.
The Consistency Of The South Beach Diet
Though the South Beach diet is considered a fad diet, it has outlasted several similar fad diets due to its adaptability. With new research coming out regarding the safety of the diet, alongside its purchase by Nutrisystem, it’s likely that we’ll see changes to this diet so that it can continue to exist in the future.