Condiments and Sauces Allowed on the South Beach Diet

Add a punch of flavor while keeping to the plan

Preserving jar of homemade basil pesto
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Whether on a diet or not, condiments can often make the meal. They offer the punch of flavor that can elevate even the simplest of foods while providing the rich "mouth feel" that is often lacking in low-fat foods.

Flavor was one of the aspects that the creators of the South Beach Diet focused on developing when their weight loss plan. The condiments provide you a canvas of flavor and can help you avoid the feeling of deprivation that can develop when starting any diet. By substituting calories for flavor, you can enjoy your meals and feel better about yourself as you stick to the rules of the plan.

Goals of the South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is not a quick weight loss plan but rather a structured lifestyle program laid out in three key steps:

  • Phase 1 is conducted over two weeks and prohibits the intake of all grain products, starches, alcohol, and sugar (including fruit and fruit juices). The phase of the diet is designed to trigger your initial weight loss while weaning you off the craving for sugar and carbs.
  • Phase 2 is the stage where you gradually lose weight until you meet your ideal goal. It emphasizes slow-and-steady weight loss. A wider range of foods is introduced in this phase with a clear outline as to how much you can eat and in what proportion.
  • Phase 3 is the maintenance stage where you maintain your ideal weight by reinforcing the practices you learned in Phase 2. The focus here in on learned lifestyle rather than weight control.

Acceptable Condiments and Sauces on the South Beach Diet

Insofar as condiments are concerned, you can add them to any meal in any phase so long as they are less than 35 calories and three grams of carbohydrates per serving.

The South Beach Diet condiment list is pretty much in line with other low-carb diet plans. The main no-nos are the hidden sugars and carbs. This requires you to read the ingredient labels extra closely when shopping.

Among the condiments on the South Beach Diet "do" list:

  • Mustards (except sweetened mustards)
  • Cider and wine vinegar
  • Low-carb balsamic vinegar
  • Low-carb rice wine vinegar
  • Low-carb Worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil and other healthy oils
  • Most bottled hot sauces
  • Most salsas (check for added sugar)
  • Low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • Mayonnaise (made with monounsaturated rather than polyunsaturated fat)
  • Sugar-free salad dressings
  • Low-carb jams and preserves
  • Capers
  • Horseradish
  • Pesto
  • Herbs and spices (avoid spice mixes with sugar)
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Vanilla, lemon, and other extracts
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Low-carb ketchup
  • Dill pickle relish

Condiments and Sauces to Avoid on the South Beach Diet

No ketchup? Unfortunately, this sugar-rich condiment is firmly on the South Beach Diet "don't" list. Moreover, you will likely need to pass up on any tomato-based condiment as well as most prepared Asian sauces in which sugar is almost inevitably included.

The top 10 condiments to avoid on the South Beach Diet include:

  • Regular ketchup
  • Tomato-based chili sauce
  • Cocktail sauce (unless sugar-free)
  • Salad dressings with sugar
  • Tartar sauce
  • Asian plum sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce, oyster sauce, and teriyaki sauce
  • Steak sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Jams, jellies, preserves
  • Chutneys

Finally, when cooking, one of the tricks to help overcome butter craving is to substitute butter with "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray. This not only limits your intake but provides that extra pop of flavor whenever cooking lean cuts of meat, poultry, or seafood.

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