Updates to the South Beach Diet

Restrictions Lifted and Recommended Foods Expanded

Healthy foods on the South Beach Diet
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"The South Beach Diet" book was first published in 2003 and became an immediate bestseller, selling over eight million copies and leading to the purchase of the company by Nutrisystem in 2015.

The diet has three stage, known as phases, during which the proportion of carbohydrates is gradually increased while the proportions of fats and protein are simultaneously decreased. The diet is comprised of a list of recommended food such as lean meats, vegetables, and "good" (mostly monounsaturated) fats.

The South Beach Diet is based on three meals per day and makes no restriction on calorie intake. It differs from other low-carb diets in that it does not require dieters to cut out carbohydrates entirely or even measure their intake. Instead, the diet incorporates foods with low glycemic index (GI) values which have less of an impact on blood glucose levels.

Since its introduction in 2003, the South Beach Diet has gone through several updates, the most recent of which was released in tandem with the publication of "The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life" in 2008.

Here are some of the major changes to the South Beach Diet you should be aware of:

Additional Dairy Allowed

The South Beach Diet previously called for the exclusion of all dairy products in Phase 1 with the exception of a small amount of fat-free, nonfat, one-percent, or soy milk for coffee. The list has since been expanded so that the daily allowance during Phase 1 now includes:

  • Up to two cups of low-fat milk or yogurt
  • Up to two tablespoons of fat-free evaporated milk or half & half
  • All the low-fat cheese (six grams or less of fat per ounce) needed to reduce hunger

You can consume the full amount of dairy in one meal or spread it out during the day.

No Restriction on Tomatoes and Onions

While tomatoes were initially restricted in the South Beach Diet, they can now be consumed in any quantity during any phase of the diet. Similarly, onions were limited to only one-half of an onion per day. They can also now be consumed in any amount during any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Carrots Allowed

Previously, carrots were on the "Foods to Avoid" list in the first two phases, while their intake was limited in Phase 3. That restriction has since been adjusted, and you can now enjoy carrots along with all other vegetables starting from Phase 2.

Supercharged List of Foods

While the principles of the South Beach Diet remain unchanged, the 2008 ​version updated revised and expanded the list of recommended food for all phases. In addition to the above-listed food items, you can consume:

  • Lean meat containing 10 grams or less of total fat and 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, including veal, lamb, game meats, beef, poultry, fish, and shellfish
  • One-third to one-half cup of legumes per day so long as they are not packed with sugar
  • A minimum of two cups of vegetables with lunch and dinner (although you need to avoid beets, carrots, corn, green peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, turnips, and yams during Phase 1)
  • Nut and seeds (although you must limit your intake to one serving per day during Phase 1)
  • Up to two tablespoons of unsaturated plant oils including olive, flaxseed, safflower, sesame, sunflower, soybean, and grapeseed