Is the Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet Plan Better than Regular Keto?

south beach diet plan

If you’ve been thinking of starting the keto diet to lose weight this year but are not sure about the very low carb aspect you might want to try the new Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet Plan instead.

The South Beach Diet Plan has been one of the most popular diet plans for losing weight although it may have fallen out of favor in the last few years. It’s been around since 2003 with several updates.

This diet was one of the first to recommend a low carb diet with protein and healthy fat. Followers of this low carb diet have reported losing weight fast while keeping their hearts healthy.

Related reading: Best Fats To Eat On A Low Carb Diet

Just at the end of 2019 another modified version of the South Beach Diet was created. Known as the New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet the plan caters for people who want to try the keto diet but with fewer restrictions, or people already following the keto diet who wanted to integrate the South Beach Diet into their eating plans.

So let’s find out more about this diet plan and see if it’s any better than the regular ketogenic diet.

Related reading: 5 Amazing Health Benefits of a Keto Diet

What is the South Beach Diet Plan?

Created by Dr. Arthur Agaston, a cardiologist based in Florida, the South Beach Diet Plan is a low-carb eating plan that encourages followers to eat good carbs. He developed the plan for those who followed the Atkins Diet and were not comfortable with the high amount of saturated fats and salt that the diet allowed.

In an interview, he stated that he wanted to create a diet that the American Heart Association will recommend. According to him,

“I wanted to find a diet that would help prevent or reverse the myriad of heart and vascular problems that stem from obesity.”

Dr. Agatston came up with a plan that would allow diabetic and overweight individuals to lose weight easily while reducing their risk of developing heart diseases. The diet plan also offered a meal delivery service.

The South Beach Diet Plan consists of carbs with a low glycemic index, including lean protein foods and mainly monounsaturated fats.

Related reading: Doesn’t A High Fat Diet Clog Up Your Arteries?

Dr. Agatston tried the diet himself. He lost weight and was able to successfully shed off his belly fat. Then he prescribed the diet to his patients who also experienced similar results.

How Does the South Beach Diet Work

The South Beach Diet consists of three different phases. Phase 1 and 2 are for weight loss while the third phase is for weight maintenance.

The first phase lasts for 14 days. It’s the strictest of all phases since it restricts sugar, grains, potatoes and fruits, and some other foods that are high in carbs.

Related reading: 6 Damaging Effects Of Sugar On Your Body

On the 15th day, the second phase starts. In this phase some whole grains are re-introduced. This phase must be maintained for several weeks until your ideal weight is achieved.

The third phase is the maintenance phase. You can follow the same diet plan as phase 2 but you are allowed to eat from a larger list of foods but still follow a healthy eating plan. However, if you end up gaining weight, you need to start again and go back to Phase 1.

keto friendly South Beach DietKeto-friendly South Beach Diet Plan

As you can see above, the South Beach Diet Plan is somewhat similar to the Keto Diet Plan. Both are low in carbs and encourage you to eat proteins and healthy fats.

The concept behind the Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet Plan is based on the original South Beach Diet that Dr. Agatston developed. This diet plan is also broken down into phases.

In the first phase, you are not allowed to eat sugar, fruits, whole grains, or starchy veggies. You will basically deprive yourself of carbs in order to reboot your body ridding its dependence on carbs for energy and helping your body get into a more efficient fat burning metabolic state.

During the first phase of the diet, you’re limited to 40 grams of net carbs each day. This is more than the carb limit of the standard keto diet, which is usually around 20 – 30 grams only.

The difference between the original diet and this new keto-friendly one is that the first phase is extended to six months or even longer. This, they say, allows time to become fat adapted, lose belly fat and achieve your weight loss goals.

From 40 grams of net carbs in Phase 1, your carb limit on Phase 2 will be increased to 50 grams net carbs per day.

Keto-friendly South Beach Diet Plan vs. Keto Diet Plan

Most of the standard ketogenic diets require followers to limit their carb consumption to only 20 grams of net carbs each day. This is to allow the body to transition into ketosis and use fats for energy. At this stage, you’ll start to experience weight loss.

Since the Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet Plan is more lenient when it comes to net carb consumption, entering ketosis is not always guaranteed.

McCormick has stated:

We are not guaranteeing nutritional ketosis or requiring you to test your urine or blood for ketones every day

However, since you will be limiting your intake of carbs, you will definitely start losing weight.

Perhaps, the biggest advantage of the Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet Plan over the standard keto is that you can probably avoid all those nasty side effects, such as fatigue, keto flu, and constipation.

Another difference between the Keto-friendly South Beach Diet and the Keto Diet is the type of fats you’re allowed to eat. In a standard keto, you can eat all kinds of fats including saturated fats from grass-fed butter, full fat dairy products from grass-fed cows and fatty meat from grass-fed animals.

Related reading: Best Fats To Eat On A Low Carb Diet

On the other hand, the keto-friendly South Beach Diet requires you to eat only mono and  polyunsaturated fats derived from avocados, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil. The diet plan also encourages followers to eat lean protein sources.

Is the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Better than Keto?

Although there is no research done on the effectiveness of the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan there are studies that conclude that a Keto Diet is effective for weight loss. So it is not yet clear if it’s better than keto.

However there are studies which suggest that following low carb diets can make you burn more calories than if you follow high carb diets. This could be because you’ll usually have better satiety with a diet that’s high in fats and protein.

The same meal delivery option is available for the keto-friendly as the original South Beach Diet which may appeal.


If you have been on the fence about starting the keto diet to lose weight you might find it easier to try the Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet Plan instead.

Also if you have been doing the keto diet and are finding it difficult to adhere to the extremely low carb limit you might want to switch to the Keto-Friendly South Beach diet plan. It might be much easier to stick to since it’s not as restrictive as the ketogenic diet.


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