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South Beach Diet Didn't Work for Me

by Stephanie
(Cincinnati, OH, US)

I've actually tried the South Beach diet a few times and it didn't work very well for me.

The first 2 week phase was so hard to get through because I felt more tired from all of the restrictions I was putting myself on and it was hard to get motivation to work out.

I love carbs (unfortunately) and it was hard not to eat them for the first 2 weeks. I'm also in college, so not drinking alcohol was also hard.

From the research I had done, a lot of people even make their own ketchup so that it is acceptable for phase 1.

I was never even able to get to phase 2 without cheating! I think that any diet that is so structured wouldn't work for me though.

I've learned to just make better choices and it has helped a lot more than the South Beach diet ever did.

My friend's little brother tried South Beach though, and it did work for him so I think it just depends!

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Stressful on South Beach

by Suellen Ikzda

South Beach diet has the ability to be a successful diet if you have the time to plan, shop and stay organized with your foods. It also has the ability to be a very expensive diet.

The first stage of South Beach is very basic and somewhat easy to do, but getting used to having to plan and fix everything was not something I was used to.

Stage One only allowed you to have certain types of foods to regulate your body and to get it used to having no sugar. During these two weeks I was able to lose seven pounds.

After two weeks you went into stage two. It was the same basic concept, but you were allowed different foods. It started introducing foods.

There was a lot of cooking and I had a hard time finding foods that were pre-made that would qualify on this diet.

The nice thing about this diet was that it had a recipe book and you could register online for accountability. Online also gave you recipes and shopping lists.

But, for me I had a family of eight and I didn’t have time to plan out this type of meal and cook every day all three meals.

I found it to be expensive too because it encouraged all fresh foods. I stayed on the diet for 10 weeks and lost 25 pounds, but ended up going off of it due to the high planning and cost.

The thing I liked best about South Beach was the online accountability.


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You've put your finger on something that is basic to the current obesity epidemic. And that is the cost of food.

The reason they serve the things they do at the drive through restaurants is that the food is cheap. The reason the stores are stocked with chips and snacks is that they are cheap. Cheap food means big profits.

And when money is tight, you tend to buy the cheaper food. And cheaper food -- like macaroni and cheese -- is fattening.

Dr. Dan

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South Beach was NOT a walk on the beach!

by Shayna
(Chicago, Il, USA)

I had heard plenty of positive things concerning the South Beach diet, so when I came across the book The South Beach Diet, I snapped it up in a heartbeat with the decision made to start the diet the very next day.

I read the book, excited to get started. It sounded easy enough -- although I am admittedly a carb-o-holic!

All my friends were still talking about how great it had made them feel, and how it would do the same for me.

The first day was tough, cutting all sugar and starches out and replacing it with protein. Somehow I made it through. However I began feeling out of sorts towards the end of the day.

The next day I woke up ready to go at it again. However, by mid-day, I had a massive headache, and was starting to feel cranky and out of control.

Day 3 rolled around, complete with a migraine, a bad mood, and nausea. Convinced it could only go up from here, I headed into Day 4.

With no weight loss in sight, and flat on my back sick in bed, I GAVE up!

My results were not anywhere near what I had heard from others, and feeling as badly as I did, there was not enough motivation in the world that could convince me to continue!

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Note from Dr. Dan


It sounds as though you were having trouble with your body making its own blood sugar.

Blood sugar -- or glucose-- can be made in the liver from protein, in a process known as "gluconeogenesis."

When you eat carbohydrates regularly your body does not need to rely on the production of glucose. It gets what it needs in the diet.

But if you suddenly cut out carbohydrates then you have to produce glucose or your blood sugar will drop.

And if your body is not used to making its own glucose it may take a while to adjust.

Dr. Dan

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Mixed Feelings about South Beach Diet

by Regina
(Toronto, ON, Canada)

I tried the South Beach diet a few years back, and have mixed feelings about it.

The first few days were a bit hard, as carbohydrates were cut out of my diet – I felt a bit spacey all of the time. But after those first few days, I felt great – I felt like I had lots of energy, more than I did before.

There were tons of recipes, so my meals were varied, and I didn’t get bored of the food. There were even desserts that were acceptable, which I loved.

I lost weight very fast, immediately. During the first month, I was losing at least 5 pounds per week, and sometimes twice that amount, so it made a huge difference right away. That’s what I loved, seeing results immediately – it kept me motivated.

I started the diet in late August at a size 20, and by Christmas I was a size 8. My skin was clearer on this diet than before, and I slept better.

I did encounter a problem while on the diet though – even though I followed the direction exactly, I felt that I did not get enough fiber. Constipation was a huge issue for me, and it was extremely unpleasant, and even painful at times.

I drank lots of water, and tried to consume as many of the fiber rich foods that were on the list, but that didn’t seem to help. It also didn’t subside, so it wasn’t just an issue of my body adjusting to the diet.

And in the end, I found it quite difficult to incorporate carbohydrates back into my diet – again, I followed the diet plan, but would end up gaining weight, and would have to start back at stage one.

And unfortunately, three years later, I had gained most of the weight back.


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Note from Dr. Dan


Your story highlights one of the greatest difficulties with going on a "diet." It's not really whether you lose weight on the diet or not.

Designing a diet to lose weight is easy. You can lose weight on almost any diet.

The problem is keeping the weight off. And despite what they say, diets like South Beach are not designed to solve the problem of long-term weight loss.

Dr. Dan

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Attempt at South Beach Diet Headed South

by Patti
(Grove City, Ohio, USA)

I tried the South Beach diet. I was only on it for a couple weeks.

It was hard because it started with a two week sort of detox period to wean the body off carbs. During this time, I was strictly limited to certain foods.

I found it difficult and felt hungry a lot. Even foods I would consider healthy were not approved during this time. I understand the concept, but it wasn't practical for me.

Instead of limiting certain foods, I found that some of my favorite foods were banned altogether. That just isn't realistic for me.

I would rather eat a variety of foods in moderation. I think when you make something completely off limits you end up craving that and going crazy and bingeing eventually.

I got the cookbook from the library and tried some South Beach Diet recipes. Some were okay. Some were disgusting, like the pureed cauliflower that was supposed to be a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes. It was difficult to make dishes that were appealing for me and my family on this diet.

I found it was too difficult to try to stick to the list of approved foods, find recipes that fit the standards, and not have cravings or be hungry much of the time. I won't try it again.

I agree with some of the principles, but not all the practices. I would not recommend it to others.

I think keeping track of food points would be a better system. Also I think choosing foods that are healthy and eating others in moderation is a better strategy. It seemed to have too many rules and regulations.

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Note from Dr. Dan


The poor potato. For some reason it is always singled out as a bad food. In this case cauliflower is supposed to be a healthier alternative.

The main difference between cauliflower and potatoes is in the amount of water they contain.

Cauliflower is 93% water. Potatoes are 77% water. That means that when you're eating cauliflower you're really not getting much to eat.

Of course cauliflower has minerals, like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. And vitamins like vitamin C and some of the B vitamins. But potatoes have vitamins and minerals too.

There are no foods that need to be completely banned from any diet, as long as what you eat is in proper balance.

Dr. Dan

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South Beach Made Me Sick!

by docsmith

My doctor suggested that I try South Beach to improve control of my diabetes. Well, early last summer I found the book at a rummage sale and I did it pretty religiously for about 2-3 weeks before I was planning to go on a vacation.

There sure was a lot of lettuce on that diet! Lettuce with tuna, lettuce with cream cheese and lettuce rolled around pretty much everything.

I did lose a little weight -- maybe 8-10 lb.

A day or two before I left on my vacation, I started to feel a little uncomfortable. I thought perhaps I was constipated, which sometimes happens when I travel.

Within another 3 days, I really felt bad, and I was concerned that I might be developing a case of appendicitis! Ultimately I was in so much pain that I had to go to the emergency room and get blood tests and an MRI.

I was diagnosed with acute colitis and was prescribed 2 strong antibiotics and a potent pain reliever. Well, I had a lot of fun on my vacation!

I think that the colitis came from all the raw vegetables and especially all the lettuce that South Beach makes you eat. I wonder if something was contaminated with bacteria?

After that experience I just couldn't go back to the South Beach diet any more. That book will be put out for MY rummage sale THIS summer!

Oh, by the way, South Beach is just too expensive--that trip to the emergency room cost me about $3000!

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