Here’s what a registered dietitian thinks of this slightly more carb-friendly plan.

You may not have heard much about the South Beach Diet in the past decade, but this modified low-carb diet is back in the news with an even lower carb sibling. Launched in early 2019, the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan caters to dieters who are interested in following the keto diet, which restricts carbs in favor of healthy fats.

Fortunately, if you’re already following the South Beach Diet or are familiar with it, it has many similarities with the keto diet in that both plans are low-carb and encourage you to load up on protein and fat. As a registered dietitian, I always want to know about the new diets people are talking about, so I dove further to find what the new South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan is all about. Here’s what I learned.

What is the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan?

Like the original diet—which was created by Aruthur Agatston, MD, a cardiologist based in South Beach, Miami—the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan is broken down into phases: phase 1 and phase 2. On phase 1, fruit, starchy vegetables, and whole grains are off-limits to help your body “reboot” and switch to a fat-burning state, also known as ketosis. During phase 1, you can consume up to 40 grams of net carbs per day (most keto diets involve consuming fewer than 20 or 30 grams of net carbs daily).

In case you’re not familiar with how to calculate net carbs, you simply subtract dietary fiber and sugar alcohols from the total amount of carbohydrates. For example, if a granola bar has 16 grams of carbohydrates, seven grams of fiber, and five grams of sugar, the total net carbs would be nine. However, it’s important to note that certain sugar alcohols, such as erythritol, xylitol, mannitol, and lactitol, don’t count toward net carbs.

After seven days on phase 1, you’ll move onto phase 2 of the plan, in which you’ll continue to eat lean protein, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables. The main difference is that you’ll increase your net carb intake to no more than 50 grams daily. This means you can swap a lean protein with a “good carb” as a snack for an occasional treat. You would still need to keep your daily net carb intake to 50 grams or less.

South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan vs. Keto Diet

Most strict keto diets require as little as 20 grams of net carbs per day and only allow low-to-moderate protein consumption, ensuring your body transitions into ketosis and stays there to sustain weight loss.

Because the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan has a more lenient net carb consumption and high lean protein intake, entering a state of ketosis isn’t always guaranteed. However, limiting your carb intake during both phases of the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan will likely lead to weight loss, while avoiding the negative side effects of ketosis, like the keto flu, fatigue, and constipation.

Another big difference between the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan and the keto diet is the type of fat you’re allowed to consume. Traditional keto diets allow all types of fat, including saturated fats like butter, lard, and fatty cuts of meat. On the other hand, the South Beach Diet Keto-Friendly Plan highly recommends you eat only healthy fats, such as mono- and polyunsaturated fats from extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, and nuts, as well as sources of lean protein.

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