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South Beach Diet Food Lists

What You Can Eat on the South Beach Diet


Updated May 28, 2014

Japanese Sake with Tofu dishes
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What can you eat on the South Beach Diet? What shouldn’t you eat? Here are the essential food lists to go by. Each blue heading links to a different list, including additions for Phase 2 and beyond.

Meats and Other Protein

On the South Beach Diet, meats and other protein sources (such as soy and eggs) should be low in saturated fat and without extra breading or other sources of carbohydrate. This list includes which cuts of beef, pork, and poultry fit into these categories, as well as a complete list of approved protein foods.


Vegetables on the South Beach Diet are pretty much the same as a regular low-carb vegetable list, so I have linked to the main list - any non-starchy vegetables is fine to eat. This list is in order from least carbohydrate per serving to most. Starchy vegetables can be gradually added on a limited basis after Phase One. See books for details.


No fruit in Phase One. Fruit is phased in gradually after that period. This list is in order from the least sugar per serving to the most.

Dairy Products

Dairy is limited to fat-free and some low-fat dairy products and cheeses, without added sugars.

Beans and Other Legumes

Beans and other legumes, such as those on this list, are encouraged on the South Beach Diet.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are allowed in limited serving sizes.

Fats and Oils

Sources of fats and oils (including mayonnaise, avocados) to be encouraged or avoided on South Beach.

Condiments and Sauces

Condiments and sauces that avoid sugars and saturated fats are the key.


Here are the South Beach Diet rules regarding beverages, including caffeine (limit to 1 to 2 cups per day) and alcohol (no alcohol in Phase One).

Sweet Treats

The rules around sweet treats (always sugar-free).

Starches and Grains

No starches in Phase One. Following this, some whole grains and other starches can be phased back in.

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