nutrisystem vs south beach diet

Nutrisystem vs. South Beach Diet: Compare Food, Ratings, Cost

Compare Nutrisystem to the South Beach Diet: If you’re thinking of signing up for a meal-delivery diet, then you no doubt are considering the two heavyweights in that space: Nutrisystem and the South Beach Diet. They are actually very similar weight loss programs, but which one is best for you?

Let’s take a closer look at both diets to learn how they work and how they compare:

Nutrisystem vs South Beach Diet: About South Beach | About Nutrisystem | Expert Ratings | Similarities | Differences | Compare Costs | Which is Better?

South Beach Diet Overview:

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See today’s featured South Beach Diet promotion, or all coupons here!
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Wow, so I guess the South Beach Diet involves a lot of frolicking on the beach? Sounds fun!

Actually, frolicking is optional. Named for the famous, hip beach in Miami, this keto-friendly meal-delivery diet was born from the famous book, “The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss,” by a cardiologist named Dr. Agatston. Well, the title of that book is a mouthful, but how does the meal-delivery version work?

The South Beach Diet plan promises to “burn fat and transform your metabolism with a high protein, low-carb diet that will boost your energy” with smaller, more frequent meals. You’ll have 3 plan levels to choose from: Silver, Gold, and Platinum, and you’ll pay more for increased food variety.

The meal delivery program claims to be a safe and healthy plan for fast weight loss and consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1: The 7-Day Reboot – This is the foundation of the program and in Phase you’ll reset your body for fast weight loss. By reducing carbs and empty calories you’ll eliminate cravings and transform your metabolism. Just like boot camp, this is the “hardest” phase, but only lasts a week
  • Phase 2: Steady Weight Loss – Good, you’ve made it through the first week, and now your body is burning fat instead of carbs. That means you’ll get more food variety in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. You’ll also have the flexibility of one DIY breakfast, lunch, and dinner every week. Weight loss is more effective with exercise, so you’ll be encouraged to be active with their simple fitness tips
  • Phase 3: Maintenance Phase – Congratulations, you’ve reached your goal weight! You’ve also transformed your metabolism and improved your eating habits. Now you can enjoy all foods in moderation and keep eating foods that are high in lean protein and low in bad carbs to maintain your thinner self

With the South Beach Diet, you’ll enjoy 5-6 smaller meals and snacks throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) mostly consisting of their prepared meals, bars, shakes, and snacks. This helps to regulate your blood sugar and boost your energy.

Want to know more? We explain more about how the diet works in our review.

“This was a very tough decision for me, but… I will be taking my talents to South Beach” – Lebron James, ‘The Decision’

Should you also take your talents to South Beach, or go with Nutrisystem instead? Let’s look at how Nutrisystem works.

Nutrisystem Overview:

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Weight Watchers may have stolen the title of “best weight loss diet,” but if you aren’t into a DIY approach, you should know that Nutrisystem is the most popular meal-delivery diet. Here’s how it works:

Nutrisystem combines three elements for effective weight loss:

  1. Portion Control: There’s no counting calories or points, as all meals and snacks are “perfectly portioned” and you’ll be told what to eat and when
  2. Balanced Nutrition: There are years of science behind their food and it gives you the right mix of nutrients to keep you feeling full and energized
  3. Frequent Meals: Eating 6 meals a day regulates your blood sugar levels and speeds up your metabolism. There’s no 2 pm crash when you eating right!

Like the South Beach Diet, Nutrisystem also has three plan levels: BASIC, CORE, and Uniquely Yours, and the main difference is that you’ll pay extra for plans with more menu variety.

Every plan starts with a fast weight loss phase called, Body Reboot which includes bars and shakes to really help you hit the ground running and end your unhealthy eating habits fast.

Want to know more about Nutrisystem? Check out our review here.

Ratings: Nutrisystem vs. South Beach Diet

U.S. News asked a panel of experts to rate these two diets. Here’s how they scored:

As you can see, the South Beach Diet just edged out Nutrisystem in a head to head comparison. Of course, no single diet is best for everyone, so let’s learn about the similarities and differences of these two weight loss programs.

Similarities Between Nutrisystem & South Beach Diet:

Nutrisystem and the South Beach Diet have a lot in common, and are both part of the same company, Nutrisystem, Inc (Nasdaq: NTRI). Here are some key similarities between South Beach and Nutrisystem:

  • The foundation of both diets is the monthly delivery of nutritious, pre-portioned meals that are high in protein and fiber, and relatively low in carbs
  • Both diets offer 3 plan options for both women and men, with menu variety costing more
  • With both Nutrisystem and South Beach, you’ll be eating 5-6 smaller meals and snacks a day which should boost your metabolism
  • Both diets require that you supplement their meals, shakes, and bars with fresh food from the grocery store
  • Both diets ask you to track your meals and progress on their apps
  • Both diets start with an initial more restrictive week to reboot your body, stop cravings, and prepare you for months of sustained weight loss
  • There is no counting calories or points with Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet
  • Both diets allow several “flex meals” each week consisting of breakfast, lunch, and dinner of your own cooking or eating out. These flex meals are also good training for better eating habits that you should keep for life.

The structured nature of these two meal-delivery diets makes them popular with busy people who prioritize convenience over menu freedom. If you follow the program, then both Nutrisystem and South Beach should be good for losing weight in a consistent, predictable manor.

OK, now let’s look at what makes Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet different:

Differences Between South Beach Diet & Nutrisystem:

While the two diets are very similar in most ways, there are a few differences:

  • The South Beach Diet is keto-friendly, and lower in carbs than Nutrisystem. That means the South Beach Diet menu is a little more restrictive than Nutrisystem
  • Menu: because Nutrisystem allows for more carbs, so you’ll see menu items like waffles, pasta, and pizza, while South Beach offers more lean protein and vegetable dishes
  • A number of reviews mention that South Beach Diet’s food is more flavorful and than Nutrisystem, offering some spicier menu options
  • Nutrisystem offers specific plans for diabetics and vegetarians while the South Beach Diet does not

Also, the South Beach Diet is a “3-phase” approach, with specific goals and differences between each of the 3 phases. Also, after you achieve your goal weight in Phase 2 of South Beach, you might be more likely to quit the meal-delivery and make your own good food choices. This gives the South Beach Diet more of a defined “end” than Nutrisystem.

Cost Comparison:

Both of these diets cost about $10-12 per day and provide most of the weekly food. For this reason, they shouldn’t cost much more than you are already paying for food. That’s because they replace most of the meals you are currently paying for.

Nutrisystem is slightly less expensive than the South Beach Diet which will cost you about $1 per day more. To learn more, read our articles about Nutrisystem cost and South Beach Diet cost

Both Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet offer similar new customer promotions that you can lock-in for a lower price.

*Both of these promotions also include free shipping plus free shakes and/or bars in your first month’s delivery to help kick-off your initial weight loss.

Which Diet Is Better?

As mentioned there are a lot of similarities between the two diets, with the main difference being that the South Beach Diet is lower in carbs. But, that doesn’t make it better.

Looking at a couple of other factors, Nutrisystem is slightly less expensive, but South Beach Diet edges out Nutrisystem on the “Best Commercial Diets” by U.S. News and World Report. On this year’s list, South Beach is ranked #4 while Nutrisystem is ranked #6.

south beach diet compared to nutrisystem ratings

However, it should be noted that with the South Beach Diet some people had trouble sticking to the “low-carb” food choices after completing the program, and were more a bit more likely to gain the weight back.

So, which diet is better? While it’s a personal choice largely based on the menus, experts say the South Beach Diet is a slightly better weight loss program than Nutrisystem.

Ding, ding, ding! In a head-to-head battle, you could say that the South Beach Diet wins in a split-decision on the scorecards.

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Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet = Same Company?!

After seeing the many similarities between these two diets including the menu choices, I soon realized that South Beach Diet (SBD Enterprises, LLC) is a subsidiary of Nutrisystem, Inc., with the same Fort Washington, Pa address.

Ah hah! That explains why these two diets are so similar. That means that many of the menu choices are literally the same on both programs.

It’s kind of like how Honda and Acura are the same company, just slightly different with one costing a little more. In this case, the two are similar, but the South Beach Diet is the spicier, lower-carb option.


These are two similar meal-delivery diets that are high in lean protein and fiber and relatively low in carbs and bad fats. They require you to eat more frequently throughout the day in an effort to curb your carb-cravings and regulate your blood sugar while boosting your metabolism.

While Nutrisystem is rated slightly higher and cheaper, the main difference here is in the menu.

  • Do you enjoy the occasional carbs like pasta and pizza? Then Nutrisystem might work better for you.
  • Are you a fan of stir-fries, protein bowls, and soups? Then the low-carb South Beach Diet might be more your style
  • Are you undecided? Nutrisystem is a little less expensive by about $1 per day. Not much difference, but if you’re on the plan for 6 months it’s significant!

Tip: If you do considering joining either Nutrisystem or South Beach, make sure you choose a promotion that locks-in the initial low rate (some coupons don’t) like the ones here: Nutrisystem Coupons | South Beach Coupons

If you aren’t sure that meal-delivery is best for your unique needs, we highly recommend WW or the Noom app; there’s even a free trial this month!

Thanks for stopping by Wonky Pie!

*Related: South Beach Diet vs. Keto