According to the Mayo Clinic, the South Beach Diet is considered healthy for people with good underlying health, as long as it is followed properly. A U.S. News & World Report survey of expert reviews rated the diet's safety as 3.4 out of 5. The same review concluded that South Beach Diet is considered unhealthy for children, pregnant women and individuals with kidney problems.
The South Beach Diet includes all major food groups and favors foods with a low glycemic index, meaning foods that do not substantially raise a person's blood sugar. Foods low on the glycemic index include fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats and whole proteins, which the diet encourages over foods heavy in fats and sugars.
Phases two and three of the diet focus on steady weight loss from fat rather than loss of lean tissue, considered a healthy method of weight loss by the Mayo Clinic. The experts cited in U.S. News & World Report laud the fitness component as encouraging increased healthy activity from walking and strength training.
According to the Mayo Clinic, likely long-term health benefits from the diet's lowered carbohydrate intake include improved blood cholesterol levels; however, no scientific studies directly associate improved cholesterol with the South Beach Diet.