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Author Mike Pawlik
Mike Pawlik
Updated on Sep 28th, 2023
Fact checked by Emma Vince

South Beach Diet vs. Nutrisystem 2023: Ultimate Diet Battle

South Beach Diet no longer exists as a company, so my South Beach Diet vs. Nutrisystem comparison is a little single-sided. As a matter of fact, Nutrisystem itself acquired and absorbed the smaller company. That said, it’s interesting to see how these services used to differ. 

I set out to come up with a comprehensive comparison between the 2 services. I wanted to find out if Nutrisystem is a decent replacement and compare how well it stacks up to the now defunct South Beach Diet.

Overall, Nutrisystem makes it super easy to lose weight with pre-portioned, prepared meals. All its meals can simply be heated up in your microwave (or oven). Even if South Beach were still around, Nutrisystem would get the win.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Nutrisystem ($8.54 per serving)

🍔 Menu Variety:

Nutrisystem (130+ choices)

⏰ Prep Time:

Nutrisystem (0 to 3 minutes)

🍴 Customization:

Nutrisystem (more dietary options)

👍 Ordering and Delivery:


🙋 Customer Support:


Menu Variety

Winner: Nutrisystem 

Nutrisystem wins here since it has absorbed the now-defunct South Beach Diet. South Beach Diet once offered a wide range of items to choose from, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, sampler packs, shakes, supplements, and bars. 

There were 100+ different options across all menus, which was an excellent variety. But since the company is no longer around, it’s a moot point.

south beach diet, meal options
South Beach Diet used to offer lots of different meal types for you to choose from

With Nutrisystem, you’ll get the choice of several meal plans. These include Men’s, Women’s, Partner, Diabetes, and Complete 55 (which is a specific plan for women over 55 years of age). The men’s version is called Complete 55: Max Vitality. No matter who you are (with the exception of children), you’ll be able to utilize Nutrisystem to lose weight effortlessly.

It also offers 2 further options: I’ll Pick My Meals and Chef’s Choice. You can hand-select every item that goes into your order or have someone pick it for you – the choice is entirely up to you. However, if you have particular dietary requirements, allergies, or just strong dislikes, I’d recommend picking your own meals.

nutrisystem plans
Nutrisystem has a Chef's Choice (prechosen) or custom plan that lets you choose your own meals

If you opt for Chef’s Choice, all of your meals and snacks will be chosen for you based on the most popular meals at the time. Selecting I’ll Pick My Meals will let you choose from around 150+ menu options. 

Overall, when it comes to menu variety, Nutrisystem takes the lead, offering at least 50 more choices than South Beach Diet did. To me, it’s unequivocally a win here.

Cuisines on offer from Nutrisystem include Italian, French, classic American, Japanese, Cajun/Creole, Latin American, and several more. Keep in mind that most of these will be heavily Americanized to suit a broader palate. If you’re expecting super exotic, Michelin-star- quality-dishes, that’s not what’s going to happen here.

You can also snap yourself up a bunch of snacks if you like. Snacks include desserts like ice cream sandwiches, nut squares, cakes, ice cream bars, chocolate-flavored pretzels, popcorn, truffle, cupcakes, cookies, Cheetos, and a lot more. 

This all sounds great, but seeing this much processed food didn’t sit quite right with me. I personally like to keep my intake of processed foods to a maximum of 10-20% of my daily caloric intake. So if I was eating 2,500 calories per day, I’d make sure to not consume more than 500 calories in processed foods.

Nutrisystem has a decent selection of healthier meals that still promote weight loss. You don’t have to only rely on its processed offerings. For example, you can get something super nutritious like the Roasted Turkey Medallions (with mashed potato), pictured below.

Nutrisystem is a specific weight-loss diet program not suitable for children, though its meals do appear kid-friendly on the surface. It’s really not meant for anyone other than you or your partner. If your children need to lose weight, always consult with your pediatrician first.

nutrisystem menu, roasted turkey medallions
Add this succulent and tasty Roasted Turkey Medallions dish to your next order

Overall, Nutrisystem is a great alternative to the South Beach Diet. However, its emphasis isn’t really on cutting out carbs as much as it’s about consuming fewer calories than your body burns on a daily basis. 

Meal Customization

Winner: Nutrisystem 

South Beach Diet once offered a wide range of dishes. Even in its prime, however, it was limited in terms of dietary preferences. There were no diet-specific menus, but you could use the Special Dietary Needs filters on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus to find diabetes-friendly and vegetarian options. 

south beach diet, legacy dietary options
South Beach Diet once offered Diabetes-Friendly and Vegetarian diets only

Nutrisystem has done a better job by offering lots of specific dietary accommodations. Obviously, compared to South Beach Diet’s original customization options, Nutrisystem offers way more choice. The menu filtering system is super advanced and lets you get extremely granular with your choices.

nutrisystem menu filtering options
Nutrisystem's menu filtering options are some of the most advanced I've ever seen

There are multiple menu filtering options. Filters include meal type, food type, storage conditions (frozen or non-frozen), special dietary needs, nutrition, preparation, or if you would rather avoid certain ingredients like milk, wheat, lactose, and a bunch more. 

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: Nutrisystem 

South Beach Diet was definitely easier to order from for the simple reason that it offered far less choice. Nutrisystem feels like a maze of a website with there being seemingly hundreds of redundant choices, and upsell attempts at every corner. This definitely makes its ordering experience pretty bad by comparison. 

Aside from its age- and gender-focused plans, Nutrisystem offers 3 subscription levels. These affect the number and type of meals you get in your order. There’s an Essentials, Uniquely Yours Max+ meal plan, and the Complete 55 depending on how many meals you want. 

Each of these plans comes with 5 or 7 days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. You also get free shipping if you prepay for 1 or 2 months, an app, and individualized coaching with each of these plans as well.

In terms of shipping, Nutrisystem is available in all 50 states. So this is great news if you are located in areas like Puerto Rico, Alaska, or Hawaii. 

Also, you can’t seem to select your specific delivery dates. It promises a delivery time of 1 to 5 business days from when your order is placed. However, your shipment may take up to 10 business days if the carrier experiences any delays.

Your cutoff date for any changes to your order is 6 pm EST the night before your order’s processed if you need to cancel, change, or otherwise edit your order. If you have any specific questions about that, the live chat support feature offers great service, so feel free to use that to ask anything you want.

Back in the day, South Beach Diet delivered its meals in an environmentally friendly way. The eco-friendly coolers that your South Beach Diet meals arrived in were reusable, recyclable, and even biodegradable. 

The exact same thing can be said for Nutrisystem. If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly South Beach Diet alternative, Nutrisystem fits the bill perfectly.

south beach diet, environmentally-friendly packaging
South Beach Diet always had the environment's best interest in mind

Similarly, Nutrisystem has a heightened awareness of its environmental impact and aims to go green with 7 steps. These steps include biodegradable cooler boxes, seasonal ingredients to minimize shipping, and utilizing eco-friendly ingredients in as many meals as possible.

It's clear that both South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem have taken strides to reduce their carbon footprints, so I think they’re pretty similar in terms of delivery and packaging. But since the South Beach Diet no longer exists, you can feel good about your decision to go with Nutrisystem if reducing your environmental impact is your objective.

Meal Prep

Winner: Nutrisystem 

South Beach Diet offered a wide range of meals, snacks, and smoothies, making sticking to the diet pretty simple. When ordering products online, you could quickly identify frozen items by the snowflake symbol next to them. Meals or items without the symbol never required freezing.

south beach diet example meals
Here's what you used to be able to find on South Beach Diet's menu

Nutrisystem is very much the same, as it offers a range of meals and snacks – some of which require refrigeration or freezing. The frozen items simply require a slightly lengthier heating time. You can see each item’s prep method online before selecting it for your box, so you can dodge the lengthier meals if needed. 

Keep in mind that Nutrisystem offers prepared meals. Everything is either ready to eat right away or can be heated up within 3 minutes in your microwave. This makes the service even more convenient. For example, the Teriyaki Chicken and Noodles is a frozen meal and requires only 5 minutes’ total prep and cook time.

Both South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem offered meals ready in a matter of moments, making following either diet a breeze. But since you can only buy Nutrisystem moving forward, I think it’s a worthy replacement and alternative to South Beach Diet. 

Customer Support

Winner: Nutrisystem 

In terms of customer support, South Beach Diet no longer exists, so it’s irrelevant. 

On the other hand, Nutrisystem offers support in a bunch of different ways. You can contact the Nutrisystem support team via live chat, a phone number, or a couple of different email addresses.

If you have any pre-sales questions, you can contact the support team using several methods. There’s a live chat team Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 11 pm EST, and you can also call the phone number Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 10 pm EST. If you’re already a customer, you can chat or call Monday to Friday between 8 am and 8 pm EST, and on weekends, from 9 am to 5:30 pm EST.

There are also 2 email addresses you can message, depending on your question. You can email customer service any time at customerservice@nutrisystem.com. If you’re looking for help with your weight-loss journey, you can contact the weight-loss support email as well at weightlosssupport@nutrisystem.com.

nutrisystem, live chat support
Nutrisystem's live chat support feature is the first method of communication I recommend

I tried out the live chat feature during my research. The live chat agent was super friendly, helpful, and quick to respond. Overall, I was impressed with the service and would always recommend using the live chat feature as your first point of contact. 


Winner: Nutrisystem 

With South Beach Diet, you were able to choose items à la carte. You could also subscribe to the Beach Pass membership, where you’d pay monthly or quarterly membership fees. Doing so would net you a 25% discount on many of the à la carte items. Even without the Beach Pass membership, you could enjoy meals from as little as $10.

The cost of à la carte ordering could add up over time, so adding the membership was the better way to go. When you included all of the charges, South Beach Diet came out to about roughly $20 (or less) per day.

south beach diet membership levels
Here are the membership levels you used to be able to get from South Beach Diet

The cost of Nutrisystem can be broken down to around $8.54 per day. This is taking into account our current live discount – 50% off all plans + free shipping!

It’s roughly $319.99 per month for the Essentials Plan with auto-shipment enabled. However, for single orders, you’re looking at substantially more at around $580, give or take a few dollars. 

This lowest-priced plan includes 5 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Choose from over 150 different ready-made menu options and also get Nutrisystem-inspired recipes for meals of your own.

Just be careful with all the upsell attempts. I recommend avoiding any and all of the upsells as they’re expensive, add unnecessary liquid calories to your daily intake (which doesn’t satisfy hunger as well as solid food), and overall don’t benefit your weight loss journey. But by all means, if you want them, add them in. 

Nutrisystem offers free shipping for larger, prepaid auto-shipped orders, which is a nice bonus. Otherwise, it’s $7.99 per month for all other auto-shipped plans.

Features Comparison: South Beach Diet vs. Nutrisystem

South Beach Diet


Best for


Weight loss

Starting price

No longer in business

$8.54 per day

Shipping cost


Free when you pre-pay;
From $7.99 for one-time orders

Minimum order


“Essentials” – 5 days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners

Menu variety

100+ options per menu

150+ options per menu

Prep time

0-3 minutes

0-3 minutes

Low-prep options

Ready to eat, microwave-, and oven-ready

Read to eat, microwave-, and oven-ready

Allergies catered to


Wheat, milk, lactose, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes, pork, pork gelatin, chocolate, sugar alcohols, onions, seeds, nuts, corn

Special diets

Diabetes-friendly and vegetarian

Balanced, gender-specific, diabetes-friendly, vegetarian

Customer support

No longer available

Pre-sales support: Live chat or phone Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 11 pm EST, or call the phone number Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 10 pm EST

Support for existing customers: Live chat or phone Monday to Friday between 8 am and 8 pm EST, and on weekends from 9 am 5:30 pm EST

24/7 customer service and weight loss assistance via email



50% off all plans + free shipping!

And The Winner Is: Nutrisystem

My top pick is Nutrisystem, because it truly deserves the win (even if South Beach Diet were still around). But historically, South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem were popular, long-running weight-loss programs and were truly on par with each other. 

Both programs once made it incredibly easy to stick to these diets. However, Nutrisystem has more variety and customization features than South Beach Diet. The company also caters to more dietary preferences and gives you the choice between a pre-selected menu or choosing meals yourself. 


Is South Beach Diet going out of business?

South Beach Diet isn’t “going” out of business – the company was absorbed by Nutrisystem in 2015. That said, Nutrisystem offers a similar weight-loss dieting program that’s convenient and super easy to follow.  

How much weight can you lose in a month on Nutrisystem?

This really depends on the individual. The more extra weight you’re carrying, the more weight you can safely lose per week (and month). For those with up to 50 lbs to lose, you can expect to lose around 2-5 lbs per month safely. 

For those with 50+ lbs to lose, it’s safe to assume that you can lose around 5-8 lbs per month. Check out Nutrisystem’s weight-loss plans to help determine how much you, personally, can expect to lose.

How long can you stay on Nutrisystem?

Nutrisystem is a weight-loss program, so stay on it only as long as it takes you to lose weight. Nutrisystem offers several affordable plans for men and women that you can order for one month at a time. After that, you can re-analyze where you’re at.

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