Condiments and Sauces Allowed on the South Beach Diet

Preserving jar of homemade basil pesto
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The condiment list on the South Beach Diet is basically the same as a regular low-carb condiment list. The main thing is to stay away from the sugars that are in so many foods in the supermarket. The only item that is different from a standard low-carb diet list is that Dr. Agatston, the creator of the diet, recommends "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray as a substitute for butter.

Acceptable Condiments on the South Beach Diet

  • Mustard (except sweetened mustards, especially honey mustard)
  • Cider and wine vinegars
  • Low-carb balsamic vinegar (check labels)
  • Low-carb rice-wine vinegar (check labels)
  • Low-carb Worcestershire sauce (check labels)
  • Olive oil and other oils
  • Most bottled hot sauces (such as Tabasco)
  • Most salsas
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Mayonnaise -- look especially for brands high in monounsaturated fat, rather than polyunsaturated fat, e.g., avoid soy oil if possible
  • Sugar-free salad dressings, preferably brands high in monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil (check labels carefully)
  • Capers
  • Horseradish
  • Pesto
  • Herbs and spices (but watch for mixtures with added sugars)
  • Lemon or lime juice (1 gram of carb per tablespoon)
  • Extracts (vanilla, lemon, almond, etc.)
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Low-carb ketchup
  • Dill pickle relish
  • Mt. Olive sugar-free sweet pickle relish
  • Sugar-free salad dressings
  • Low-carb jams and preserves (check labels)

Condiments to Avoid on the South Beach Diet

  • Regular ketchup
  • Tomato-based chili sauce and cocktail sauce (unless sugar-free)
  • Salad dressings with sugar
  • Tartar sauce
  • Plum sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce, oyster sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Steak sauce (most)
  • Most sauces, including barbecue (check the label as they have a lot of sugar)
  • Jams, jellies, preserves

Acceptable Sauces on the South Beach Diet

  • Tomato-based sauces such as marinara, pasta sauce, and pizza sauce with no added sugar
  • Pesto
  • Peanut sauce, without sugars
  • Clam sauces, white or red
  • Au jus

Sauces To Avoid on the South Beach Diet

Most commercial sauces and many homemade sauces should be avoided since they contain a lot of starch and/or saturated fat. In this category are:

  • Gravies (can be added back as a rare treat after Phase One)
  • White sauces (including Bearnaise, Bechamel, Mornay, etc.)
  • Cheese sauces, including Alfredo sauce
  • Hollandaise sauce

See the rest of the South Beach Diet Food Lists, which include meat and other proteins, vegetables, fish, dairy, beans and legumes, fats and oils, beverages, starches and grains, and sweet treats. 

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