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South Beach vs Atkins Diet: Which is Better?

In recent months questions have been raised concerning the South Beach vs Atkins diet. What are the differences?



South Beach vs Atkins Diet

by Trish Williams

South Beach vs Atkins Diet

People across the nation are seriously "weighing in" on the fact that it’s time to go on a diet, especially after the recent holidays. Many fad diets have been advertised over the years, confusing the masses. In recent months questions have been raised concerning the South Beach vs Atkins diet. What are the differences?

South Beach vs Atkins, which one is better?

Although many have had tremendous success with the Atkins diet, much controversy still exists about the effect of eating a high protein, high fat diet. The South Beach vs Atkins diet controversy continues to challenge dieters, but many are deciding to switch to the South Beach diet because it offers more balance and nutrition.

When Dr. Agaston, the creator of the South Beach diet was asked, South Beach vs Adkins, what’s the difference, she responded, “The first difference is our emphasis on the good fats rather than the saturated fats. The saturated fats cause blood to be sticky, they cause vessels to constrict, and they have negative effects on long term on insulin and sugar metabolism. The good fats that we talked about actually help prevent heart attack and stroke and they also improve insulin and sugar metabolism long term. This helps the diet to become a lifestyle with long-term weight loss and improvement in blood chemistries, rather than just a short-term fix.

Another difference with Atkins is we are not counting grams of carbohydrates. We are not so strict in the first phase that we put patients into ketosis. Ketosis often causes excessive water loss early. We found it is unnecessary for significant early weight loss. We teach our dieters to use glycemic index, which is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate raises your blood sugar and if you consume low glycemic index carbohydrates, you can do very well on a high carbohydrate diet.” (From an interview with WebMDhealth.)

Agaston continues to stress that when it comes to South Beach vs Adkins the main thing she tries to emphasize is balance. Agaston strongly believes in the nutritional value of omega-3s and monounsaturated fats.

“The one thing we do believe that the omega-3 fish oil is very important for overall health and also helps long-term weight loss. So if you are not a fish lover, then we do recommend omega-3 fish oil supplements…Monounsaturated fats are the olive oil and canola oil. They also have some omega-3. The polyunsaturated can also be omega-6, which is less good than omega-3 or monounsaturated. An example of omega-6 is corn oil. The biggest problem with polyunsaturated is the trans fats. These are the hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils found in baked goods. These are polyunsaturated, but they are man made and they raise our bad cholesterol and lower our good cholesterol and are worse than saturated fats. So just polyunsaturated does not give you enough information."

South Beach vs Adkins diet, Making the Choice

The South Beach diet consists of two phases. The diet basically advocates foods low in sugar and moderate amounts of protein and fat. For most people, the most challenging aspect of the diet is the first two weeks, labeled “Phase One.” During Phase One, all sugars are limited. This would include pasta, breads, and certain types of vegetables that produce sugar and, of course, sugary snacks. As these are reduced, so are the sugar cravings. “Phase Two” introduces good carbs back into the diet. These include whole grain breads, oatmeal and more vegetables.

If the South Beach vs Adkins diet question comes your way, you’ll now be more informed to make the right choice for weight loss, without compromising your health in the process.


Trish Williams is a freelance writer and marketing consultant who has published numerous articles in magazines and newspapers across the country. She also works on web design, web content, graphics, promotions and copywriting.

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