South Beach vs. Atkins: Similarities and Differences

Modern and popular South Beach Diet is often defined as the eating plan that belongs to the cohort of low-carb diets, where the central position is occupied by the Atkins. At the same time, the author of the South Beach claims his eating approach to be neither low-carb nor low fat.

This article aims to reveal some of the similarities and differences between both eating approaches. This could be especially important for those people, who sail in the boundless sea of multiple diets in search of the one that could really change their life for better. Diet regimen, lists of allowed and forbidden foods, as well as the diet approach to physical exercising will be discussed below.

Comparing eating regimen According to the South Beach recommendations, one should have three major meals per day and two smaller snacks. This regimen is called to eliminate the feeling of hunger. Besides, South Beach Diet does not determine any limitations on portion sizes.

Being on Atkins a dieter is encouraged to eat as often as it is necessary to eliminate the feeling of hunger (it is recommended to have three larger meals or four or five smaller meals). In accordance with Atkins Diet rules one should eat to feel satisfied, but not stuffed.

Conclusion: there are no significant and vivid differences in the eating regimens of South Beach and Atkins.

What is on the plate? The core of any diet is a system of allowed and forbidden foods. Different diets use different approaches to put the foods into either white or black list, but both Atkins and South Beach consider carbohydrates to be the key reason of obesity and use glycemic index to differentiate “good” and “bad” foods. Still, there are some differences between menu options, offered by these diets. In general, I would say that South Beach diet is more selective in choosing foods to consume.

For example, while Atkins allows eating all poultry, South Beach Diet says that duck, goose or any processed poultry products are under taboo. Besides, according to South Beach the poultry should be skinless, while Atkins allows eating poultry with skin.

Fish and sea foods are allowed by both diets, as well as eggs, cheese and nuts. Breads, pasta, rice and fruits are forbidden by both diets.

Saturated fats and trans fats are blacklisted by both diets, while olive oil or other vegetable oils are considered to be healthy choices.

It is important to note here, that all the above said concerns the initial phases of both diets, lasting 14 days. After that both diets become more liberal to food options, and the reintroduction of some of the banned foods takes place. So, it is the initial phase, which is the most crucial for the dieters.

Conclusion: in spite of the fact that there are many similarities in the approaches of the South Beach and Atkins to food options, the existing differences are of significant importance, making the South Beach to be more selective diet in comparison to the Atkins. It is the South Beach, which emphasizes that there are good and bad options within the group of carbohydrates.

Do I need a calculator? Here is a big difference between the South Beach and the Atkins. Following the South Beach recommendations, a dieter is absolutely free of any kind of calculations: no portion measuring, no calorie count, and no nutritional value count. On the other hand, Atkins says that if you don't count carbs in your food, you could get in trouble.

Conclusion: the difference is obvious – South Beach Diet is friendlier to a dieter, because it is easier to follow.

What about exercising? Physical exercising is another place to look for differences between the South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet (or its modern version: Atkins Nutritional Approach). While the South Beach says that weight loss goal can be achieved only by following the diet rules, the Atkins says that it is a must for a dieter to find time for exercising. The Atkins Diet promotes combination of aerobic exercising with weight lifting to ensure health benefits of the diet.

Conclusion: The South Beach Diet demonstrates pure democracy in its approach to exercising, letting a dieter decide whether he needs physical exercising or not. The Atkins Diet is more conservative in this issue, saying that everyone must exercise.

General conclusion: against a background of many similar features between the South Beach and the Atkins, these two diets are really different; and any of these differences, even the slightest, such as eating skinned or skinless chicken, may be of key importance for a dieter to choose this or that diet plan.


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