South Beach Diet vs Atkins Diet Comparison


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Both the South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet have gained so much popularity over the years. If you're trying to lose weight through these programs, you might be wondering which one would provide the best results or which one would suit your needs. Now, these diets have a number of similarities and differences. To help you choose, read on and find out for yourself.


1. Program structure

Both the Atkins and the South Beach diet are very much alike in structure. Both diets are made up 3 phases: an initial two-week phase that severely limits the kinds of food that are to be eaten, a slow addition of carbohydrates in the 2nd phase, and a final maintenance phase once the target weight has been achieved. Also, the long term plan for both diets include eating normal servings.

2. Carbohydrate stipulation

Both Atkins and South Beach claim that there is a difference between carbohydrate sources. There exists  a "good" carb and a "bad" carb. Therefore, carbohydrate intake is also restricted.

Unhealthy carbohydrates are those that have been refined, such as sugars, white flours, etc. Both diets strongly advise against consuming this kind of carb.

Moreover, both diets strongly recommend avoiding trans fats.

3. Distinct carbohydrate levels

Carbohydrate levels, according to both Atkins and South beach Diet, vary from one individual to another. Therefore, these plans helps in determining individual carbohydrate levels for each dieter.


1. Diet basis

The South Beach Diet is a high protein plan, which is based on the assumption that weight gain is caused by excessive (highly processed) carbohydrate intake; wherein, these types of carbohydrates significantly increases insulin levels, thereby resulting in much greater cravings. The diet's ultimate goal is to encourage carbs that are low in sugar.

The Atkins Diet is not only a high protein plan like the South Beach Diet, since it is also a high fat program, which is based on the theory that weight gain is principally caused by the body's unsusceptibility to insulin.  As such, dieters are limited to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. The diet's ultimate goals is to promote a change from sugar-burning to fat-burning.

2. Recommended Fats

Probably the most noticeable difference between the two diet plans are their recommendations about incorporating fat in the diet.

The South Beach Diet cuts down one's intake of saturated fat. Instead, must be substituted by monosaturated ones, like olive and canola oil. Dr. Agatston also highlights the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids.

The Atkins Diet, on the other hand, suggests eating various fat types, with a balance of Omega 3 and 6. It also allows a higher amount of saturated fats compared to the South Beach Diet.

3. Carbohydrate counting

Atkins basically accounts for all the carbohydrates that can be digested, which means that all carbohydrates (except fiber) will be accounted for. Atkins utilizes gram counting, which is the measure of the amount of carbohydrates eaten on a daily basis.

South Beach Diet includes non-starchy vegetables and other carbohydrate sources by size and number portions. It encourages healthy snacking, instead of calorie counting.

4. Effects on metabolism

The South Beach Diet does not affect our body's cellular metabolism since it promotes a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The Atkins Diet, in contrast, radically restricts carbohydrate thus resulting to extreme metabolic changes. This extreme metabolic change is referred to as ketosis, which leads to side effects such as depression.


The choice between South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet can actually be based on your preference. If you want a steady diet and you don't mind keeping tab of your carbohydrate intake, you can consider Atkins. While the South Beach Diet is more lenient when it comes to carbohydrates, it requires a lot of cooking, especially since the plan involves recipes that are quite complicated. Just remember that in order to lose weight, you have to learn to live by the rules of whichever diet you decide to take on.

However, studies have shown that the Atkins Diet is an excellent short-term solution to losing weight but deciding to follow its program for years might put you at risk for cancer. The South Beach is the healthier version of the Atkins, which substitutes the latter's excessive guidelines with those that are based on the latest knowledge about heart health.

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