I think you are right to say that the two diets look very similar because they start from very similar ideas, focused around glycemic load. The core differences are that the South Beach diet starts with 2 weeks of very low carbs (much like Atkins) with the aim of getting the weightloss process started. Then it moves into a low glycemic load diet.
The zone diet is also a low glycemic load diet but it encourages a strict ratio of carbs, protein and fat at each meal. Some find this restrictive, but others find this kind of guidance on portion size useful.
Just focus hard and think thin
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