I am questioning the pros and cons of each diet, researching the differences, and looking for opinions for the diet that will work the best. I need to start again (for the "millionth" time). I have experience with some success with Atkins, but got burnt out after a year. I have tried WW, counting calories, counting fat grams, and Atkins. I was most successful with Atkins and stick to it for the longest time, but wondered if South Beach would help with variety.
Location: NW New Jersey But, My Heart's In Pittsburgh!! GO STEELERS & PENGUINS!!!
There are several differences between Atkins & SB. First, SB is not a low carb diet...but rather a "good fats/good carbs" eating plan.
Like SB, the first phase of Atkins, known as Induction is for 2 weeks...starchy veggies, grains & fruit are avoided...these are gradually re-introduced in the 2nd & 3rd phases...On Going Weight Loss & Pre-Maintenance.
On Atkins, dairy is limited however, its full-fat dairy such as heavy cream, full-fat cheeses & yogurt. SB uses fat-free & low-fat dairy.
Atkins encourages the use of real butter. SB uses margarine. Oils on Atkins are olive oil, canola, walnut, soybean, grape seed, sesame, sunflower & safflower.
SB permits sugar-free hard candies, popsicles & fudgesicles...Atkins does not.
Despite the bad rap Atkins has gotten through the years...done correctly, it is a healthy, life-long eating plan. Its not lbs. of bacon, butter & red meats but rather, lean meats, veggies, salads & whole grains.
I tried Atkins and got burnt out REALLY fast. For some reason I just couldnt do it. Several months later I bought the SB book. I read it from cover to cover and then went through the list of foods you could eat. I just picked out all the things I like...and thats all I ate. Once in awhile I would eat something bad for me, but so good! I lost 58 lbs and kept it off for over two years until my divorce. It was a new way of eating. After the divorce I ran to my comfort foods again for support. Now that I am over all that, I am back on the diet just over a week now and have lost 10 lbs. I got down to 192 before I shooting for my ideal weight this time!
Phase II of South Beach can look a lot like many people's OWL in Atkins. Both Atkins and South Beach were very influential in the plan I decided upon for myself. Blood sugar control really needs to be my top priority.
I found that I have portion control issues even with the "good carbs," so for me some type of counting is necessary. I chose an exchange plan with fewer starches than the traditional plans. I didn't eliminate starches, I just reduced them. Counting carbs with Atkins would have been another way to do this, but I really didn't trust my portion-control with proteins and fats either.
I tend to see Atkins as a bit more restrictive than South Beach because of the counting, although South Beach is more restrictive regarding fats. For me, neither was restrictive enough, because of other issues.
In general, I think that the least restrictive plan that is effective is the easiest to stick with, and sometimes restrictive is in the eye of the beholder. If you've got to be able to have full-fat pork bacon regularly to be happy, South Beach may be more difficult for you than Atkins.
I'm still struggling with the optimal carb level for myself, and recently I've been considering going no-grain. I could do that on either Atkins, South Beach, or my current exchange plan, but I've definitely decided that I have to severely limit or even eliminate sugars (even many natural ones) and other simple carbohydrates. Even small chain complex carbohydrates may have to go, because the easily digested carbohydrates (high GI carbs) just increase hunger to the point I find it difficult to manage. Yes, I can even overeat baked squash, steamed wheat berries, steel cut oats and even apples.
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For me, carbs are the issue. All of them. Especially when coupled with fat. If I choose more carbs than I should, about 60/day, I don't lose. If I eat more than 80 I gain. No matter what else I eat this rule applies. I can literally have unlimited meats, cheeses and salads and still lose. I have finally learned what my own body can and can't handle and that has been the difference this time. Not dieting per se, but avoiding hunger by snacking on good lower carb choices so I don't eat any extra carbs for convenience when I get hungry. I occasionally will eat some wheat bread to make a sandwhich, but never a wheat roll and never white. I will also occasionally have special k but no other cereal.
I think you need to learn what your body will respond to and that's different for all. Calories are the general problem for some, fats for another, and carbs for the next person. Find out what works AND what you can live with.
The only way I can lose is low carb; that said, I am learning now how many carbs I can eat and still lose weight with, so although I tend to lean towards following Atkins, I do eat more fruit than it allows so I guess my plan is a bit modified.
But is is working, and I am learning and having success. I think we all need to allow ourselves to experiment and find what works, and not be thrown if we gain or don't lose during the time we're trying things out because as soon as we figure it out we will be just losing and that's terrific!
Beans, beans, beans ! Beans were my deal-breaker when choosing between Atkins and SB. SB allows you to have beans even during induction, while beans are too high in carb for Atkins. That being said, I have lost weight in the past on both plans. It's all about choosing the plan that has the foods that you are most interested in eating. Good luck!
I've tried both diets, and for me personally, I've found that I feel SO much better following the South Beach diet. Atkins left me feeling miserable, listless, cranky, and suffering from headaches. Yuck. I find that I feel 100% better when following SB. I don't suffer from lack of energy when following the SB diet like I did with Atkins. And I really believe that SB is much more gentle on my digestive system than Atkins ever was. Once again, this is just my personal opinion, but looking at both of these diets as a long term commitment - SB just seems to be the healthier choice.
Scarlet unless you're in induction, there is no set amount of fruit that Atkins allows. In OWL, you add carbohydrates back in and those carbohydrates can be fruits.
I think that's the biggest misconception about Atkins, and one that I may not have given enough of an attempt. There is no set amount of carbs or what exactly those carb sources have to be (other than that they shouldn't be refined or processed). The book makes no claims regarding what your OWL carb level should be. The book gives a typical number, but it doesn't say anything about there being a limit to the range. Someone's OWL carb level could theoretically be 100 g of carbs or more.
I like my exchange plan, because it gives me more confidence that I am eating a balanced diet, but I learned so much from Atkins that I hate to see it misunderstood. Most of the criticism of Atkins isn't based on the real program, but on it's stereotype, or at the very least induction. And I can understand why they only study induction - because in OWL, the carbohydrate levels would possibly be extremely different from one subject to another's and therefore conclusions would be difficult to draw. I don't think induction is healthy for everyone. I think many people realize it by how they feel (I don't feel well at all on prolonged induction, so I'm guessing it's not good for me), but in a research study, they're going to pick a specific carb level they can assign to research participants, even though one person's ideal carb level might be twice someone else's.
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