Atkins and South Beach Diet Approaches
The Atkins and the South Beach diets offer different approaches to reducing insulin response levels. Both diets emphasize low carbohydrate consumption in order to avoid a high insulin response, which is thought to increase cholestrol levels and inhibit the body's ability to break down fats. Instead, the Atkins and South Beach diets attempt to achieve a lower and theoretically healthier insulin response by restricting carbohydrate consumption in different manners. Given this common objective, it is possible to compare the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet based upon their respective dietary requirements and insulinemic effects.
First, terminology important to understanding the theory
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Phase two lasts 3-4 months and incorporates slightly more low carbohydrate foods (nuts and seeds), fibrous vegetables, and even berries3. Phase three typically last 2-3 months and introduces Atkins-acceptable fruit (identified in the Atkins diet plan) in small, controlled portions4. Phase four, which lasts for the rest of one's life, is similar to phase three, emphasizing limited, measured portions of certain carbohydrates and liberal amounts of fats and proteins5. Basically, the Atkins dietary plan is premised on the idea that foods predominantly comprised of carbohydrates, such as bread and sugar, should be replaced by protein and fat (the other two major food groups6) and foods lower in carbohydrates, like nuts and olives. The Atkins plan holds that these latter foods, also known as good carbohydrates, produce a lower insulin response than would occur with higher carbohydrate foods7, also known as bad carbohydrates. Likewise, fibrous fruits and vegetables are considered to be good carbohydrates since they contain fiber, a structural component of fruits and vegetables that lessens the cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood8, thus contributing to a theoretically lower insulin response. Finally, the Atkins theory holds that there is a link between high blood insulin levels and undesired metabolic effects,