Features of popular diets

The Atkins Diet is aimed at offering a «metabolic advantage» that allows overweight individuals to eat as many or more calories as they were eating before starting the diet yet still lose pounds and inches. Low-carbohydrate diets are also supposed to correct serious medical complications, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Before you read on, it’s important to point out that a low-carbohydrate diet doesn’t necessarily mean a high-fat diet. Low-carbohydrate diets can be either low in fat and high in protein, or high in fat and low in protein. Contrary to popular belief, the Atkins Diet actually consists of four diets, rather than just one.

Induction PhaseThe Induction Phase lasts for two weeks. The goal of this phase is to correct an unbalanced metabolism by restricting the daily intake of carbohydrate to 20 grams or less. This isn’t easy, especially when you consider that just one slice of bread contains around 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) Phase
Despite the limit on carbohydrate intake during the first part of the Atkins Diet, you’re free to eat as much fat and protein as you want. After the first two weeks, you move on to phase two — Ongoing Weight Loss. During this second phase, you’re able to eat more carbohydrate. The idea is to increase your daily carbohydrate intake in small increments until weight loss slows down. Some people might be able to get away with more carbohydrate (50-75 grams daily), while others will need slightly less. Dr Atkins recommends that you stick with this plan until you reach your target weight.

Pre-Maintenance Phase
Once you’ve almost reached your weight loss goal, you enter the Pre-Maintenance part of the Atkins Diet. In this phase of the Atkins Diet, you introduce more varied carbs slowly into you diet. You monitor how much carbohydrates you can eat without putting on much weight. This involves gradually increasing your carbohydrate intake until you’re losing less than one pound per week.

Maintenance Phase
When you move on to the Maintenance phase of the diet, you’re allowed to consume as much carbohydrate as you want, just as long as you don’t gain weight. Dr Atkins still recommends that you avoid sugar on the maintenance diet, and suggests that you eat just enough carbohydrates to keep your energy levels stable.

The South Beach Diet is a form of a low carb diet, but less strict allowing some healthy carbs. This diet allows more flexibility in eating than other low carb diets.

Dr. Arthur Agatston is a cardiologist based in South Florida. Several years ago, he developed a diet for his chronically overweight heart patients. Soon, thanks to his patients’ excellent results, Dr. Agatston’s diet became all the buzz in Miami.

In 2003, The South Beach Diet: The delicious, doctor-designed, foolproof plan for fast and healthy weight loss hit the shelves and quickly became regional buzz nationwide. Bill Clinton and Bette Midler have sung the diet’s praises, as well as scores of other successful «South Beachers».

The South Beach Diet focuses on reducing the number of «bad carbs» one consumes, while encouraging «good carbs and good fats». Highly processed foods like baked goods and soft drinks are examples of the «bad carbs».

South Beach is sometimes referred to as a «kinder» or less-strict version of Atkins, but it is actually quite a bit different. The main similarity between the two diets both consist of an introductory two-week period. As with the Induction phase on Atkins, Phase 1 of South Beach is quite a bit more stringent than the last two phases — which consist of continued weight loss and maintenance.

In order to properly follow the plan, you use food lists that are included in the first phases of the diet. These lists tell you which types of foods to avoid and which to incorporate into your meals. You can easily create your own menu using foods from these lists. There are also a number of recipes included in the plan.

The best way to lose excess fat and maintain a healthy weight in the long term is to follow a balanced calorie-controlled diet (that improves your eating habits) and engaging in regular aerobic exercise.

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