Today most diets choose carbohydrates as the culprit in weight gain. As in most cases this is true, there are some things you need to know before trying these diets. The first is that your body needs carbohydrates as a source of initial or quick energy. Not all carbohydrates are created equally. With the exception of fiber and some fat all of your food is changed to a simple sugar for your bodies use. The vitamins and minerals and other important enzymes that we get from food is taken out before being changed to sugar.
The Atkins diet has four phases, the induction phase, the ongoing weight loss phase, the pre-maintenance phase, and the maintenance phase. The first phase drops your carbohydrate level to as low as 20 grams for the day. That is less than one chocolate chip cookie. Your body is shocked into a lack of carbohydrates. When you enter the next phase you will be adding carbs back until you start gaining weight.
The South Beach Diet is not as restrictive but close. Both diets need you to limit your carbohydrate intake in the first phase. You are allowed certain unlimited foods but these are mostly high protein low carbohydrate foods. You are allowed unlimited amounts of lettuces but you are restricted in tomatoes, onions and other fruits and vegetables that are high in carbohydrates. Both diets require you to stop eating pasta, potatoes, rice and most fruits. The second and third phases are less restrictive but this diet is extremely low on carbohydrates and you will never be able to eat those foods you really like.
By looking at diabetic diets that are also low in carbohydrates they are much more lenient than this diet. The reality is that these diets are basically cutting a whole food group out of your diet. That is never good because your body uses carbohydrates. Most people do not realize that most fruits are laden with carbohydrates as sugar is sugar no matter where it comes from. The difference is that fruits offer you much more in fiber and vitamins and minerals.
Both of these diets allow unlimited fats such as butter. Meats are another food group that you can have as you will get some of your blood sugar from the digestion of the meat. The initial phase of both diets is about two weeks then you go on a less restrictive diet but not very much.
These diets are very hard on your body as anytime you remove a food group and replace it with foods you are not accustomed to is hard. The other downside is that as long as you stay on the diet carbohydrates are always restricted and generally not allowed.
Neither of these diets teaches you how to change your bad habits they restrict the food you can eat. Atkins does offer supplements that they market to help you lose weight easier. Do you need to be on this restrictive of a diet? Probably not and if you are extremely overweight or obese these diets will be both hard on your system and you because they offer no real substitute for the poor eating habits that you have used.
You will lose weight with these diets. Neither of these diets have any real exercise routine so all the weight loss comes from cutting carbohydrates from your body. When you exercise you have room for a snack or fruit because you will burn the excess sugar off during your next exercise routine.
I do believe that you can lose weight on both diets. The problem is they are at the extreme and they are both new and these diets have not been tested long term. Do not be fooled with the so called studies that are quoted by Atkins and South Beach as these have been funded by the people selling the diet. There are other more well balanced diets that you can go on to lose weight and keep it off.