The South Beach Diet, during the early weight loss phase, allows slightly more carbs than Atkins – about 10-15% of total calories compared to Atkins 3%. But 10-15% is still way below the 50-60% carbohydrates scientific research recommends as a well-balanced, healthy eating plan.
The early weight loss phase of Dr. Agatson’s diet is not only too low in carbohydrates, it’s also too high in fat. The dinner menus for this phase average over 50% fat and are as high as 82%. The beef recipes are not only high in total fat, but they’re also high in saturated fat. Even the vegetarian menus in the beginning phase average 63% fat. Whatever happened to plain old steamed vegetables?
The maintenance phase also encourages carbohydrates be kept down to about 25% of total calories, which is only slightly more than the Atkins maintenance program. And most of the recommended dishes are still very high in total fat. One chicken menu, for example, calls for about 1 ¼ cups of olive oil for six people. That’s over 3 tablespoons of oil per person, plus the fat from the chicken. Whatever happened to plain old broiled chicken with a little seasoning?
No matter what Dr. Agatson says, his program is still a low carb/high fat diet. The only basic carbohydrate difference between Atkins and Agatson is that the South Beach is a little less restrictive during the initial phase. But in the end, when it comes to carbs, they’re about the same.
As for the percentage of fat, they’re also about the same. Although Agatson doesn’t encourage saturated animal fats, as Atkins does, he does waffle a bit on the subject. “Bacon’s not so terrible,” he says, “so long as you don’t over do it.” For nutritional advice, this is way too vague for anyone on a diet.
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