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South Beach vs. Weight Watchers

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Authored by Malcolm Tatum in Weight Issues
Published on 01-15-2010

In the world of structured diet plans, the South Beach diet and Weight Watchers are two of the most popular and the most effective diets today. Advocates of each approach understandably consider their favorite to be a superior approach to dieting. While there are a number of similarities between the two approaches, there are some important differences that could make one plan a better option, depending on the general health and goals of the individual dieter.

When looking at any diet plan, one of the first things to consider is what you can and cannot eat. Here, the two plans take a different approach. In general, the South Beach diet will focus on the number of carbohydrates that are consumed at each of the phases of the overall plan. By contrast, Weight Watchers has a calorie counting plan that focuses more on serving size and the amount of fat that is included in the food consumed.

This can lead to some interesting differences in the approach to dieting that may be very important for the individual. For example, the process of wisely managing carbohydrate intake that is found with the South Beach diet can be extremely beneficial for anyone who is attempting to control diabetes by eating the right foods. At the beginning, there are relatively few carbohydrates allowed in the daily meal plans, while the emphasis is on eating lean meats, low fat dairy products, and a number of vegetables matched with limited quantities of nuts. Later in the plan, some foods that are a significant source of carbohydrates are slowly re-introduced into the meals, usually in very limited amounts.

With Weight Watchers, there are relatively few restrictions on the type of foods that can be consumed, although there is definitely a cap on the total number of calories that can be ingested during the course of the day. This approach works by assigned different foods a point value. Foods that have more calories and fat are assigned a higher point value, and thus use up more of the daily allotment of points than other foods. That does not mean there isn’t plenty to eat with Weight Watchers; foods like grilled or baked poultry and fish, lean meats, various fruits and vegetables, and even desserts can be incorporated into the daily diet. As long as the total point value of the day’s foods is within the limit, all is well.

Since both diets are effective, and both promote the consumption of lean meats and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, is there any real difference between the two? The answer is yes. While both approaches work well, the South Beach diet is clearly the winner when the goal is to manage carbohydrate intake effectively. For people who need help with portion control and making wiser decisions on food choices in general, Weight Watcher’s point system is an excellent approach to retraining the way you eat. Which one is best for you will really depend on what you need to do in order to reach a reasonable weight, and remain healthy while working toward that goal.

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