Choosing the right low-carb diet: Atkins, Dukan, Ketogenic and South Beach details

If you've decided to go on a diet and lose weight in 2014, it's time to find the right approach. Researchers increasingly are discovering that low carb diets have significant advantages, including boosting your metabolism and helping you stay full longer. From Atkins to ketogenic to South Beach and beyond, get the skinny on different types.

Your options for low carb diets:

Atkins:
You go through four phases, with each allowing an increasing number of net carbs per day. It's designed to burn fat faster while minimizing hunger pangs and carb cravings. The Atkins diet has recently been updated to include more fiber, and you can learn more by clicking here for "The New Atkins Made Easy: A Faster, Simpler Way to Shed Weight and Feel Great -- Starting Today."

However, you can also learn a lot about the science behind the plan and how to make it work for you in "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great" (click for details). There's also a cookbook: "The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook: 200 Simple and Delicious Low-Carb Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less (Touchstone Book)."

Ketogenic Diet
Although it's similar to Atkins, carbohydrates are more strictly restricted throughout the weight loss plan. It's designed to cause your body to burn fat for fuel rather than use carbohydrates by putting your body into a state of ketosis.

There are several books that can help, including:

Dukan Diet:
Rated low on the list of "best diets" by U.S. News & World Report, the Dukan diet is heavy on protein, in particular the "all-you-can-eat, pure protein “Attack” phase." Various phases add more foods until you achieve "Permanent Stabilization."

On the plus size: Protein lovers will be in heaven, and the variations in cycles can help prevent boredom.  You can learn more by clicking here for "The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever."

South Beach Diet:
Earning praise from WebMD, the South Beach Diet emphasizes that weight loss and health require learning to select the right carbohydrates and fats, says Miami-based cardiologist Arthur Agatston, M.D.

He developed the plan initially to help his heart patients before turning into a fiber-rich, low carb diet to help reduce cravings and jump-start weight loss. In the first two weeks, you can lose eight to 13 pounds, says the author. 

WebMD terms it "a healthy approach to eating that can help you shed pounds." 

There's also a version of the South Beach Diet that emphasizes removing gluten from your menu. Learn more:

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