Mediterranean Diet and South Beach Diet: A Detailed Comparison


The Mediterranean Diet plan and the South Beach Diet plan are two of the most popular diet plans on the market today. These two diets feature a wide variety of differences as well as some similarities. In order to determine which diet plan is right for you consider the following detailed comparison.

Mediterranean Diet Explained

The Mediterranean Diet is often called “The Healthiest Diet in the World” because of its healthy weight loss benefits. Just as the name implies, the Mediterranean Diet has been enjoyed by people who live in the Mediterranean region, particularly Italy and Greece, for thousands of years. However, it is only recently that the Mediterranean diet has gained popularity in American.

The Mediterranean diet is a diet low in saturated fat with healthy mono-unsaturated fats being provided through fish, nuts and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet features foods such as:

  • dried and fresh fruit such as apricots, melons, apples and oranges
  • vegetables such as arugula, celery, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, mushrooms, etc…
  • whole grains
  • salmon, turkey, lamb, and tuna but almost no red meat
  • a small amount of wine

The Mediterranean Diet is the most studied diet in the world. Study after study has proven that The Mediterranean Diet is effective in preventing gallstones, breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet is inherently a high fiber, high carbohydrates diet that helps dieters and health conscious individuals achieve their weight loss goals through portion control and the consumption of low glycemic index carbohydrates.

The Mediterranean Diet is right for you if:

  • You are willing to make a lifelong commitment to learning proper portion control
  • You enjoy discovering and preparing new recipes

South Beach Diet Explained

The South Beach Diet is a newer, low-carb, high protein diet where carbohydrates are prohibited during the first phase of the plan, and then are slowly introduced back into the diet after two weeks.

The South Beach Diet features three phases all together, with the third being for maintenance. The focus is on lean sources of protein such as chicken, turkey, shellfish, and fish as well as nuts, eggs, and low-fat cheese.

The South Beach Diet’s benefits include fast weight loss and a long-term balanced diet plan to help with weight maintenance. However, the potential long-term health benefits or health hazards of this diet have not yet been thoroughly studied.

The South Beach Diet is right for you if:

  • You don’t mind following a very strict diet plan in order to lose weight fast
  • You are not vegetarian
  • You do not have diabetes or kidney disease. High protein diets are generally not recommended for diabetics and people with kidney disease because of the extra strain these diets place on the kidneys

How The Mediterranean Diet Compares To The South Beach Diet

The similarities of these two diets include:

  • Restaurant quality meals
  • Both diets provide an avenue for fast weight loss
  • Both diets feature a plan for lifetime weight loss maintenance

How The Mediterranean Diet Differs From The South Beach Diet

  • With The Mediterranean Diet, alcohol, especially wine, is allowed in moderation.
  • Alcohol is prohibited in the first phase of the South Beach Diet.
  • The Mediterranean Diet is high in fiber while the South Beach Diet is extremely low in fiber during its initial two phases.
  • Portion control is the main focus of The Mediterranean Diet.
  • The South Beach Diet restricts what is eaten by prohibiting certain fruits and vegetables.
  • The South Beach Diet has only been around a few years.
  • The Mediterranean Diet has been around for thousands of years.
  • Studies have shown that those eating a Mediterranean Diet have less risk of major diseases and can even increase longevity.
  • The long term effects of The South Beach Diet have not been studied, yet.


Paulin Soleyman
Paulin Soleyman is the founder and editor of The Underground Bootcamp. Her goal is to help everyday people live healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives by sharing all that she knows about healthy living, nutrition, and fitness.
Paulin Soleyman


  1. Mary Dailey says

    My grandparents were Greek and lived to be 88 and 91. Even though they came from Greece to live in the U.S., they mostly ate a Mediterranean diet. Don’t forget that chicken and baked fish are also highly consumed by Greeks. Fish is huge in their diet. I was lucky enough to have Greek parents that carried on the tradition. I still love Greek food. I only have 22 Greek cookbooks! LOL

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