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The Zone Compared to Other Diets

Most diets, including high-protein diets; only create deficiency, hunger, and fatigue though enough weight loss is caused temporarily. These starve-yourself-diets most often fail, because they are so malnourished and they are not recommended for a lifetime. This is why the Zone is not a diet. It is a life-long food administration system that provides wonderful elasticity in your food options to achieve the hormonal objective that assures permanent fat loss.

Dieting in the Zone means following recipes with a low-carbohydrate diet plan, where proteins do not dominate the carbohydrates. This allows dieters to get more energy from carbohydrates rather from proteins or fats. The Zone diet, unlike other diets, insists dieters to keep a close watch on the calorie consumption while eating: a meal not exceeding 500 calories and a snack not exceeding 100 calories is ideal for staying in the Zone.

With that as a backdrop, let's look at some of the popular diets and see how they go against the Zone. Let’s not forget that the Zone was actually developed as a remedy to treat cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes, with the additional lasting benefits of everlasting fat loss and improved long life. On the other hand, most diets are nothing more than temporary weight-loss programs because they can't be followed for a lifetime. The reason why these diets fail is because they are hormonally imperfect.

Atkins Diet
Developed especially for meat-lovers; this is a severe example of the high-protein diets, where over-consumption of protein (often rich in saturated fat) is permitted. Granted, you lose weight in no time, but much of that initial weight loss is primarily due to increased excretion to eliminate irregular ketone bodies. However, on the Atkins diet you are almost certain to regain the weight because continual ketosis gets used to your fat cells to become "fat magnets". In addition, the high saturated fat consumption boosts the thickness of your cell membranes so that over time your insulin receptors become less responsive resulting in an increase in insulin levels. Net result: Fat recovery is expected. Furthermore, some very nasty enduring health risks like the increased risk of heart disease due to increased lipid oxidation also occur in continued ketosis.

The Atkins diet, based on excess protein intake completely ignores realistic amounts of carbohydrates and hence is unbalanced. Umpteen numbers of people have tried this diet before, have lost weight, and then regain the weight back. Generally speaking, meat and cheese, the chief constituents of the Atkins Diet are expensive. Dr Atkins actually admits in his book "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution" that "the program is capable of aggravating certain conditions, notably: Gout and uric acid, kidney stones, gall bladder colic, constipation, digestive deficiencies involving ability to digest fat or protein, and a small percentage of lipid disorders." Other unpleasant effects of a build up of ketones in the body can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and bad breath. Dr. Atkins actually admits that bad breath is a by-product of his diet due to excess ketone production. This does not help out at a nightclub on a Friday night!

Another possible and little known effect of this Fad diet is negative impact on the body resistance function. One study, published in Life Sciences Journal in 1996 states "these data indicate that extensive aerobic exercise causes impaired neutrophil bactericidal function, probably due to the induced increases in both cortisol and ketone bodies. This impaired neutrophil function may cause the susceptibility to infection after an extensive exercise." So if you’re on the Atkins diet and just finished a hard workout, you may want to bust out the echinacea and anti-bacterial hand lotion quickly. This decrease in immune function with ketosis is not conclusive but it is certainly something to look at further. But since the Atkins diet eliminates many fruits and vegetables, key phytonutrients are absent from the Atkins dieters’ bodies. This may put them at greater risk for certain illnesses. Also, cortisol is always a problem with the Atkins program. The hormone Insulin actually suppresses cortisol (a catabolic hormone in the body that can cause muscle breakdown) but with low insulin output due to the absence of carbohydrates, cortisol levels could increase. High levels of cortisol have been linked to many diseases including HIV and some cancers.

The Atkins diet is even receiving disapproval from national organizations such as the American Dietetic Association. Since the diet removes a lot of key dietary fiber from the daily meals, it could cause serious constipation, kidney strain, and fluid dehydration as mentioned previously. Mineral and PH imbalance can also result from long-term ketosis. This can have major health implications such as increased kidney stress. That is why Dr. Atkins always recommends a good multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement when on the diet (the Atkins brand actually has a decent multi vitamin/mineral supplement for people on this diet). Many published studies from the 70's (when the diet was first popular) clobber the diet in a big way saying things like "hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) is to be expected in agreater part of the adherents to such a diet", "the Atkins diet seems to be potentially hazardous to health", and "Atkins theories are at best half-truths and the results he claims lack credibility". Another recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in October 2000 says, "While high fat diets may promote temporary weight loss, the potential hazards for worsening risk for progression of atherosclerosis override the short-term benefits." The Atkins diet supporters say that the diet actually reduces appetite but in one research study, a minimum-carbohydrate, low caloric ketogenic diet did not reduce appetite any more than a diet that did not promote ketosis. There is crushing evidence that the Atkins diet may have long-term adverse health effects.

The Atkins diet may be beneficial for losing quick weight within one month before a ceremony or a major occasion but for the long term, it doesn’t look too appealing. It is an option for someone who has tried everything and has nothing else to turn to—but remember to monitor cholesterol and other physiological measurements while on the program. As long as Americans are looking for a quick fix weight loss solution, no matter what the consequence, the Atkins Diet will be there for them.

Ornish Diet
This is a very-low fat diet that is the exact opposite of the Atkins diet. On this course your aim is to consume as little fat as possible, and have lots of carbohydrates. Since fat has no straight effect on insulin and carbohydrates stimulate insulin, this so-called nutritional approach is also hormonally defective in terms of your lasting goal to be in command of insulin. More worrying is the fact that a group of cardiovascular patients, who followed this diet for five years, suffered twice as many lethal heart attacks than a similar control group who followed the less-limiting American Heart Association diet.

The Ornish diet can be low in other nutrients including protein, vitamin B12, and iron. Proper meal planning is essential and vitamin supplementation may be necessary to prevent deficiencies. Fat has many important roles in our diets. Although 10% of calories from fat may be adequate to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, a very-low-fat diet like the Ornish Diet, is difficult for most people to follow. Fat provides a pleasant taste to food. It also gives us a feeling of satiety, meaning it helps us feel satisfied, curbs our appetite, and guards against overeating. People who follow a very-low-fat diet often feel hungry and unsatisfied. The Ornish diet is based on carbohydrate excess just as long as you don't eat any fat. This diet is just as acute as the Atkins Diet.

Carbohydrate Addicts Diet
Of all diet programs this program totally lacks reason. We have heard of cryotherapy for cold but how about excessive carbohydrate intake once a day to fight weight? On this program, you eat two high-protein meals and then “reward” yourself with a high-carbohydrate meal, which aggravates your insulin levels. Again, another diet that promotes hormonal imbalance.

Protein Power
This diet launches with a high-protein diet, and then switches to the Zone for maintenance. This diet restricts carbs, and any diet that restricts carbs limits overall calories too as a result and the consequence is weight gain. What’s more, weight lost in this manner is normally largely water and will be regained quickly the diet stops. Also, like so many other diets, by reducing calories, it lessens healthy foods and is an example of a bad diet to follow over extended periods of time.

American Heart Association Diet
A less restrictive on cholesterol and fat intake than the Ornish diet, this diet adheres to the USDA Food Pyramid, in other words, it depends too heavily on high-density carbohydrates like grains, starches, and pasta. As a consequence of higher carbohydrate intake, insulin levels can amplify on this diet.

©2004 Zone Diet Info