Popular Diet Plans
The Zone™ Diet
The Zone Diet was originally proposed by Barry Sears in his best-selling book, 'Entering the Zone.' It is basically a high protein, low carbohydrate, semi-starvation diet. This diet is based on 30% of the calories from protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrate.
Balance is the key focus of Sears' plan. More specifically, the balancing of the correct ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein is key to the success of this diet plan. Dr. Sears suggests that by consuming the right amounts of these components, you can control your body's insulin production. Sears says that when your insulin is at the right level, your body burns fat more effectively. There is also a concentration on avoiding "bad" carbohydrates whenever possible.
The foundation of the Zone Diet is the relationship between the hormone insulin and substances called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are hormone-like substances that control many vital physiological functions, including those of the cardiovascular system, immune system, and nervous system. Dr. Sears believes that certain eicosanoids are "good" and others are "bad." When insulin levels are high, "bad" eicosanoids are produced. Dr. Sears contends that his Zone Diet, which contains 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat, is the ideal diet for keeping insulin levels in check.
The Zone Diet is popular among people desiring to lose weight. Even though the diet is low in calories, it contains enough fat to provide a sense of fullness.
Advocates of the Zone Diet contend that living "in the Zone" improves energy levels, mental clarity, physical endurance, and promotes weight loss. Dr. Sears has worked with many elite athletes and attributes their success in competition to his diet.
Most people find an improvement in their energy levels and general alertness. Any fatigue you may feel the first few days will likely dissipate and be replaced with renewed vigor.
Normalizing insulin levels can eliminate food cravings, making it easier for dieters to not cheat.
The zone's emphasis on reducing sugar is timely, with the epidemic of diabetes in the US and around the world.
One of the tenets of the program is portion control. Once you get familiarized with this concept you can use it for lifestyle changes (balance and moderation) even if you get out of the "zone."
You will learn to practice mindful eating by monitoring your food intake.
Like all calorie restricted diets, the Zone diet is next to impossible to follow for very long because it hurts to be hungry.
The dietary rules are complicated and it is basically a calorie restricted diet. For anyone trying to follow and stay on the program, you will find it almost impossible to maintain.
This diet plan requires commitment -- if you're not ready to monitor your diet and devote a significant amount of time to planning your meals, this diet probably isn't for you. It may be impractical to maintain the very low caloric requirement for long periods of time.
Most nutrition professionals favor a high-complex-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for general health and weight loss. They caution that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets lack key nutrients for health, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and several minerals. In addition, the high intake of meat products necessary to meet the protein requirements of the Zone Diet may place certain individuals at risk of heart disease due to increased intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Some experts have suggested that not enough vegetables are included in this diet (even though it does incorporate some), and that by reducing "bad" carbohydrates, we as a result may miss out on "good" ones as well.
Persons with kidney failure should stay away from the diet. High amounts of protein increase the amount of nitrogen-containing waste products the kidneys must process for elimination.
Not all sports nutritionists and athletes believe that the Zone Diet is ideal for athletic training and performance. A significant amount of research in the field of exercise physiology has shown that fatigue during exercise is primarily caused by depletion of the body's stored carbohydrates (called glycogen). Most athletes' glycogen stores are depleted within 90 minutes of intense exercise, leaving muscles without any source of energy to fuel activity. As a result, many experts believe that a sufficient intake of carbohydrates before and during exercise is crucial for increasing endurance.
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