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Shelly110 09-29-2010 02:30 PM

The Zone or Atkins?
I am wanting to lose about 5lbs, but most of all focus on a lifestyle change. I know that Atkins has the stages, and I of coarse would want to aim for the final stage of knowing how much carbs my body can tolerate. Including berries, whole grains and the lower glycemic carbs such as veggies and fruits. I am more familiar with Atkins than the Zone. I am more accustomed to the Atkins way, so to pursue the zone I am a tad nervous. After researching it however it looks very balanced and a great lifestyle change. Does anyone have an opinion or a testimonial on either?

iq_rider 09-30-2010 07:05 PM

I used the Zone diet ( & exercise ) 7 years ago to drop about 80 lbs. It was a change to cut the bad carbs out..... but you do get used to it and don't miss them. Since then I have stayed on the diet ( with some alterations). My Dr. has nothing bad to say about the diet... my blood work is always great! I am not going to tell everyone that this is "THE" diet, for as we all know, no one diet works for everyone. Just that it has worked well for me and continues to.

Shelly110 09-30-2010 08:11 PM

Thank you
Thank you so much for your input. The Zone looks like a great way to eat and make a lifestyle. Congrats on your success! That is very encouraging to me.

yauncin 09-30-2010 09:33 PM


Research on The Zone and Atkins has shown that the high-protein diet creates a resistance to insulin which could spark diabetes. You need to be careful when you chose a diet like this.
I would like to see this research.

dan-anderson 09-30-2010 11:18 PM

That article, while interesting, doesn't seem to actually support your position from above (~~ high protein = diabetes).

It basically says,

"With respect to insulin sensitivity, diets enriched in saturated fats can induce insulin resistance, whereas fat substitution with monounsaturated fats can enhance insulin sensitivity. Therefore, in assessing the safety of high-fat diets, it is important to control for the composition of ingested fat. High-fiber, high-carbohydrate diets comprised of foods with low caloric density can similarly be used for effective weight reduction and to ameliorate insulin resistance. Although some data suggest that low-GI diets are most advantageous in this regard, these effects may have more to do with increments in dietary fiber than differences in available carbohydrates."

So, eat avocados and walnuts, not bacon and slim jims. :)

cjohnson728 10-01-2010 04:42 AM


Originally Posted by SaraR74 (Post 22240)
I've seen so many people struggle with these low-carb diets.

I wasn't aware that the Zone was a low carb diet. I thought it was 40-30-30?

That being said, I think the Zone is a lot more balanced and sustainable than Atkins...although I have said this before and will say it again: The diet that works for you is the one that you can live with. No matter how good a "diet" is, if you won't stay with it, you won't get anywhere. I am fully behind the idea of looking at it as a lifestyle change as opposed to something you go "on" and "off."

I've read a lot of stuff going through this process and tried a lot of different things, but what eventually worked to get me to goal weight and to maintain it (I might add for the first time ever) is learning to listen to my body, how it reacts to certain types of foods, what will stall me, what will kick start me, and what makes me feel best. It takes a lot of trial and error, but once you figure it out, you will always know it. Truth is, if there was a one-diet-fits-all (or even a one-diet-much-better-than-others), we'd all be doing it.

iq_rider 10-01-2010 01:40 PM

There are carbs in the fruit you eat, the veggies that you eat... it's just the processed foods that you are cutting out. White bread, rice..... I talked to my Dr. about it and he read up on it and told me to come back monthly to check my blood work... I did and never a problem. If you look at what is on a diabetics menu in a restaurant... Basically a zone diet type of meal. small portions of meat... size of your palm, and two servings of veggies, the size of your fist (each). Cut out your dinner roll and your potato=zone meal.

rpmcduff 10-01-2010 04:01 PM

iq_rider and Cassie; Congratulations to both of you on your success and maintaining!

I think many of us here on Fitday have taken a approach similar to the Zone without calling it that. Ie.. cutting out or restricting processed foods and simple carbohydrates. As Cassie stated, I believe an important part of long term success is to approach this as a lifestyle change and not just a short term diet.

Shelly110 may only need to lose 5lbs. but most of us here started with much heftier (pardon the pun) weight problems and we need a long term solution not just a short term 'diet'. If you think you can return to your old way of eating once you reach your goal you haven't really thought this through. Your old eating habits got you overweight and if you return to them you will become overweight again.

I would encourage everyone to find a approach that works for you and that you can sustain indefinetly. Otherwise you may be one of those that has success and is then back here on Fitday lamenting that all the weight has come back.

Shelly110 10-01-2010 05:45 PM

Thanks so much to all of you for responding. I really appreciate it. I feel the Zone is a balanced way of eating that can be a lifestyle. I agree with all of you that it has to be something I can do and works for me. Finding that out is a tricky thing for me right now. But, it is worth it and I want to live a healthy life. I don't want to struggle like my parents do physically. So, I must make a lifestyle change that will work for me.

davej323 10-05-2010 07:22 PM


Originally Posted by SaraR74 (Post 22245)

This study is inherently flawed, in that it tested the insulin response with variation of saturated fat intake independent of a low-carbohydrate dietary approach, and in testing insulin response they chose to ignore or downplay the significance of results that did not support their hypothesis and they attempt to discredit the standard typically used for measuring insulin response (fasting glucose), which can be a very effective means of measurement when used to develop individual trends over time. Furthermore, it seems to me that this study is a classic example of confirmation bias. It is obvious that the researchers set out to prove that it is possible to control insulin response even while following a high-carbohydrate nutritional approach. While this may be possible, the study did nothing to prove that diets higher in saturated fat can lead to insulin resistance when followed in conjunction with a low-carbohydrate nutritional approach. Let me also quote directly from that article in a few places, after which I am sure all of us following the Atkins plan can safely disregard this study:

"Additional research is needed to explore differential effects of low- and high-fat diets on weight loss, appetite behavior, satiety, insulin sensitivity, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in both the short and long term. Very little is known regarding long-term safety of high-fat diets and their long-term effects on metabolism and cardiovascular disease risk."
All this says it that more research is needed. Since low carbohydrate nutritional plans have been studied for nearly 150 years now, and have been shown to be effective in weight loss and the control of T2 diabetes, I am not sure what further research these people need to see.

"Recently, two randomized controlled trials that compared the longer term effects (6 months to 1 yr) of traditional low-fat diets vs. ad libitum high-fat diets have received a great deal of attention (40, 41). Foster et al. (40) compared the efficacy of the low-carbohydrate (initially restricted to 20 g carbohydrate/d), high-fat Atkins diet with a conventional low-fat (25% of calories), low-calorie diet (12001500 kcal/d in females and 15001800 kcal/d in males) in otherwise-healthy obese subjects (mean BMI, 34 kg/m2). The high-fat diet produced a greater weight loss than the low-fat diet after 6 months (6.7 vs. 2.7 kg), but at 1 yr, the amount of weight loss was not significantly different between the two groups (4.3 vs. 2.5 kg)."
This simply means that, at one year, a low-fat diet shows to also be effective in terms of weight loss. 4.3kg versus 2.5kg does seem like a significant difference to me, but I realize that the term "significant" is subjective. Nobody following or supporting the Atkins plan would ever suggest that it is the only effective means to lose weight or control diabetes, so this will not serve as a revelation to any of us.

"In the second study, Samaha et al. (41) compared the effects of a low-carbohydrate (≤30 g/d), high-fat diet vs. a low-fat (≤30 g/d) National Heart Lung and Blood Institute diet (43) designed to create a caloric deficit of 500 kcal/d. Their subjects were severely obese (mean BMI, 43 kg/m2), and most were African-Americans, hypertensive, and characterized by either type 2 diabetes or the IRS. In this 6-month study, subjects on the high-fat diet lost more weight than those on the low-fat diet; however, the amount of weight loss was low (5.8 vs. 1.9 kg), and the dropout rate was again very high, particularly in the high-fat diet group (47 vs. 33% in the low-fat diet group), indicative of pervasive noncompliance. The authors also emphasized that the high-fat diet led to greater improvements in insulin sensitivity than the low-fat diet group, but these effects were minimal, and the authors again used a suboptimal index based on fasting glucose and insulin levels as a measure of insulin sensitivity."
Here is an example of disregarding evidence that does not support their hypothesis. The high-fat diet was more successful in improving insulin sensitivity, so they suggest that the high-fat displayed displayed "pervasive noncompliance," when in fact there were significant dropouts in both test groups. They also use subjective terms such as "low" and "minimal" again. They did not even bother to mention the actual values of these "minimal" effects. It is very obvious that they are trying once again to discredit any evidence that doesn't support their hypothesis.

"With respect to saturated fat, epidemiological studies show that high intake of total and saturated fat is associated with insulin resistance, and this relationship may be dependent on increased body adiposity (54). However, multiple cross-sectional studies have found that intake of both saturated and trans FAs is associated with hyperinsulinemia and with risk of type 2 diabetes, independent of general obesity (55, 56, 57). High intake of polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs) does not appear to have the same adverse effects and may even result in an increase in insulin sensitivity (58). For example, Summers et al. (59) recently studied the effect of substituting dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat on insulin sensitivity in healthy, obese, and type 2 diabetic subjects. Their findings demonstrated that an isocaloric diet enriched in polyunsaturated fat resulted in both an increase in insulin sensitivity assessed by glucose clamp and a lowering of LDL cholesterol when compared with a diet rich in saturated FAs. However, it was not possible in this study to conclude whether it was the increase in dietary PUFA or the decrease in saturated fat that produced the relative benefits in the PUFA diet subgroup. In addition, diets enriched in polyunsaturated fat have not consistently been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (60), and long-term intervention trials have not been conducted. Discrepancies in the short-term studies are often attributable to the failure to control for dietary FA and carbohydrate composition (e.g. amount of MUFA), total calories, physical activity, and population characteristics such age, gender, and adiposity."
Well, I don't think this is really news to anyone. An increase in saturated fat intake can have many adverse effects when you isolate that factor across the entire population. Even this study recognizes the fact that these results are not reliable when carbohydrate intake, as well as other disincluded factors, are not considered.

I could go on in pointing out the errors, bias, and inconsistency in this study, but I think I made the point. Atkins folks, you can safely disregard this study. Thank you for trying to help us, Sara. This study was no help whatsoever, but we appreciate your concern.

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