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Old 09-28-2007, 11:17 AM   #1
Samuel Fold
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Zone diet unhealthy?

I've been following the Zone diet for a week or so now. Mainly because it's been mentioned so many times to me by people at cfnyc and also on the crossfit main site.

However, i've read a few websites today that suggest it isn't as healthy as Sears makes out. They say he doesn't cite references or studies that prove the zone results in less disease and better health. In fact, they say that studies show that increasing fat intake causes more harm than increasing carb intake.

Here are the links to the articles I read...

http://www.vegsource.com/attwood/zone.htm

http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0924.html


So, who are we to believe? I'm always willing to try anything but I would like to see more clinical studies of the zone diet to understand 100% whether it is healthy or not..
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:06 PM   #2
Jason Fryer
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

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Originally Posted by Samuel Fold View Post
In fact, they say that studies show that increasing fat intake causes more harm than increasing carb intake.
http://www.vegsource.com/attwood/zone.htm
http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0924.html
A lot of the first article is context and fear based. For example:

"If ketosis sounds familiar, it's also the result when insulin-dependent diabetics can't metabolize carbohydrates without their insulin injections -- a state leading up to diabetic coma." That's true, but they word it to fool you, ketosis is NOT the state leading to diabetic coma, being so far into diabetes that you are fully insulin-dependant for metabolization IS. If you continue to slip into diabetes you can definitely end up in a diabetic coma. I've been in ketosis for weeks now and I don't feel sleepy... or deprived. I'm not trying to make light of diabetes but playing on fear doesn't seem to help educate...

They alse state "The relationship of animal fat to cancer is stronger than ever before. According to new studies released by the Environmental Protection Agency, potent carcinogens from industrial wastes, such as dioxin and other chlorinated compounds, are known to be concentrated in the animal fat of meat, fish, and dairy products." Okay, so it's not the fat that causes the issue, it's animals that are raised in polluted environments. I'll bet if you eat corn grown at Chernobyl some odd things will happen to your health also. Buy grass-fed, hormone free, free range meats raised in a clean environment and you shouldn't have any problems.

Heck, at the end of the first article she quotes studies by Ancel Keys (the article you linked spelled a great scientist and nutritionist's name wrong if that helps you determine their credebility...). Here's an interesting article (citing an Ancel Keys study) that might shed some light onto the real results of low-carb vs. standard dieting: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/?p=933 (W/F/S)

It's up to you to do your own research and decide what is best for you but given the multitudes I've read and experienced, eating fat doesn't make you fat or unhealthy. Sure, environmental toxins can wreck your body, but they can get in there via any food source.

As the FAQ says: "In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That's about as simple as we can get."
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:22 PM   #3
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

The only complaints I've heard from supposed scientists (and spun by article writers) is that "you don't get enough of each energy type", because they assume people are literally eating only 15, 18, or whatever blocks of each macronutrient per day. If you literally only ate, say 15 blocks of each macronutrient (assuming you ate pure protein, pure fat, and pure carbohydrate in the exact amounts at each meal), that's:

105g protein = 420 calories
135g carbohydrate = 540 calories
45g fat = 405 calories

That comes to 1365 calories per day. Now, that's not enough for hardly anyone. But remember, to do that your meals would be one of each item that has ONLY the appropriate macronutrients. So it'd be like protein powder, olive oil, and maltodextrin (protein, fat, carbs). Nobody eats that.

If you eat an egg, which is about 1 protein block, oops, you just ate 6g protein, and 7g fat. Want a piece of bread? 1 carb block, oops, 12g carbs (1g of which is fiber, so subtract that), 3g protein, 1g fat.

So you see, their oversimplification isn't quite accurate. Typically a 15 block day is somewhere around what, 2200 calories? Me, I'm supposed to eat 19 or 21 (I forget, it's been a while since I followed it strictly) blocks per day, and I usually end up getting probably close to 3000 calories per day.
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:59 PM   #4
Garrett Smith
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

Those authors obviously had an axe to grind.

The Zone is absolutely healthy and teaches people how to keep track of how much they eat.

CF's endorsement of the Zone and the feedback on this site should be all the "clinical study" you'll ever need.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:01 PM   #5
Patrick Donnelly
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

I once read an anti-Zone article saying a female athlete eating 11 blocks a day would only be getting 750 calories a day. That math wasn't even right, not to mention an athlete would be eating additional fat for the necessary calories.

I'm starting to think the writers of those articles don't want to give up their Hot Pockets...

Re: Ketosis
Ketosis is fine. Ketoacidosis isn't.
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Old 09-28-2007, 02:23 PM   #6
Brandon Oto
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

First article reads like an advocate of an alternative diet trying to shoot down Sears. Which he may be. But the parallel is striking, particularly because he notes on Sears's lack of support for his views while failing to provide any for his own.

The second is more level-headed, basically touching on the absence of clinical support for the Zone, or for Sears's ideas. Which is true. Sears has some cool explanations. But as far as I'm concerned, his explanations could involve scientology and black magic. As long as there's no obvious, significant harmful effects (i.e. drinking acid) to a practice, black box it and see how it goes; that'll get you to answers for your body both faster and more reliably (100% reliably, in fact, which science will never be) than the data.

Or do you want to spend all your time listening to experts shoot each other down?
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:40 AM   #7
Samuel Fold
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

As an update,

Thanks for the replies. I'm still following the zone and have been feeling much better the last few days. Normally during work in the afternoon I feel tired, but recently i've been noticing i've had much more energy and feel a lot less tired.

My crossfit performances have improved too

I guess it's hard to know 100% the facts, but if it makes me feel healthier and I perform better than I can't say anything against it.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:20 PM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Re: Zone diet unhealthy?

Sam,
Your body is adapting well to the new diet plan. You are to be commended for sticking to it.

You have just personally experienced the "black box" effect.
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