Zone Diet Analyzed: Fad or Healthy Weight Loss? (cont.)

Eckel finds the theory on insulin flawed, noting there's no scientific proof that the hormone plays a big role in weight regulation. In addition, he says Sears makes claims that are largely unproven about certain types of fat and their relationship to heart disease.

In the Realm of Good Health

The Zone isn't necessarily shunned by health organizations, but it isn't endorsed by many of them either. The AHA does recognize that the program has some elements that are favorable, such as being a lower-fat diet, compared with other high-protein, higher-fat plans.

On the other hand, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) sees it as a moderate contender in a crowded field of weight loss plans. "The Zone is closer to what most dietitians would recommend compared with some of the higher protein diets," says Althea Zanecosky, RD, spokeswoman for the ADA.

For overall health and weight loss, Zanecosky says it might be easier for some people to pay attention to some of the other major health promotions, such as the "5 A Day" campaign, which encourages the daily consumption of five servings of fruits and vegetables. The "3 A Day" program does the same for dairy, a source of calcium. Then there's the AHA's recommendation of at least two servings of fish per week.

These campaigns might be less complicated and less frustrating than calorie counting, says Zanecosky.

SOURCES: Barry Sears, PhD, author, The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently: Reset Your Generic Code: Prevent Disease: Achieve Maximum Physical Performance * Robert H. Eckel, MD, chair of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism at the American Heart Association * Althea Zanecosky, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association * American Heart Association * WebMD Feature: "The Zone" * WebMD Live Event by Barry Sears, PhD: "Diet DoubleDare: The Zone."

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 5:42:25 AM