Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zone Diet and Mediterranean Diet

I find these two diets interesting. I initially classified the Zone Diet as an Atkins-like diet and the Mediterranean Diet as a low-fat, low-calorie diet, but they may be almost identical and may deserve a class of their own.

Zone Diet
The Zone Diet preaches that one should consume carbs, proteins and fats in the ration of 40%-30%-30%. "Whether the Zone diet is a low-carb diet is a matter of opinion and definition. It is much less restrictive in total carbohydrate intake than the Atkins diet".  The basic theory of the zone diet is that inflammation causes one to lose weight, and the proper proportion of carbs to protein reduces inflammation. It views food as a hormone-control device.The diet suggested taking fish oil supplementation.

"The Zone Diet isn’t about eating “low-carb” or “high-protein” or anything like that. It’s a diet balanced in
• Protein (lean, natural meats are preferred)
• Carbs (mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables)
• Fat (one of the most important macronutrients!)
With the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by the human diet – insulin, glucagon and eicosanoids. [source]"

A Zone meal is described as follows:  "Eat as much protein as the palm of your hand, as much non-starchy raw vegetables as you can stand for the vitamins, enough carbohydrates to maintain mental clarity because the brain runs on glucose, and enough monounsaturated oils to keep feelings of hunger away."

Some foods allowed:  high-fat ice cream (in very limited quantities, but still this is probably the only diet that would allow ice cream); pasta.  It allows fats from olives, cashews, peanut butter, and olive oil.

There is a new version called the Italian Zone diet that emphasizes pasta: "Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera is reporting that there’s a new diet on the market that’s similar to the Zone Diet invented in the U.S. but with a difference: pasta and olive oil are recommended. The diet Nuova Zona also referred to as the Zona Italiana, uses the same concept as the Zone Diet (40-30-30, the percentage of carbohydrates, protein and fats which one can consume during every meal and snack), only it includes many of the components already built into the traditional Mediterranean Diet. [source]"

Mediterranean Diet
The Med Diet is based on the "traditional dietary habits of the inhabitants of countries in the Mediterranean region."  It encourages the use of olive oil: "It should be noted that the Mediterranean diet is not a low fat diet, 40 percent of the calories come from fat, much higher compared to the 30 percent recommended in a conventional diet. Can this be too much fat? No, according to Trichopoulou, as long as the fat comes from olive oil."

It includes a lot of vegetables: "Most Greeks consume vegetables as a main dish 2-3 times a week. These dishes are somewhat like casseroles and are usually made from seasonal vegetables such as green beans, eggplant, artichoke, cauliflower and okra. Basically it is a combination of vegetables, herbs, tomatoes and olive oil. This dish is called lathera from the Greek word lathi which means oil. Normally a big plate is consumed, which easily covers at least 3-4 servings of vegetables.[source]".  It recommends the consumption of fatty fish 2-3 times a week

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