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Just when you think you know how to lose weight.


Whoever finds a single fool proof way to lose weight is guaranteed to become the richest person on earth. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, a one-size-fits-all super diet will probably never be discovered. If it is not enough that our bodies are so different, there are many, many other factors at play including cultural differences, lifestyle differences, socio-economic differences and taste preferences. The list of factors that can impact on weight loss success just goes on and on.

It’s really no wonder then that we are bombarded with conflicting and confusing scientific reports. It is very difficult to conduct an experiment that considers all of these variables. As a result, we are left with many reputable and conflicting scientific reports, each claiming that yet another dietary approach is the be-all and end-all for losing weight. Whether it is the Atkins or the Mediterranean Diet, the Low Fat or Low GI diet, or even Weight Watchers; the list is never-ending. It is just too easy to become a bit cynical after a while. How refreshing then, to come across a scientific study that found that most well balanced popular diets work well, irrespective of whether it is high in protein, low in fat, low in carbohydrates or any combination of these!

This study, called the “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” was published on February 26, 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Its aim was to try and put an end to the age-old debate around the question “Which type of diet is most effective for weight loss”. The research team was of the opinion that many of the conflicting scientific reports on the weight loss topic published previously were based on populations too small to be representative, and that many studies did not track the progress of participants for a long enough period to provide sufficient information for assessment.
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An overview of the Zone Diet

Dr Barry Sears, a biochemist, first popularized the Zone diet in his 1995 book, “The Zone”. While this diet has not been developed specifically for weight loss, it is probably more well-known for its weight loss benefits than for any of the other advantages it promises, all thanks to solid media exposure. The popularity of this diet reached its peak in the late 1990s, slipped a bit, and then made a comeback recently following the endorsements of Hollywood A-listers and models such as Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sandra Bullock and Cindy Crawford.

The Zone diet is often classified as a low-carb diet, but Dr Sears describes it as a moderate carb, moderate fat, and moderate protein diet, and regards it as superior to low-carb diets due to the improved hormonal responses. He goes on to say that the Zone diet can not be regarded as a protein rich diet since you never consume more low-fat protein during any meal than you can fit on the palm of your hand.

Many scientific studies are finding that weight management is a lot more complex than simply balancing calorie intake and calorie usage. The Zone approach suggests that inflammation precedes obesity. If that is true, any obesity problem can only be addressed by resolving the underlying inflammation.
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