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Dr. Zend's Favorite


This is a modified Atkin's diet. Like Atkin's it too is a low carbohydrate approach.  It is better in three basic ways than Atkin's.  One, it distinguishes between good and bad fats and oils. Two, it's an easier read.  Three, it's not as restrictive.  This is really quite the same as the Zone Diet, but you don't need to feel like you've got to brush up on chemistry to get through it.  It's the way evolution intended for you to eat.  It has you eating like a hunter-gatherer in a modern context.

So you're ready to cut the refined carbs. But which diet should you try?

Take a look at our review of the latest weight-loss programs.  New ones are always coming out, and typically it's not that they're much different; it's pretty much the style of the author, and is it readable for you.

By Rosemarie Gionta Alfieri

The news is not good. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, so it should come as no surprise that in the United States—where nearly 20% of adults are obese—there has been an alarming increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, with approximately 800,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Even more disturbing is that diabetes is afflicting people at younger ages, becoming a growing problem not only for adults in their 30s and 40s, but even for children. The problem is so widespread that Newsweek recently called it “An American Epidemic!”

All this bad news even though Americans have declared war on fat and guiltlessly consume fat-free, sugar-laden products. Is that the problem? Is our nonfat obsession making us fatter, more susceptible to diseases like diabetes?

According to the authors of the six books under discussion, this indeed is the case. And, from the way these higher-protein diet books are flying off the shelves, it appears that Americans are ready to re-evaluate their diet plans. “I think that people are starting to realize that the bill of goods they’ve been sold with the high-carb/low-fat diet is just not working,” says Melissa Diane Smith, a nutritionist and co-author of Syndrome X (John Wiley & Sons, 1999).

Smith and the other authors contend that the main problem with a low-fat diet is that it too easily translates into a high-carbohydrate diet, which can lead to an overproduction of insulin. This excess insulin cannot efficiently burn the glucose produced by the carbs; instead it transfers it into stored fat and you become what is known as insulin-resistant. So, even though you may be eating a low-fat diet, your high levels of insulin are causing you to produce more fat.

To remedy this situation, the diets featured here all recommend a program that is lower in carbohydrate intake to help control the amount of insulin released. But, while all of these diets seek to restore the body to a more balanced state, they vary in specifics and emphasis. “One myth is that one diet fits all. Everyone needs to tailor eating habits to what works for them,” says Robert Atkins, M.D., author of Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution (Avon Books, 1999).

Atkins also shares the following advice on maintaining a healthy weight over the long term: “One key is adhering to your diet plan, which should be eating in such a way that you never want to change. Another key is choosing a realistic goal weight. Exercise is also a great way to maintain your weight and keep your body healthy. Finally, if you are going to cheat, cheat smart. Be practical; choose your cheat foods wisely. For example, if you need something sweet, opt for fruit instead of a piece of cake.”

To help you sort out the right plan for you, here is a glance at the most popular high-protein diet books on the market.

High-Protein Diets At-a-Glance

Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution
Robert C. Atkins, M.D. (Avon Books, 1999)

“Burning fat for energy produces more than just effective weight loss. It also produces consistent blood-sugar levels, fewer cravings, more energy, more restful sleep and improvements in a whole host of health conditions.” 

  • Distinctive Features of Book/DietThe Atkins diet is a high-protein/low-carb diet based on the concept that our bodies are in a state of imbalance, due to high sugar levels and, as such, require an unbalanced corrective diet to restore balance. It begins with a two-week intensive induction phase that severely restricts carbohydrate intake to 20 gm per day to induce body-fat burning.
  • Words of Wisdom Fat is a good and necessary nutrient. “Fat is a key component because of its many beneficial health properties and its ability to add both satiation and satisfaction to one’s eating plan, which is a key for ongoing compliance,” says Atkins.
  • Key Foods Meats, fish, fowl, shellfish, eggs, cheese and pure fats (such as olive oil, butter and cream).

  • Is This Diet for You?
    This diet is particularly suited for people who love meat and hate restricted-calorie diets.

  • A Week in the Zone
    Barry Sears, Ph.D.(Regan HarperCollins, 2000)

    “It is excess insulin that makes you fat and keeps you fat.”

  • Distinctive Features of Book/DietThe Zone’s philosophy is based on maintaining an optimum balance of macronutrients to keep your insulin levels within a healthy zone. It is not really a high-protein/low-carb plan: In any given meal you eat a maximum of 3 to 4 oz of protein, which is balanced with a generous portion of unrefined carbs and a dash of monounsaturated or omega-3 fat. In fact, on this diet, you actually eat more carbs (the unrefined kind - high fiber) than proteins or fats.
  • Words of Wisdom Eat the right combinations of foods at every meal. Writes Sears: “Since the name of the game is insulin control, you want to make sure that most of your carbohydrate choices come from favorable carbohydrates (primarily fruits and vegetables).”
  • Key Foods Turkey, chicken, lean meats, fish, soy, vegetables, fruits, selected grains, olive oil.
  • Is This Diet for You? If eating a variety of foods in all the food groups appeals to you most, go with The Zone.
  • Syndrome X
    Jack Challem, Burton Berkson, M.D., Melissa Diane Smith (John Wiley & Sons, 2000)

    “Syndrome X is a disease that affects two-thirds of adult Americans and the best treatment is through nutrition and supplements.”

  • Distinctive Features of Book/Diet Preventing and treating the insulin resistance found in Syndrome X—an increasingly common health condition characterized by abdominal fat, hypertension, high cholesterol and elevated triglycerides—is at the heart of this diet.

    The syndrome is caused by a diet that is high in refined starches and sugars, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease. “Basically, if a person is eating the typical American diet, they will become prediabetic,” says Challem. In addition to both preventive and treatment diet plans, the authors provide a comprehensive discussion on vitamin supplementation.

  • Words of Wisdom Eat like paleolithic humans (lots of lean meats).
  • Key FoodsGame meats, fish, turkey and chicken, nonstarchy vegetables. No grains.
  • Is This Diet for You? If you prefer fish and chicken, you may find this diet more balanced for your tastes.
    Sugar Busters
    H. Leighton Steward, Sam S. Andrews, M.D., Morrison C. Bethea, M.D., Luis A Balart, M.D. (Ballantine, 2000)

    “Sugar may be the No. 1 culprit in lowering quality of life and causing premature death.”

  • Distinctive Features of Book/Diet The Sugar Bustersdiet is not particularly high in fat or low in carbohydrates, but restricts high-glycemic carbs like white rice and potatoes. In fact, it is actually more permissive in its recommended carbohydrate intake than the other diets; its main emphasis is on avoiding refined sugars found in so many of our processed foods. “Success on the Sugar Busters lifestyle is a commitment to choosing the correct carbohydrates,” the authors write.

    The book includes a 14-day meal plan and some interesting recipes from 12 of New Orleans’s notable restaurants.

  • Words of Wisdom Refined sugar is toxic.
  • Key Foods Whole, unprocessed grains, veggies, fruits, lean meats and fats in moderation.
  • Is This Diet for You? Those who find the other diets too restrictive in carbohydrates may prefer Sugar Busters’emphasis on complex, unrefined carbs. 
  • Thin for Good

    Fred Pescatore, M.D. (John Wiley & Sons, 2000)

    Thin for Good opens the power of your mind to aid your weight loss.”

  • Distinctive Features of Book/DietA mind/body component, “mind over calories,” emphasizes the emotional aspects of eating to eliminate cravings and emotional attachments to food. According to Pescatore, this focus is essential: “If you don’t include your mind in the dieting process, you are ultimately doomed to failure,” he writes.

    Recognizing that women and men go through various stages in life, Pescatore presents diets tailored for each stage, and includes guidelines for vegetarians.

  • Words of Wisdom Face your emotions.
  • Key Foods Game meats, nuts and seeds, complex carbohydrates, including whole grains. Fruits restricted.
  • Is This Diet for You? If you are an emotional eater, you’ll find the mind-over-calories component of Thin For Good most helpful.

    Protein Power
    Michael R Eades, M.D., and Mary Dan Eades, M.D. (Bantam Books, 1997)

    “Patients would be better off reducing their carbohydrate intake, not increasing it.”

  • Distinctive Features of Book/Diet Protein Power is similar to the Atkins diet in philosophy. Developed by two physicians who specialize in weight loss, the diet seeks to regulate insulin production through a reduction in carbohydrate intake. “By eating the correct balance of foods, we can almost medicinally alter what goes on inside us in a healthful way,” say the authors.

    The book includes a mini-cookbook with nearly 100 recipes, snack ideas, several informative charts and dietary outlines and worksheets to help you design and monitor your meals.

  • Words of Wisdom Eat protein at every meal.
  • Key Foods Meats, fish, fowl, eggs, cheese, pure fats, glass of wine.
  • Is This Diet for You? This diet is great for people who find that charting and monitoring their dietary progress helps keep them on track.
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