There are some similarities between the South Beach diet and the Zone diet, though the main difference is that you will be finding the correct ratio between carbohydrates and proteins, and not be too interested in the Glycemic Index.
The Zone diet works by dividing food substances into different ratios or percentages, that is to say a diet must be divided in to a fixed rate of different food types: 30 percent of fat intake, 30 percent of proteins and 40 percent of carbohydrates.
The American Heart Association does not agree with a consumption of up to 30 percent of proteins in the overall intake, for they regard this percentage much too high, especially for people who suffer from problems with kidneys.
The main aim of the Zone Diet as with the South Beach Diet is to improve the balance of the hormone system in our bodies, as well as directly aiming at the regulation of the levels of insulin. High levels of insulin in our system lead to an increased conversion of carbohydrates into fat, while proteins help to promote the production of glucagons, which in turn encourages the liver to get rid of any stored carbohydrates. This process will result in a feeling of replenishment, which will discourage a person to eat, for he or she will not be feeling hungry at all.
The Zone diet is quite strict on the calorie intake, cutting down the calories to 500 per meal and snacks must not exceed 100 calories, in addition the it balances the consumption of carbohydrates with about 3 to 4 ounce of proteins, in order to reach the insulin and glucagons ratio needed to burn off the reserves of fat.
The products consumed during the Zone Diet are mostly fruit and vegetables, which include leafy green vegetables, nuts and mono-saturated fats and carbohydrates, which should ideally be taken from vegetables and fruits rather than from starchy foods such as rice, potatoes and pasta.
While you are allowed to drink alcoholic drinks, you will have to substitute a glass of wine of about 4-oz with a carbohydrate food type of about 35-40 grams, for alcohol is high in sugar carbohydrates and glycemic levels. Coffee is also banned for it will develop resistance to insulin, while water drinking is highly encouraged.
The aim is in fact to reach a balanced diet without leaving out any particular food, but to encourage a better functioning of the hormone system, though it will also need to be regulated following specific individual needs. Nutritionists often suggest their diabetic patients should follow this diet due its specific aim at regulating insulin levels.
The Zone Diet should help you achieve weight loss while keeping a proper nutritional balance, in order not to deprive your system of necessary nutrients. The initial phase will be the most difficult, for there may be pangs of hunger and yearning during the first few days, but once overcome the initial difficulties, the diet is easy to follow and you will soon appreciate the results.