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  • Disappointed in Mark's Take on Zone Diet

    I've been following a 40/30/30 diet for a very long time now and was curious on Mark's take on Zone diet. I'm disappointed that he seemed to miss a number of key points and wondered if there's a more detailed "primal" take on these issues (I was looking at a Post from 2008).

    The major missing piece is the idea of having most meals have a protein to carb ratio somewhere between 0.6 to 1.0, keeping your insulin and Glucagon in an ideal range, leading to further "downstream" hormonal benefits (with most carbs coming from low-glycemic sources). Instead, Mark treats the 40/30/30 ratio as a daily prescription, which is essentially irrelevant (it only really matters per meal.) And Dr. Sears has written a few times on the unsustainability of keeping your body in a ketogenic state--I didn't see any response to that idea.

    Mark also thought 30% fat was too low (and likely to make you hungry)--but the 30% fat ratio is clearly stated as a starting point, and the hunger issue just isn't an issue because it's "taken care of" by the hormonal benefits--Sears is all for eating as much monounsaturated fat as you need to supply energy (once you get to desire % body weight).

    In any case, my dubiousness was aroused by the Post on "seasonal eating" ("Nature makes apples bright red to encourage us to eat them at the right time of year"), and the Zone post didn't allay my concerns...

  • #2
    Well, sorry to hear your disappointment. What was your question?

    "if there's a more detailed "primal" take on these issues".....if thats your question then perhaps you should read the whole book rather than two blog posts separated by 4 years (one of which is actually a guest post) to see what its all about before jumping to any conclusions. Or heck at the very least use the search function to read more on the site.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 10-12-2012, 05:17 PM.

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    • #3
      I did read the book. If I had to boil down my question, it would be:

      - Why does Mark think being in a Ketogenic state is sustainable, when so many others give specific reasons why they think it's not?
      - Why isn't there any concern over glycemic index of carbs?
      - Has Mark looked at the data supporting the idea of eating around 3 to 4 ratio of Protein to Carbs at each sitting (not just zone--idea has been around for a while), and if so, what issue does he have with the data (i.e., why doesn't he think it's worth doing)

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      • #4
        Not sure about all the answers but there is no real concern over GI of carbs because they are mostly coming in the form of vegetables, berries, some fruit, the occasional sweet potato or potato (which would not make the bulk of your plate anyway)....all fairly low GI and not an issue.


        In your initial post you mention the 30% fat is a starting point...if you raise it to primal levels you will be out of your 40/30/30 which may be why Mark is not bothered by the zone.
        Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
        PS
        Don't forget to play!

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        • #5
          I have a lot of respect for Mark, I think he's a good researcher, and I think he does a decent job at evaluating things as being healthy or unhealthy. Usually. But he's not God, and I don't follow him blindly. There are some aspects of primal and paleo that I don't agree with because i've experienced health issues worsening as a result of this way of eating. So i keep the aspects of paleo and primal that are working, and I modify the other parts. Personally, I feel best eating higher carb / lower fat.

          If the zone diet is your thing, and eating that way makes you feel healthy and happy, who cares what Mark thinks about it? Keep the macros you're comfortable with, and you can still apply the primal way of eating to it if it makes sense to you (good fats instead of Omega 6 crap oils, no processed junk, etc...)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tomes View Post
            I did read the book. If I had to boil down my question, it would be:

            - Why does Mark think being in a Ketogenic state is sustainable, when so many others give specific reasons why they think it's not?
            His recs go up to 150g/day for the "average" person in the context of the Primal fitness plan. Hardly 100% ketosis. And there is nothing wrong with being in a ketogenic state. Most, but not all people do quite well with it.

            - Why isn't there any concern over glycemic index of carbs?

            Cause...GI is bunk. Add fat...GI fixed. Glycemic load is more important. Next question.


            - Has Mark looked at the data supporting the idea of eating around 3 to 4 ratio of Protein to Carbs at each sitting (not just zone--idea has been around for a while), and if so, what issue does he have with the data (i.e., why doesn't he think it's worth doing)
            Guess this is a question directly for Mark....I have my own opinions, but since I'm not him I wont answer.
            Answers in bold

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BestBetter View Post
              I have a lot of respect for Mark, I think he's a good researcher, and I think he does a decent job at evaluating things as being healthy or unhealthy. Usually. But he's not God
              Nor is he any kind of doctor.
              You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Grumpycakes View Post
                Nor is he any kind of doctor.
                Irrelevant.

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                • #9
                  If you ever need surgery for cheap, I know a dude.
                  You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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                  • #10
                    My left ball does hang ever so slightly lower than my right.......

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                    • #11
                      So, since this is kind of a what did Mark say thread....here ya go. After he explains why ketosis is nothing to be afraid of he states:

                      "That said, the Primal Blueprint is not designed to be a ketogenic (extremely low-carb) diet, because this strategy would restrict your intake of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet—vegetables and fruits. I don’t even characterize the Primal Blueprint as a “low-carb” diet, as much as it is an “eliminate bad carbs” diet. I don’t advocate portion control or even diligently counting your macronutrient intake beyond a few days of journaling now and then to establish benchmarks and reference points"

                      Sisson, Mark (2009-06-01). The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (p. 88). Primal Nutrition, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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                      • #12
                        I did the Zone diet severals years back. I lost a lot of weight that I kept off and felt great. I also learned a ton about glycemic inde x, as related to the types of fruit I ate, which permanently shifted me to eating mostly berries. I learned things about food and reading labels that still help me today. It was a good plan to be on. Now, I did eat more fat than recommended and still lost weight and felt better for it. Where the Zone falls down is in the types of food you consume. Frankenfoods were ok if they met the 40/30/30 ratio, and that's where I started to have problems. But if you apply paleo thinking to the ratios, it's still not a bad way to eat.
                        I used to be on Zone forums and had people there telling me I was being too strict, because I decided that my carbs should be just fruits and veggies. People thought whole grains and bread should be a part of the carb ratio. Maybe that's why I lost so much weight on it, because I was basically eating primal. If I add in what I know now about good fats versus vegetable oil garbage, it's still a valid way of eating for health. I have to thank the Zone for teaching me that a serving size of pasta is 1/4 cup and not a plateful, and that my body will still process the pasta like white sugar. It was the background of the Zone that helped me jump right on board with paleo because i learned so much about how the body processes carbs while on it.

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                        • #13
                          I also did the Zone a few years ago. It worked well for me for quite a long time. Where it fell apart for me was when I re-introduced grains. I only realize that now. I was getting pretty bored with the food and got more recipe books that included them. The Zone taught me a lot about restricting starch and high GI carbs and adding good fats. French don't diet taught me slow flavourful enjoyable eating. Put them together and I seem to have been primed pretty well for Primal. without counting, weighing or measuring.
                          Started Primal June 2012 at 148.5lbs, and 5' 1", reached goal weight in 5 months.
                          Lowest weight 93lbs - too thin. Now stable at around 100lbs much better weight for me at my age.
                          Primal, minus eggs, dairy and a myriad of other allergens.

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                          • #14
                            Yup, no one is God, but the disappointment I suppose is if one of the key aspects of "paleo" lifestyle is hormonal control, then not addressing macronutrient ratios (per meal, not overall during a day) seems to be missing a key part of it. And if he's going to look at other ideas, at least get them right--it's hard to know if he just didn't dig deep enough, or just over-simplifying for a mass audience. (And, I think some people (e.g., me) are much more sensitive to macronutrient ratios than others (e.g., I can tell the difference by feel of P to C ratio of .6 vs. .7).

                            I like your idea of modifying and finding what works for you. The whole idea that a certain guru has a particular diet seems like the wrong way to look at it. Certain people just seems to emphasize certain things over other. The stuff I see on this website is actually almost completely in-line with Dr. Sears' ideas, except for the macronutrient ratio issue (well, and not going into Essential Fatty Acids, like GLA) and it's true that other people who consider healthy lifestyle issues don't concern themselves with grains versus fruits and vegetables so much (other than encouraging the latter for their generally more favorable Glycemic Index.)

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                            • #15
                              are much more sensitive to macronutrient ratios than others (e.g., I can tell the difference by feel of P to C ratio of .6 vs. .7).
                              seriously? am pretty fine-tuned with what i eat but perceiving a 10th of a percent difference in a macro seems super-human.

                              if the zone is working for you, why do you care what mark thinks? further, it isn't his plan, nor is it his responsibility to advocate for it.
                              As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                              Ernest Hemingway

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