The other day, I got an email from someone who had been doing a bit of research on the zone diet programs and Nutrisystem. You were surprised to learn that both programs are low carb / high protein diets that put your body into ketosis in the same way as the other. As a result, I wanted to know how these two diets are really different from each other. I will discuss more about this matter in the next article.
The Zone Vs nutritional system: how they differ: Like I said, the goal of both is smooth ketosis and lowering insulin, which encourages your body to burn more fat. They do this by making sure to get a favorable ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and fiber. The Zone is quite specific about this. They want you to eat foods in the following proportions: 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. This ratio is supposed to put you “in the zone” where you are burning fat and not craving certain foods.
Nutrisystem also believes in a “very favorable glycemic index” to keep you full and burning fat, but you don’t really have to calculate the proportion of the food you are eating because the company provides it for you. And yes, the foods are high in protein and fiber and will lead to ketosis. So both diets work on the same principle, but one does more work for you.
The calorie intake of both diets is quite similar (around 1000-1200 calories per day for women) and both diets require you to eat small, regular meals. The area strongly disapproves of processed or convenience foods. The idea is fresh, healthy and seasonal food.
Nutrisystem is a bit different in that they provide you with packaged foods and just modify those foods to be more glycemic index friendly. They also offer fair-type comfort food such as pizza, mac n cheese, hamburgers, muffins, pretzels, etc. Sure, they have changed the foods to be healthier for you, but at least you don’t have to give up some of your favorite foods. That being said, they want you to add fresh, seasonal sides to the prepackaged meal so you get fresh food packed with vitamins and nutrients, but most of the work is done for you here.
I find that the real difference between these two diets is the work involved. Both will give you a slimmer and longer body as you burn fat and gain more muscle. Both will put you in ketosis. But you provide the food and you also do all the planning and research. The other requires you to take an active role in decision-making and food preparation. What you really like best depends on how much you enjoy preparing your own food and making your own informed decisions or whether you prefer to have someone else take care of that.