The Fencing Zone

Valentina Vezzali, a 38-year-old Italian athlete who won the gold medal (her fourth) in fencing at the 2008 Olympics, subscribes to the Zone diet. Fencing at the age of 38 is comparable to playing in the NBA at age 65 [source: Sears].

Zone Diet Dangers

­A diet that helps you lose weight, improve your concentration and increase your energy -- what's not to love? Not so fast. There are two sides to every coin and this is no different. Despite the claims that Dr. Barry Sears has made about the effectiveness of the Zone diet, there is no scientific evidence to back it up at this time. On the same note, there is no scientific evidence that disproves it. Either way, there are a few things you should consider before getting in the Zone.

Many people experience quick weight loss when starting the Zone diet. This is often seen as affirmation. What they don't realize is that diets like this one that are low in carbohydrates result in a large amount of fluid loss [source: Weight Loss International]. Carbohydrates hold fluids and when we reduce the amount we consume, we also reduce our capacity for those fluids. Don't mistake this initial loss of water weight as true weight loss.

By following the ratio that is laid out by the Zone diet, many people end up decreasing the amount of calories they take in daily. While this may be necessary for many people, it could result in losing lean muscle mass for others [source: Bee Slender]. The purpose of any diet should be to get rid of fat and/or improve health. Make sure you're getting enough calories, and if you aren't, adjust the diet accordingly.

Another danger associated with any low carbohydrate diet is ketosis. Ketosis is what happens to diabetics who don't have enough insulin in their system. If it isn't taken care of promptly, it can result in diabetic shock [source: Attwood]. We need insulin to break down carbohydrates; if we don't have enough, our bodies can't function properly.

Aside from all that, there are many who believe the Zone diet puts people at risk by lowering the amount of fruits and vegetables they are eating. People who eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables generally have much lower cancer rates [sources: Norris, Weight Loss International]. Diets low in carbohydrates are also often associated with high blood pressure and a greater risk of stroke [source: Weight Loss International].

As with any diet, you should check with your doctor before you get started. Do your research. If you do decide to use the Zone diet, be careful when measuring out your portions and make sure you're getting enough calories.

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