The other day, I got an email from someone who had been doing a little research on both the Nutrisystem and zone diet programs. She was surprised to learn that both programs are low carb / high protein diets that puts your body into ketosis in much the same way as the other. As a result, she wanted to know how these two diets are really different from one another. I will discuss this more in the following article.
The Zone Vs Nutrisystem: How Are They Different: As I said, the goal of both of these is gentle ketosis and lowering insulin – both of which encourage your body to burn more fat. They do this by ensuring that you are getting a favorable protein to carbohydrate to fiber ratio. The Zone is pretty 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 feeling full and burning fat, but you really do not have to figure out the ratio of the foods that you are eating because the company provides the foods for you. And yes, the foods are high in protein and fiber and do get you into ketosis. So, both diets work on the same principal, but one does more of the work for you.
The calorie intake of both diets is quite similar (at around 1000 -1200 calories per day for women) and both diets require that you eat small, regular meals. The zone very much frowns on processed or convenience foods. The idea is fresh, healthful and seasonal foods.
Nutrisystem is a little different in that they provide you with prepackaged foods and just modify those foods to be more glycemic friendly. They also offer comfort food type fair – like pizza, macaroni and cheese, burgers, muffins, pretzels, etc. Sure, they have changed the foods to be more healthy for you, but at least you do not have to give up some of your most favorite foods. With that said, they do want for you to add in fresh and seasonal sides with the prepackaged meal so that you are getting fresh foods with plentiful 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 are going to give you a leaner and longer body as you burn fat and gain more muscle. Both are going to put you into ketosis. But one provides the foods for you and also does all of the planning and research. The other requires that you take an active role in food decision making and preparation. Which you like best really depends on how much you enjoy preparing your own food and making your own educated choices or if you would rather someone else take care of that.