21 Sep Zoe For Weight Loss: What Is Zoe And How Can It Help You Lose Weight
Zoe claims to be a personalised nutrition programme created by the world’s top scientists, but will it support your weight loss? In this article we’ll take a look at what Zoe is, how it works and it’s limitations when it comes to successful, long term weight loss.
WHAT IS THE ZOE DIET?
Zoe is a nutrition programme designed to give you insight into how food affects your body. We are unique individuals and therefore foods affect us all in different ways. For example, some people are particularly sensitive to carbohydrates and more likely to gain weight if they eat them regularly, while others tolerate them better. The same goes for dietary fats. The Zoe diet includes a series of tests that will give you a deeper understanding of your unique biology and the foods that best suit you. Zoe have an app that is designed to support you with the practical side of putting these recommendations into place.
HOW COULD ZOE SUPPORT WEIGHT LOSS?
Knowing how your body responds to different foods can help you tailor your diet to suit you. The results of the tests you carry out with Zoe will help you understand how sensitive to carbohydrates and fats you are. The Zoe app takes your results and scores different foods as to how beneficial they are for you personally. A range of foods and recipes are given a score out of 100. The higher the score, the more highly recommended they are for you. You can log your food intake in the Zoe app. The aim is to achieve an overall daily score of 60+.
WHAT TESTS ARE INVOLVED?
The Zoe programme involves carrying out a number of tests. They assess your gut microbiome and your response to carbohydrates and dietary fats. The tests are relatively straightforward and you can do them at home. Most of the tests included are not unique to Zoe and are available to purchase through private healthcare clinics or online. They include:
A stool test to assess the levels of various bacteria in your gut. Your microbiome has a significant impact on your wider health.
A blood test to assess your body’s response to fats.
A continuous glucose monitor (if you agree to participate in the clinical study). This gives real-time feedback of how foods you’re eating are impacting your blood sugar levels.
If you do Zoe you are provided with some specially designed muffins to eat prior to carrying out the blood tests. The muffin aspect of the tests is unique to the Zoe programme.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT DO PEOPLE LOSE DOING THE ZOE DIET?
Study results show that people following the Zoe programme for 12 weeks experienced an average weight loss of 9lbs (4kgs). However, I am not aware of any data to show that Zoe ensures long term weight maintenance. Research shows that around 90% of people who lose weight go on to regain it. As Zoe is a fairly new programme, statistics around long term weight maintenance are likely not yet available.
THE ZOE APP
Once you have your test results back, you can refer to the Zoe app for recommended foods and meal ideas. Recipes are included and scored as to how beneficial they are for you. You can use the app to search for different foods and gain a deeper understanding of those that suit you best, as well as those to moderate.
The Zoe app provides a number of lessons designed to develop your understanding of how food affects people in general. One key focus is helping you to understand how to eat to regulate your blood sugar levels. This is an important consideration when eating for weight loss as well as long term weight maintenance, health and wellbeing.
ZOE: MY EXPERIENCE
As a nutritionist, I enjoyed trialling Zoe, carrying out the tests and trying out the software. However, the tests were nothing new and didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. The tests I carried out as part of the Zoe programme are all tests that my team and I can and do provide to our clients in clinic.
As for the app, the concept of counting points felt a bit Weight Watchers like to me. I had a scan of how it rated the suitability of different foods for me. Some made sense, others didn’t. For example, it rated my organic turmeric coconut oil bad for my gut health and for my blood fat response. However, the report from my tests said I had a normal response to dietary fats. The lack of consistency between my test results and the recommendations from the app meant I didn’t feel confident in it’s accuracy.
The truth is, after completing the initial set of tests and using the app for a couple of days, I quickly lost interest. I spoke with another nutritionist who had done Zoe and felt the same about it as me. Our summary: fun to carry out, a science-backed approach, but ultimately it didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about ourselves. Neither of us felt it would be a long term solution for people struggling with their weight unless their challenges lay solely with a lack of understanding around nutrition.
ZOE’S LIMITATIONS: A SHORT TERM SOLUTION?
Zoe provides valuable insights into personalised nutrition. However, I believe that for people who have struggled with their weight, it’s unlikely to offer a long term solution. If you have an underlying health issue preventing successful weight loss or if you struggle with emotional eating or lack of self-prioritisation, for example, Zoe may not be the solution for you.
One thing that I have found to be key for most of the clients my team and I work with is the ongoing support and accountability from a dedicated practitioner. Otherwise, however personalised a programme, it’s all too easy to fall off the wagon and not get back on.
Another factor to consider is that Zoe does not test for underlying health issues that can prevent successful weight loss. As nutritionists who specialise in weight loss we consult many people who are struggling to lose weight because of issues like hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), women with PCOS or who are experiencing hormonal fluctuations through the menopause, chronic stress and more. We are trained to identify and test for underlying health issues that could compromise weight loss and maintenance. We can then provide sophisticated solutions. Zoe doesn’t test your thyroid, sex hormones or cortisol levels. These biomarkers can significantly impact your ability to lose weight.
This is the main reason that, while I believe that Zoe has many positives, I do not see it as being an effective solution for long term weight maintenance. Over 15 years of clinical experience has shown me that it takes more than a dietary strategy. However personalised and science-backed that strategy might be.
HOW MUCH DOES ZOE COST?
The initial tests cost £259.99. There is an ongoing fee for access to the app. The cost depends on which membership option you select. It starts at £11 per week. If you’d like to do Zoe, you can find more information on the Zoe website.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive approach to weight loss that provides personalised nutrition plans and much more, we can help. We are a team of qualified nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. We can help you overcome your weight challenges, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call today. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a member of our team and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.