What is the Zone Diet
The Zone Diet was designed by biochemist Barry Sears. It is based upon balancing your foods accurately. Each meal should be comprised of a ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% proteins.
No foods are off limits, but dieters must adhere to this breakup of food percentages (i.e. staying in ‘the zone') in order to lose weight. Being on the Zone Diet means dieters must follow recipes with a low-carbohydrate diet plan; ones which do not allow proteins to dominate the carbohydrates. The Zone Diet claims that this meal plan makeup allows dieters to have more energy, and that the energy will come from carbohydrates rather from proteins or fats. The Zone Diet, unlike most diets, requires dieters to keep a close watch on their calorie consumption while eating. Meals should not exceed 500 calories, while snacks should not exceed 100 calories.
Who the Zone Diet is for
The Zone Diet is a good weight loss plan for those who can stick to a prescribed meal plan—and can count fat, carbohydrate and protein grams. However, weight loss is not the only reported benefit of the Zone Diet. It has also been linked with such things as better health, increases in energy, and more mental clarity. So, those looking to just improve all around health can also benefit.
In addition, the diet may help to prevent diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, hypothyroidism and cancer. The number of Americans with Type II diabetes is increasing at an all-time high rate. The Zone Diet is very good for those with Type II diabetes. Because it is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet program, the Sears implemented it to reduce both hunger and cravings. Most Zone Diet meal procedures are customized for each person, based upon their sex, activity level and body fat percentage. Every meal or snack is then calculated on a 40-30-30 scale so that the body will give optimal performance.
What You Eat with the Zone Diet
On the Zone Diet, you will be encouraged to eat foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and leafy greens. Adequate protein consumption is prescribed and eight glasses of water should be consumed each day. The Zone Diet encourages mono-unsaturated fats over saturated fats, and dieters should not eat processed foods or foods that contain too much salt.
What Experts Say about the Zone Diet
Michael T. Murray, Joseph Pizzorno and Lara Pizzorno, authors of The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, state that dieters will only consume between 800 and 1,200 calories per day. They say that adherence to the Zone's specifications of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 30 percent protein will result in real weight loss for most individuals.
But author of Living the Low-Carb Life: From Atkins to the Zone, Choosing the Diet That's Right For You, Jonny Bowdon, finds several problems with the Zone Diet. Dieters must do many computations for every snack and meal, which can frustrate many people. He says it may also be difficult for dieters to match the diet's very specific proportions of daily intakes of protein, carbs, and fats.
Michael T. Murray, Joseph Pizzorno and Lara Pizzorno point out that there are insufficient plant nutrients included in the diet, which are crucial to our bodies' health.
Additionally, the diet may be difficult for vegans and vegetarians. Linda Rector-Page, the author of Weight-Loss & Cellulite Control, explains that the Zone diet makes very little use of vegetable protein sources. Most of the protein sources identified in the diet plan are meat proteins, such as chicken and fish. She also warns that the 30% proteins, mostly from animal sources, may be too much for some, and could lead to high cholesterol. Too much protein in your diet, she says, can also lead to kidney and liver damage.
Sample Zone Diet Meal Plan
- Egg white and asparagus omelet cooked in olive oil
- Fresh strawberries
- Broiled chicken breast
- Mixed salad greens with tomato and olive oil salad dressing
- Sliced pear
- Salmon poached in orange juice
- Summer squash and zucchini sautéed in butter
Snacks You Can Choose From
- Mozzarella cheese and an orange
- Frozen blueberry yogurt
- Chicken salad
- Berry banana slush
- Almond oatmeal cookies