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The Zone Diet was created by Dr. Barry Sears. At the heart of the Zone Diet is its nutrient ratios.
The Zone Diet follows a formula of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats (sometimes called 40:30:30). This must be followed at every meal. Considered by some to be the perfect diet.
The biggest criticism of the diet is that it is too complex to follow. However the Zone has gathered a substantial following – some of it due to celebrity endorsement.
If you’re going to follow the Zone diet you need to read The Zone : Revolutionary Life Plan to Put Your Body in Total Balance for Permanent Weight Loss by Barry Sears. There are websites that offer a significant amount of support for the Zone Diet (some even deliver meals).
The Zone Diet is all about ‘meal ratios’. It can be considered ‘reduced carb’ rather than low-carb due to the fact that the average person consumes about 50-60% carbohydrates in their diet, and the Zone dieter consumes 40%.
The good thing about the Zone diet is that it encourages a combination of all the nutrients in each meal – and it stresses the risks of processed carbohydrates (white pastas and breads etc).
Zone Diet in Detail
A closer look at the Zone Diet shows that it is a low(er) carbohydrate diet – with a low calorie count – at times possibly too low. Exercise is not a part of the formula (but always recommended). It does seem complex requiring dedication and discipline. It is also a diet that may be difficult to work around eating with family and friends.
The Zone diet also has assisted many in improving general health (not just weight loss). Due to the levels of proteins, it is possible to gain muscle on this diet (but only with the right weights and exercise training). However be warned that the calorie recommendations may be too low for an active person.
The Zone is complex and has a substantial list of “forbidden” foods – however there are a number of web sites with programs that have substantially simplified the Zone. At its basic principles it is a good program and would be a great improvement for anyone who currently has a typical western diet.
The Zone Diet also focuses heavily on avoiding foods that cause inflammation, especially oils that are rich in omega 6 fatty acid.
Therefore most plant oils are forbidden as well as all processed foods. The Zone Diet believes refined grains and refined oils are the primary reasons people are fat and this is because of the inflammation these foods cause.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- Cheuvront, S. N. (1999). The zone diet and athletic performance. Sports medicine, 27(4), 213-228. link
- Cheuvront, S. (2003). The Zone Diet phenomenon: a closer look at the science behind the claims. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 22(1), 9-17. link
- Sears, B. (1995). The zone diet. Harperollins Pub.
- Dansinger, M. L., Gleason, J. A., Griffith, J. L., Selker, H. P., Schaefer, E. J. (2005). Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial. Jama, 293(1), 43-53. link
Last Reviewed: January 26, 2018
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