Zone Diet Review: Pros And Cons

You can find scores of Zone Diet reviews online that are founded on personal opinion, not real information and facts.

My desire is to present an impartial review of Zone diet, so you can determine for yourself if it’s the proper diet for your needs.

Away we go.

What Is Zone Diet?

The Zone Diet focuses on balancing your diet with a ratio of 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein.

The founder, Dr. Sears, believes that a 30/40 ratios of protein to carbs is the best nutritional equilibrium and puts dieters in “the zone,” where anti-inflammatory substances are secreted in the body.

Zone Diet List Of Foods

Dr. Sears claims that cellular inflammation is the reason why we get excess weight, and also speed up the development of chronic disease, and reduce our physical performance.

Zone Diet calorie ranges are around 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. Plan on eating five or six times a day: three meals and two or three snacks.

Zone Diet Food List

Fruits And Vegetables

A much better source of carbohydrates than pasta, bread and potatoes are fruits and vegetables – no less than 10 servings a day, to be precise.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, contain dietary fiber and have fewer calories.

The recommendation for each day is a vegetable salad – large in volume and low in calories. It helps your digestion and eliminates constipation.

Proteins

Low fat proteins like fish, chicken, and turkey are also emphasized.

Beans, lentils, yogurt, milk and low-fat sour cream are also excellent sources of protein.

The Zone Diet adheres to the rule that 55 grams of protein a day is the minimum need of our body to function normally. This number adjusts to our weight and age.

Healthy Fats

Another important part of the Zone Diet is a small amount of monounsatured fats each day.

Almonds and olives are excellent foods for maintaining the balance of fats and carbohydrates in the body.

They control the secretion of insulin and give our body a signal to burn fat deposits, especially in the abdomen. They do all this thanks to monounsaturated fatty acids, which are rich in both foods.

Finally, the diet allows a small amount of grains and starches each day.

Zone Diet Meal Plan

Zone diet recipes are based on foods that mostly contain good carbs. These include mainly vegetables and fruits.

However, there are restrictions on the consumption of potatoes and rice. Bread should also be eaten in moderation.

5 meals a day are recommended – three main meals and two snacks.

Here is a zone diet menu sample:

Breakfast

  • 40 g wholemeal toast (2 slices)
  • 60 g ham and Parmesan

Snack

  • 20 g of beef
  • 2 crackers
  • 3 almonds

Lunch

  • 150 g tuna fish
  • lettuce with olive oil
  • 20g wholemeal bread (1 slice)
  • 240g fruit salad

Snack

  • 20g Parmesan (1 slice)
  • 1 glass of natural fruit juice

Dinner

  • 135g grilled mackerel
  • lettuce with olive oil
  • 300g apples and kiwis

Zone Diet Research

There’s limited research available on the effectiveness of the Zone Diet but here are results from the three largest studies conducted:

Study No.1

A research paper published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition called “The Zone Diet Phenomenon: A Closer Look at the Science behind the Claims” made the following conclusions:

– Peer-reviewed findings from scientific research cast strong doubt over the purported benefits of Zone Diet.

– Theories and arguments that support popular low carbohydrate diets like Zone rely on poorly controlled, non-peer-reviewed studies, anecdotes and non-science rhetoric.

– The study author went on to say, A closer look at the science behind the claims made for the Zone Diet reveals nothing more than a modern twist on an antique food fad.

Study No.2

A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association randomly assigned 311 overweight or obese women one of four types of diets: low-carb (Atkins), low-fat (Ornish), low saturated-fat/moderate-carb (LEARN), and similar parts protein, fat, and carb (Zone).

After two months, women on the Zone Diet averaged 6 pounds of weight loss, which was similar to all other diets except Atkins.

Women in the Atkins group averaged nearly 9.5 pounds of weight loss.

After a year, weight loss for the Zone group averaged 3.5 pounds, compared to 10 pounds for Atkins, 6 pounds for the LEARN group, and 5 for the Ornish group.

Study No.3

A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared adherence rates and the effectiveness of 4 popular diets (Atkins Diet, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish) for weight loss and cardiac risk factor reduction.

Each of these diets modestly reduced body weight and several cardiac risk factors after 1 year. However, fewer Zone and Weight Watchers dieters dropped out (about 35 percent) compared to Atkins and Ornish dieters (about 50 percent).

So let’s summarize this:

Zone Diet Pros And Cons

Pros:

Promotes healthy fats and discourages eating saturated and trans fats.

Encourages moderate exercise.

Confines foods with high GI like refined sugars

May be easier to stick to than Ornish or Atkins diet.

Cons:

Does not have extensive research back up

Calorie ranges are very low and impossible to sustain in the long run, meaning you’ll end up gaining at least some weight back.

Although it limits grains and starches, it doesn’t place enough emphasis on making these whole grain sources.

The U.S. News rank the “Best Diets” every year based on an independent panel of medical experts. Currently, the Zone Diet is only ranked # 20 (out of 39).

The diet seems to have gone commercial.

The Final Verdict

The Zone Diet has some good qualities, but there’s simply not enough evidence to prove that this diet plan is a good option for long-term, sustainable weight loss.

On a side note, if you read other Zone Diet reviews, make sure the author of what you’re reading provides sources for their claims and isn’t just copying and pasting information from the Internet.

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