Zone Diet

The Zone Diet was created by Barry Sears, and is a low-carbohydrate diet. The diet claims to balance carbohydrate, protein and fat in a 40%-30%-30% ratio, and is also known as the 40-30-30 Diet.

Principle of the Zone diet

The Zone Diet is based on the idea that a 40%-30%-30% ratio is the correct amount to control insulin in the bloodstream. This ratio is said to be the ideal for optimal metabolic function.

Weight gain, according to the Zone Diet, is caused when the body has too much insulin. An excessive amount of insulin can increase fat storage and body inflammation.

To achieve the optimum ratio, the Zone Diet advocates the idea of eating a mainly meat-based diet. This is based on the belief that our ancestors began as meat eaters, and the gradual introduction of carbohydrates has led to imbalances.

The Zone Diet restricts a person’s calorie intake to about 1000-1200 calories a day.

What are you allowed to eat on the Zone diet?

  • Meat – poultry, fish and red meat;
  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Mono-unsaturated fats – such as olive oil, almonds and avocados.

What is forbidden on the Zone diet?

Nothing is completely prohibited, although the Zone Diet recommends the following should be avoided or restricted:

  • Whole grains – such as brown rice and pasta;
  • Refined sugars – such as white sugar and cakes;
  • Refined flours – such as white bread;
  • Saturated fats.

Pros and Cons of the Zone diet

The Zone Diet contains a good amount of fruit and vegetables. It is also low in saturated fats which can cause high cholesterol. It also restricts low-nutrition carbohydrates in the form of refined flours.

The Zone Diet also encourages people to exercise. For instance, it advises people to walk at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.

The Zone Diet can be capable of quick, short-term weight loss. It can be a useful diet for those requiring something to start a weight-loss program.

However, the Zone Diet can be complicated to follow, especially with its ratios. It can be difficult and expensive to begin, as you may require a special recipe cookbook, and is sometimes inconvenient.

Some critics, such as the American Heart Association, do not recommend the Zone Diet for weight loss, as they view the Zone Diet as high-protein. The AHA also view the Zone Diet as dangerous because it limits essential vitamins and minerals found in certain foods.

Another issue with the Zone Diet is whether insulin actually plays a part in weight regulation, with some researchers claiming it does not.

Daily and Weekly Zone Diet Plans

This is an example of a daily Zone Diet program:

Breakfast: Cored, cooked apple topped with 4floz of natural, low-fat yogurt.

Lunch: 4oz boneless, skinless chicken with 2 chopped onions, 2oz chickpeas, 4 chopped plum tomatoes, and 8oz chopped spinach.

Dinner: Baked salmon with a fruit mix of 4floz salsa, 4oz blackberries, 1 peeled and diced kiwi fruit and half a diced Granny Smith apple.

Expected Weight Loss on the Zone diet

You can expect to lose around 2-4 pounds a week on the Zone Diet.

Zone Diet Rating

Ease: 2/5 – Not the easiest diet to follow, as it requires a specialized diet.

Balance: 2/5 – Missing some nutrients and as it is high protein, can be unhealthy in the long term.

Maintenance: 2/5 – The low calorie intake can leave you feeling hungry often, and the special recipes required can make the Zone Diet hard to maintain.

Overall: 2/5

More Zone Diet Information

Refer to Formula Zone for more information on the Zone Diet.

If you don't want all the trouble of planning and preparing all your meals according to the correct Zone diet ratios, Zone Diet At Home offers a hassle-free home-delivered meal service.