REVIEW - THE ZONE DIET
diet review by Auraion Rasmussen
basis for the Zone diet, by Barry Sears, Ph.D. is that if a person
eats the correct ratio of carbohydrate to protein to fat (40/30/30),
s/he will improve his or her health, weight, and athletic performance,
because certain hormones will be balanced and therefore in the preferred
"zone." The hormones he focuses on are insulin (necessary
for glucose to enter our cells) and eicosanoids (hormone-like substances
that regulate inflammation. Some eicosanoids are by-products of
Dr. Sears is one of the world's leading researchers on the hormonal
effects of food. His decades of work and findings have been compiled
into an easy-to-follow program – the Zone Diet. It isn't complicated
at all, and it will absolutely change your life.
Sears alleges that the American public is overweight due to a high
intake of carbohydrates, and that this style of eating causes an
over-production of insulin. In addition to causing weight gain,
excess insulin leads to an imbalance in eicosanoids that he links
to other aspects of ill health, such as heart disease, cancer, and
arthritis, among others. The solution, Dr. Sears offers, is to eat
a lower carb, higher protein, and moderate fat diet to balance these
hormones within the preferred "zone."
key is managing insulin levels through a delicious and fulfilling
diet. As a result, you will lose weight, burn fat, control hunger
and fatigue, and feel healthier. On the Zone Diet you’ll learn
the importance of meal timing for keeping your blood sugar balanced.
You’ll eat five times a day — three meals and two snacks
— so you’ll never feel deprived! Each delicious meal
and snack will have the right combination of low-fat protein, favorable
carbohydrates (like fruits and vegetables), and a dash of "good"
fat to keep your hormones balanced. Dr. Sears’ program also
includes easy exercise recommendations, daily fish oil supplements,
and stress-management techniques to help you get deeper into the
Zone — and stay there.
Method: Block method. 1 carb block = 9g carbohydrates, 1 protein
block = 7g protein (absolutely no fat), 1 fat block = 3g fat ……
however, since most meats (even lean cuts) tend to have some fat
"hanging around", he recommends assuming that your protein
source already has 1.5g fat. Therefore 1 fat block = 1.5g fat.
menu: An average meal for a woman with average activity levels is
a 3 block meal. You would have 3 carb blocks (e.g. 1c green beans
[1block] and 1 apple [2blocks), 3 protein blocks (e.g. 3oz. of chicken),
and 3 fat blocks (e.g. cook your chicken in 1tsp. of olive oil [3blocks]).
only change you make is to add more fat when you are in maintenance
to prevent you from continual loss. Otherwise, you eat the same
from the beginning….i.e. there is no induction phase.
the numbers: : 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat
It encourages its followers to eat often throughout the day —
at least every five hours.
- It eliminates foods many people overeat, such as sweets, chips,
certain starches, and, junk food.
- It concentrates on including a number of healthful foods —
low glycemic fruits and grains, vegetables, lean proteins, and monounsaturated
and omega-3 fats.
- The Zone diet works for its followers because it is actually a
low calorie diet. For instance, the sample meal plans for an average
woman totaled approximately 1200 - 1300 calories per day. Most women
would lose weight at this level of caloric intake, regardless of
the source(s) of these calories.
of the references quoted, backing these conclusions, have ever been
published, and the book does not contain a reference section or
- with such low intakes of complex carbohydrates, it appears that
Sears' recommended diet would be deficient in vegetables, fruits,
and whole grains, and would contain inadequate fiber. Adding insult
to injury, this level of protein consumption may promote calcium
loss and osteoporosis.
- ignorance to the importance of diet that is rich in vegetables.
Since vegetables decreases the risk of various diseases like heart
attacks and blood pressures and also helps to keep the skin fresh
with out storing extra calories and fats on the body to increase
the body weight.
- The diet does not necessarily lead to more efficient fat burning,
nor is there evidence that it lives up to his claims of reduced
incidence of disease. Testimonials are not proof, nor are they a
substitute for scientific research. The studies he does refer to
regarding athletic performance don't meet the standards of high
quality, respected research, because no control group was included
in their study design.