The Zone diet has become quite popular since it was first released. Over the years, even a few celebrities and Olympic athletes have sworn by its effectiveness. So, what’s with all the hype? Have the creators behind this program truly found something more efficient for dieters?
Let’s discuss this diet’s claims in detail and dissect its recommendation based on current research. You then can decide if it’s the solution you have been looking for.
What is the Zone Diet and it's Claims?
This diet says that it will increase the energy of people and have them feeling more alert and refreshed than traditional diets. The Zone diet tells its users to retrain their metabolism by changing their diet to 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates.
The material that comes with the Zone diet says that this type of diet will turn back heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. On top of this, it is also stated that this diet is good for sports people and will increase their athletic performance.
The author claims that the current thinking on diets is flawed. He says that a diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat is the wrong answer for most people. He contends that this style of diet has contributed to the risk of serious conditions such as those mentioned earlier.
The diet was designed to combat these issues and to reverse the trend. As a former scientist, the author uses a lot of theory in order to prove his assertions. One of the primary issues centers on how the Zone diet is a “metabolic state in which the body works at peak efficiency”. This peak state is reached by eating the right quantity of carbohydrates, fat and proteins.
The Zone Diet Recommendations
The Zone diet does not actually recommend a lower calorie diet. It gives precise outlines for each meal. It tells you what foods to eat and in what ratio.
For example, inside each meal you are instructed to eat a small amount of protein, about the size of your palm. The best types of carbohydrates are said to be vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains. The serving size at each meal should be twice that of the protein ratio.
If you have chosen the “unfavorable” carbohydrates, then you need to consume a smaller amount. The unfavorable carbohydrates are pasta, rice, papaya, mango, banana, dry breakfast cereal, bread, carrots and all fruit juices.
Dairy products are not highly thought of on the Zone diet as they are said to release glucose too quickly. If you are going to eat dairy, then you are told to eat egg whites, and low fat cheese or milk.
The Zone Diet Theory
The theory of the diet is that it will control the body’s production of insulin. Insulin is used by the body to regulate the storage of excess fat as energy. The goal of the ratio of foods in this diet is to maintain a balance between fat storing insulin and the hormone glucagon.
Maintaining this balance is done by the portion sizes of the foods eaten. As such this helps to control the hormones.
The Zone Diet & Research
Based on the research that I read, there were no specific benefits for dieters even when their plans were different in protein, fat or carbs. Compliance to a reduction in overall calories, rather than manipulating nutrient ratios, appears to the most important factor for weight loss. For example, a person will achieve weight loss if they are in a calorie deficit, regardless if they are eating 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbs.
In actuality, the Zone diet can work for you, however, based on the research, it’s because you will be reducing the calories consumed daily and eating a healthier diet. Not due to adjustments in ratios and numbers.
What We Can’t Do For You
We may not be for you. We do not believe in any diet “system” that makes the same recommendations to all. People are different and so should be their fitness and nutrition plans. We are a team of certified fitness and nutrition experts. We create plans that are customized based on our client’s lifestyle and individual needs.
Matthew Johnson (Google+) is a certified personal trainer, nutrition expert and an on-line fitness consultant that started ChangingShape.com back in 2001.