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- What is the Zone diet
- Benefits of the Zone diet
- Why the Zone diet works
- Is the Zone diet good for you
- Cautions for the Zone diet
The Zone diet is another of the popular low carbohydrate diets. It aims to balance the hormonal (ie insulin) response when foods are eaten. The diet is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and moderately high in fat. Meals are divided into the three main meals, plus 2-3 snacks per day. The type of carbohydrates recommended on this diet are low-density and low glycemic. This is to ensure that blood glucose levels and insulin response stay constant throughout the day.
The Zone diet recommends 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat at all meals and snacks.
The Zone diet has no phases - the principles of the diet are started from the first day of the diet.
The Zone diet has fewer dietary restrictions than many other low carbohydrate diets and recommends eating more fruit and vegetables.
A range of supplements are also recommended.
The Zone diet was devised by Dr Barry Sears.
The Zone diet claims to have the following benefits:
- maintain stable blood sugar (and insulin) levels
- have more energy
- lessen cravings for sweet foods and junk foods
- burn excess fat that has been stored in the body
- prevent cardiovascular disease
- lower "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels
- limits salt intake
The Zone diet includes:
- regular meals and snacks ensure that blood sugar levels (and insulin) response are kept steady and regular
- physical activity is recommended, which accelerates weight loss and feelings of well-being
- provides good amounts of essential fatty acids (from olive oil and fish)
- high in unsaturated fats (from regular olive oil and fish consumption)
- processed foods are not recommended in this diet
The views in favour of the diet claim that:
- provides an effective weight loss diet that works
- limitation of very high glycemic foods from the diet is healthy
- provides a way to balance blood sugar (and insulin) levels, so extremely beneficial for diabetics, pre-diabetics and those with Syndrome X
The views against the diet claim that:
- it is high in saturated fats from all the recommended meat consumption
- limiting certain foods is unhealthy as those foods contain very vital nutrients (vitamins and minerals) which are essential to good health - the diet does not allow enough vegetables and fruits
- can be very complicated to work out portion sizes
- time consuming in planning meals and working out portion sizes and cooking
- the high protein load may lead to kidney damage
- Hard to maintain for a long time (not really a lifetime diet plan)
- Extra time required to prepare meals
- Eating out can be difficult
- Supplements need to be purchased
- Expensive if purchasing pre-made Zone diet foods
To try this diet, speak to your medical practitioner or dietician.
To learn more, go to the official Zone diet web site.
- Zone Diet - official Zone Diet web site (accessed 8 January 2007)
- Dr Sears - official web site for Dr Barry Sears (accessed 8 January 2007)
- Sears, Barry PhD, Mastering The Zone, 1997 Harper Collins Publishers
- Sears, Barry PhD, The Zone 1995 Harper Collins Publishers