Obesity Fad Diets Zone

The Zone® diet plan claims to boost metabolism while reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

While many Zone® diet reviews express doubts about the science behind the diet plan, this approach can work for people willing to carefully plan Zone® diet meals.

Defining the Zone®

The Zone® diet suggests people are genetically predisposed to gaining weight, and that the modern diet’s focus on carbohydrates — especially refined carbohydrates — feeds that genetic tendency. Zone® diet plan proponents claim the body has an optimum metabolic rate, which can be reached by eating the correct amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This optimal state is “the Zone®.”

A Zone® Diet Meal

A Zone® diet meal follows a set formula:

  • 40 percent carbohydrates
  • 30 percent fat
  • 30 percent protein.

This formula is lower in carbohydrates than the 50 to 60 percent carbohydrates most people eat, but more generous than many low-carb diets.

As a general rule, a Zone® diet meal includes a piece of protein the size of a person’s palm accompanied by twice the amount of complex carbohydrates (such as most vegetables or fruit, whole grains and beans). Certain foods are completely forbidden.

The Zone® diet advocates eating on a set schedule of small meals and snacks, even when not hungry. In theory, this keeps a person’s metabolism in the Zone®.

Pros and Cons of the Zone® Diet

Zone® diet reviews give this weight-loss approach mixed scores. Critics argue that the science behind the diet is seriously flawed, exaggerating or distorting available knowledge about genetics, obesity and weight gain.

On the other hand, a diet high in fruits and vegetable instead of processed carbohydrates can result in weight loss and other health benefits. Following the diet closely also results in reduced calorie consumption, which may be too low for people who lead active lifestyles. If you’re following the Zone® diet, you’ll want to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Zone® Diet Calculator

Calculating the “30-30-40” portions can be challenging. Many websites offer Zone® diet calculators that help people determine which foods to eat to maintain this protein/fat/carbohydrate ratio.

A Zone® diet calculator may not be strictly necessary. While the diet is complex, eating the recommended amounts (a palm-sized piece of protein and double the amount of complex carbs) will cut calories and promote weight loss. For people determined to follow the diet closely, however, a Zone® diet calculator is a valuable tool.

Does the Zone® Diet Work?

Many people do lose weight on the Zone® diet. The need to calculate the 30-30-40 portions puts some people off, as does the long list of forbidden foods. A certain amount of determination is required to stay on the Zone®, but for some people, the commitment can result in weight loss.

Resources

Every Diet. (2010). Zone diet. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www.everydiet.org/diet/zone-diet.

Go Ask Alice. (2009). The zone diet. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0924.html.

Medical News Today. (2009). What is the zone diet? What are the benefits of the zone diet? Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7382.php.

Zone® Diet. (n.d.). Why it works. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www.zonediet.com/WeightLoss/WhyItWorks/tabid/247/Default.aspx.