Get In The Zone – The Zone Diet

December 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Diet Reviews

The Zone diet is another diet that works by assigning limits to different food groups, meaning that the dieter needs to prioritize and balance their eating habits.

It differs somewhat from diets such as the Atkins and GI diets in that certain foods are not strictly proscribed or discouraged, but instead a quota is assigned based on which out of three different groups they fall into, or more accurately which of three “zones” the foods take their calories from. The “Zones” are essentially three different nutritional values, all of which play a part in dieting at some level. The three selected zones are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The diet was developed by the Californian biochemist Barry Sears, after he became aware that the men in his family were disproportionately prone to heart attacks. Fearful that he would die from an attack like his male relatives, Sears drew on his knowledge to create a diet that would significantly reduce all risk factors and allow him to break the tragic cycle.

The diet that he created is based on a ratio or quota system which recommends that the adherent takes their calories from carbs, protein and fat, with a percentage value assigned to each. Specifically, 40% of calories should come from carbohydrates, with 30% each coming from the other “zones” – thus no one source has a dominance and the dieter can benefit from a balanced diet.

Independent studies comparing different diets have reported that as far as set diets go, the Zone has a high success rate, with weight loss being significant but measured, and fat loss being accompanied by a simultaneous gain of muscle mass. Additionally the adverse effects reported most often by dieters, such as fatigue and hunger, were rarer than with other diet plans and, where they were reported, greatly reduced.

Conversely there are those who point out that little study has been done into the long term effects of the diet, and that it over-emphasizes protein in a person’s diet – which critics say could be more likely to cause heart attacks than prevent them.

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