Enter “The Zone” and you can delay early signs of aging, enhance brain power, and lose weight permanently – according to Dr. Barry Sears, creator of The Zone Diet. One of the most popular diets in the mid 90s, The Zone boasts famous followers including Jennifer Anniston, Demi Moore, and Sandra Bullock, all touting the miraculous slimming powers of the low-carb plan. The theory behind the diet is that by consuming the perfect ratio of carbs, fats and proteins—40:30:30—we turn out bodies into fat burning machines. The Zone Diet plan invites both praise and criticism among nutritionists, but when it comes to long-term weight loss, can it be considered one of the proven diets that work?
The Zone Diet theory
Dr. Sears claims that excess insulin – the hormone that helps regulate our blood sugar levels – is responsible for weight gain. People who ascribe to the The Zone Diet theory are trying to control their hormones through dietary measures in an effort to stay in tip-top shape and prevent those extra pounds from creeping up. Sears also contends that the diet can help ward off high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, and that by eating the correct ratio of foods we can prevent the body from developing serious illnesses. In order to reach this “Zone,” every meal must provide 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 30 percent from proteins.
What can I eat on The Zone Diet?
The Zone Diet typically recommends a total of 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,500 for men. Followers will eat five times a day: three meals and two snacks. While Dr. Sears’ book, Enter The Zone, has detailed information on how to achieve the ideal 40:30:30 ratio on your plate.
Zone dieters can expect the following:
- Healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains, lentils and beans (twice the amount of the protein portion)
- Limited amount of carbs like pasta, brown rice, bread, cereal, tortillas, fruit and fruit juices
- Lean protein (such as chicken breast, fish or turkey) at every meal and at each snack
The intake of saturated fats is limited, but Zone Diet recipes allow for heart-healthy foods like olive oil, nuts and avocados. Comfort foods such as pasta, rice, and breads are considered unfavorable as they are starches that break down quickly, spiking glucose levels. No food is strictly forbidden, but dieters are urged to stay away from fatty meats, egg yolks, and most processed foods.
The Zone Diet menu
Zone Diet recipes can be found online, and feature dishes like Chicken Waldorf Salad, Asparagus Quiche and Mexican Black Bean Stew. Here’s a sample of a daily menu in the Zone:
- 6-egg-white omelet with asparagus and 2 tsp. of olive oil
- 2/3 cup oatmeal
- 1 cup berries
- Grilled chicken salad with 3 oz. of chicken breast, olive oil, and vinegar dressing
- Fresh fruit
- ¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese
- ½ cup pineapple
- 1 tsp. chopped almonds
- 5 oz. salmon with a tablespoon of almonds
- 2 cups steamed vegetables
- Cup of fresh berries
- 1 oz. cheese
- 8 oz. red wine
Zone Diet reviews
At its core, the Zone Diet is a restricted-calorie plan and followers will likely drop weight for this reason alone. Fans say the diet promotes good eating habits, with plenty of heart-healthy choices, but is it easy to follow? The key to Zone meal preparation is ensuring the right amounts of carbs, protein, and fats in each dish. To make this simpler, Sears’ book outlines Zone “food blocks,” but some say this makes meal preparation even more complicated. Critics also argue that planning meals around the Zone ratio can be time consuming, especially when you’re dining out. Dieters have the option of purchasing pre-packaged Zone Diet foods that can be delivered to your home for about $50 day – a convenient but expensive luxury.
The bottom line on long-term weight loss
While The Zone Diet may work for many people, for others it turns mealtimes into complex chores as they struggle to achieve the perfect 40-30-30 ratio. If you’ve tried all the latest diets but are still battling the bulge, it may be time to consider the benefits of physician-assisted weight loss – one of the most proven methods for dropping excess pounds and keeping them off for good. With more than 450 locations nationwide, The Center for Medical Weight Loss offers individualized programs that cater to your needs, your lifestyle and your goals. With the assistance of their health experts, who will design a custom program that incorporates a balanced diet with moderate exercise and personal counseling, you can become their next weight loss success story.
Get started today by contacting the Center nearest you – just enter your information in the box at top right. Special introductory offers are available for first-time customers in most locations.