by Babs ‘O’ Reilly
(Miami Beach, Florida, USA)
The Zone diet was developed in the mid-1990s and popularized by Hollywood celebrities. The diet itself focuses on “eating healthy” by restricting the amount of unhealthy fats and balancing the amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
The diet can be characterized by the phrase “40:30:30.” This ratio refers to the ratio of carbohydrates to protein to fat that one should consume at every meal, according to the Zone diet founder, Barry Sears.
The Zone diet is based upon Sears’ claim that the body increases its storage of fat because of increased amounts of insulin in the body, and that controlling the amount of insulin will ultimately allow one to lose weight.
The science behind the diet requires a certain amount of understanding of the human body and is quite complicated for the average person. However, despite Sears’ claims, there has been no research studies completed showing the diet’s science is correct.
Logically, when portions of one’s meals are controlled, one should be able to lose weight. In the Zone diet, carbohydrates consist mostly of fruits and vegetables, versus refined sugar, bread, pasta, etc. In this way, the Zone diet is relatively healthy.
It promotes the consumption of lean white meat, such as chicken breast or turkey, and healthy saturated fats like olive oil. According to the diet, you should implement the 40:30:30 equation at every meal. That means you should have lean meat at every meal, along with healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruit.
Health experts and nutritionists do not necessarily dispute the Zone diet’s ability to help one lose weight; however, they are skeptical about the science behind the diet, and, in particular, its claim that insulin is the leading factor in the body’s storage of excess fat.
They are also wary of the amount of time and planning that must go into following the Zone diet. As a franchise, to be “in the Zone,” one must follow certain food guidelines, and this requires books, scales, and sometimes even pre-packaged Zone diet foods.
Also, there is little leeway in eating out or being able to throw together a quick snack. Furthermore, the Zone diet excludes whole-grain foods, which are good for you.
In the end, the Zone diet works because it limits one’s calorie intake and focuses on eating healthy foods in controlled portions. This is a key part of weight loss and maintaining one’s health. But that does not mean that the diet is easy to follow, or cheap for that matter.