The Zone Diet is a nutritional plan created in 1995 by a biochemist named Dr. Barry Sears. Sears argues that US growing obesity problem stems from hormonal imbalance that after eating too many sugars and refined carbohydrates, people develop insulin resistance that causes the body to store fat. The “Zone” is what Sears calls it ideal hormonal balance, where energy, performance and mental clarity is at its highest. To “go into the Zone,” Sears prescribes that the diet should contain 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 30 percent protein.
Dieters should eat within an hour of waking up, and eat at least once every five hours. . In Sears’ plan, this means three meals and two snacks per day. Dieters should also drink eight cups of water a day and exercise as often as possible. Sears says that after 40:30:30 ratio and eat Zone approved foods will lead to more weight loss than following a diet based on willingness and calorie restriction.
The Zone Diet utilizes glycemic index, a measure of the effect different foods have on blood sugar. Foods with high glycemic index most breads, rice, sweets, fruit and potatoes-are strictly limited. Foods with a low glycemic index-egg whites, lean poultry, nuts, seafood, vegetables and low-fat dairy-encouraged
Meals in Zone plan should be around or under 500. calories, snacks should be around or under 100 calories. Both should contain a portion or “block” of protein and carbohydrate. In a sample zone menu, breakfast would include a large portion of egg whites and a small portion of oatmeal and strawberries. Lunch would be a salad with chicken breast, tomato and a small amount of olive oil dressing.
Advantages and disadvantages
Unlike many other fad diets of the 1990s, the Zone Diet does not prohibit carbohydrates, and thus has been touted as a more sustainable, moderate lifestyle plan. However, the plan limit carbohydrates, and any reduction in carbohydrates will likely lower the dieter energy level. In addition, the Zone Diet is much higher in protein than the average American meal plan, and dieters should always eat protein and carbohydrates relative-prescribed “blocks.” Therefore, eating in restaurants is difficult for dieters.
Dr. Sears’ first book, “Enter the Zone,” has sold more than 4 million copies, and he has since published 10 books on diet his plan. A man named Manuel Uribe, who weighed just over 1200 pounds in its heaviest, used the Zone Diet to lose more than 400 pounds per April 2008. Celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Aniston reportedly followed the Zone diet.