What Is The ZONE Diet?

The Zone Diet is a popular diet which suggests dieters should eat a fixed ratio of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This diet was proposed by the Long Beach based biochemist, Barry Sears. The Zone Diet is included in the low-carb diet category, such as the Atkins Diet (and sometimes the South Beach Diet).

The Zone Diet proposes a fixed ratio of caloric intake. Your carb, protein and fat intake should be on a 40:30:30 ratio, respectively. This means reducing the percentage of carbohydrates you eat in proportion to the standard intake for most eaters, while increasing your intake of protein. This intake is meant to create a hormonal balance that will aid weight loss, which Mr. Sears calls “the Zone”. Specifically, the ratio of 40-to-30 percent of carbohydrate to protein specifically triggers the hormonal balance, and is therefore referred to as “the zone” or “entering the zone”.

The Zone Diet Method For Weight Loss

The Zone Diet claims that most weight loss methods focus entirely on caloric intake and overemphasize their pet intake method, be it carbs or fats. The Zone Diet theorizes that carbohydrates, proteins and fats are all important, but they should be balanced properly to facilitate the right kind of weight loss. When you hormones (like insulin) are in balance, you body will loss weight quicker and more healthily.

What is the Zone Diet and who are its detractors?


Both doctors and vegatarians have taken shots at the health claims of the Zone Diet. Vegatarians argue against the Zone diet’s focus on protein, while Barry Sears has criticized the Vegatarian and Vegan diets as fueling the body in a less efficient way, because proteins are important to the body’s metabolism.

Doctors, diet experts and medical experts have criticized the high protein intake of the Zone Diet, as well as what they call the “lack of essential nutrients’. Barry Sears claims that the high protein criticisms are inaccurate. Mainstream medical opinion is that hormone balance is not created through caloric intake.

At the same time, medical experts on the Scientific American Frontiers show were surprised to find that the Zone Diet performed better than its competitors in the independent documentary on PBS. The Zone Diet spurred its users on to greater weight loss than other low-carb diets that were in the competition.

The Zone Diet and Anti-Inflammatory Hormones

One reason Barry Sears is confident his program works is his attention to anti-inflammatories. The Zone Diet seeks to regulate insulin levels to your bloodstream, while keeping glucagon low. When these two natural hormones are in balance, the body releases eicosanoids. Eiconsanoids act as an anti-inflammatory in the body in much the same way as aspirin, though without the negative side effects. In effect, regulating the correct ratio of proteins to carbohydrates releases anti-inflammatory hormones which are good for your heart and your general health. Certain doctors have claimed that Barry Sears’ scientific data on such claims is suspect.

In the end, the Zone Diet locks its users into a rigid program of carb, protein and fat intake. You’ll have to be especially fastidious and good at calculating your ratios, though the Zone Diet has show in independent sources that it gets weight off and promotes muscle mass better than the other low-carb diets.