The Zone aims to decrease body weight by training the body to burn its fat reserves by entering “The Zone”.
Who Created The Zone Diet
The Zone Diet was created by Barry Sears, Ph.D., a biochemist who created a diet that aims to help the body lose fat, not water weight. Unlike other diets that promise pounds will come off in the first week, the Zone promise a pound will come off—but a pound of fat.
How Many Times Do You Eat On The Zone Diet?
This diet looks like a regular meal plan; it allows three meals and 2 snacks daily. Each meal should contain a low-fat protein such as fish or skinless chicken, good carbohydrates hailing from vegetables or fruits, and healthy fats that come from sources such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
What Can You Eat On The Zone Diet?
Generally speaking, this diet is considered a low carb diet and highly processed carbs such as white bread, traditional pasta, cookies, and crackers are out.
Other foods that are eliminated are those naturally high in sugar such as carrots, corn, raisins, and bananas. Foods naturally high in bad fats such as red meat and egg yolks are additionally out. However, this leaves plenty of foods in the acceptable column.
How Many Calories Can You Have On The Zone Diet?
While calories are not counted in this diet, the goal is to stay within the targeted range for your gender. For women, that means eating 1,200 calories or less each day; men can enjoy 1,500 calories or less.
Although calories are not specifically counted, portions of food types are. Each meal should consist of 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% good fats.
As stated before, the protein should come from lean meats or meat alternatives such as soy or other legumes, and carbohydrates should come mainly from fruits and vegetables or whole grain sources.
How Does The Zone Diet Weight Loss Plan Work?
Followers of this diet are typically successfully because they can choose the foods they eat, and how to prepare them. Beginning the Zone Diet may be moderately difficult beyond avoiding the “bad foods” list because there are several rules to follow to jumpstart your body into the fat burning zone.
Ensuring that the 30%-40%-30% rule is followed each meal is important, but so is tracking when an individual eats. According to this diet plan, a person should eat within an hour of waking and eat at least every five hours to keep the metabolism working optimally.
This includes eating a snack just before going to bed to ensure that the metabolism fires are stoked and working while you sleep.
The Zone Diet is friendly for those with dietary restrictions. Vegetarians or vegans can easily replace lean meat proteins with plant-based alternatives such as tofu or bean-based dishes.
This diet can also be modified for those with gluten sensitivities as well.
Zone Diet Typical Meal Plan
A typical breakfast on the Zone Diet could include an egg white omelet with spinach and fresh herbs or a smoothie made from kale, avocado, and blueberries with your choice of protein powder (smoothies are also an approved mid-day snack to curb hunger or cravings).
Lunch could consist of whole wheat pasta or pasta made from beans or edamame, with in-season veggies and the flaked fish of your choice.
A typical dinner could include a salmon filet with avocado salsa paired with roasted veggies.
Snacks can include a wide variety of options such as a ¼ cup of cottage cheese with fresh berries, trail mix, cheese cubes paired with fresh fruit or vegetables, or an olive mix.
What Are The Benefits / Pros of The Zone Diet?
A pro to this diet is its success; if you’re not a natural chef, you can now purchase Zone Diet approved meals from the diet’s website. There are also cookbooks to help prepare food approved meals.
The official Zone Diet website also provides helpful tools for participants including food journals, grocery lists, and a variety of recipes to keep meals interesting.
Treating yourself to any meal out isn’t a no-go on this diet. In fact, many restaurant meals meet the 30%-40%-30% rule quite often. This diet also recommends both aerobic and strength training exercises while on the diet.
Guidelines recommend 30 minutes of any type of aerobic exercises such as walking or Zumba and at least 10-15 minutes of daily strength training.
What Are The Risks of The Zone Diet?
Detractors of this diet claim that its protein levels may endanger people who suffer from kidney disease or other ailments.
Participants need to clearly understand the difference between good and bad fats; increasing the wrong kind (using vegetable oil instead of olive oil for example) could increase cholesterol levels, which could lead to a variety of health issues including heart disease.
This diet calls for a near complete exclusion of all processed foods which may initially be hard for people to follow.
The food preparation can also be time-consuming and costly since all meals and snacks should be prepared at home with minimal seasonings.
How Much Weight Do People Lose On The Zone Diet?
To date, there is no scientific proof that a certain ratio of foods can trigger the body into solely burning stored fat; however weight loss is often a result of following this diet—most likely because calories are restricted and food selection for each meal improves, as does water consumption.
The typical weight loss results on the Zone Diet are approximately 1 to 2 pounds per week on the diet. Anecdotal evidence supports followers’ ability to lose weight and keep it off, as well as maintaining their desired weight while following this diet.