What is Zone Diet?
A Time of Traditional Eating
Long ago, when people mostly ate meat, fruits, and vegetables, strength and vitality peaked. No grains and no bad carbs.
Within its zone, only meat, fruit, and veggies are allowed. This diet comprises 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat and is known as “The 40-30-30 Diet”.
Dr. Barry Sears is the founder of this diet and he believed in the concept that it is the solution to diseases with disturbance in insulin levels.
He claimed that Insulin is the answer to a healthier and fit body. By maintaining its normal level, we can achieve a healthy lifestyle.
He made a proportion that for every 1 gram of Fat, there should be 2 grams of Protein and 3 Grams of Carbohydrates.
This diet is also recommended for diabetics and individuals with cardiovascular risk. It helps to regulate blood glucose levels and promotes weight loss.
The diet aims to consume low-glycemic index food items and low-fat protein.
This food distribution will help the insulin levels be at a normal level. Disrupted levels of insulin are linked to inflammation, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
What are the foods inside the Zone?
The zone diet plan comprises fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, and almonds.
Fruits include berries, mangoes, grapes, and apples, all high in vitamins and minerals.
Starchy vegetables are removed, and we will focus on green leafy, eggplant, tomatoes, and those that are not included in grains and rice.
Dr. Sears wants to build up a meal plan that will not produce too many calories. In Nutritional Biochemistry, excess calories in the body are converted into body fat.
So, people who are obese and overweight will gain the advantage of balancing meals with the help of a zone diet.
This also helps those who have problems with their cravings as this diet is high in satiety levels. It will help an individual control their hunger and will make them full as they follow this kind of diet.
Plenty of recipes can follow the zone diet; some are available on the internet, while other recipes can be given by their Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.
Before following this kind of diet, always make sure to seek the help of your Physician or Registered Dietitian to know the effects that it can have.
Compared to other diets like Atkins, Paleo, and Mediterranean diets, the Zone diet can introduce starchy vegetables in the long run and it focuses on Non-Starchy Vegetables, Fruits, and Low Fat Lean Meat.
What does science think?
Based on the study conducted by Marlyn Damiano of Rowan University Entitled “Is the Zone Diet Safe, Effective and Practical for Everyone in 2015, she concluded, “People with Chronic Conditions such as renal disease, liver disease, and other cardiovascular diseases may not benefit from a diet like this due to a load of protein being processed by the body as suggested by the Chair of the Nutrition Committee at the American Heart Association in the article by Chambers (2002).
Performance athletes would not benefit from this diet either due to reduced energy through carb-cutting (Cheuvront, 1999).
The only study discussed that showed a positive outcome was with overweight or obese premenopausal women who showed no loss in Micronutrients while on a diet (Gardner et al., 2010).
Productive traits of the Zone diet are as follows: The Zone Diet features good amounts of fruits and low starch vegetables and is low in saturated fats (balanced diet), provides anti-inflammatory health benefits, restricts low nutrition carbohydrates, and if followed correctly allows for steady weight loss (Sears 2015) (Harvard Medical School, 2007) (Healthy weight forum, 2003/2013)”, Marlyn Damiano quoted.
Marlyn Damiano used male and female subjects aged 18 to 99 years old from different occupations, ethnicities, health levels, and education levels.
The study included them because they are legally consenting adults who may or may not be candidates for this diet. The results of the survey showed the following:
Based on Familiarity, the chart shows that 30% of participants have little idea about the Zone Diet because of acquaintances and the internet but would not like to follow the Zone Diet.
In the means of safety, 30% felt the Zone diet was extremely safe and 70% felt it was moderately safe for them.
60% felt it provided a good balance for nutritional purposes. 20% felt there should be adjustments per individual fitness goal and 10% are unsure about the Zone Diet.
When it comes to the effectiveness of the diet, the study showed 30% as extremely effective for the subjects, 60% rated as moderately effective, and 10% as not effective at all.
This data, based on the study of Marlyn Damiano 2015, from Rowan University, showed enough evidence that people react differently to the Zone diet needs more studies regarding differences in nationality and ethnic groups to show the accuracy and effectiveness of how the Zone Diet will react on the body of a person.
But it significantly showed that some individuals reacted positively to the effect of The Zone Diet on their health, and some noted that it had not shown enough effect that they felt positive, and some did not claim any positive health effect at all.
The Zone Diet limits itself to people with terminal diseases and those currently undergoing medications and therapy. It just showed the positive and beneficial effect on obese people, proving that it is effective in losing weight.
The fat in the body is burned down through proper exercise and usage of the Zone Diet. Proper awareness of Nutrition and a Balanced Diet to provide a significant effect on one’s health.