Friday, September 30, 2011

Lets zone it out!

Polyphenols are what makes the Zone diet by Dr Sears so successful!
In the end this diet plan didn't help me lose any weight. But it was tasty, if a little overpriced for 2 boxes or two weeks of bread and 14 days of omega 3 pills and Polyphenols.

The Debate on the Zone Diet
The Zone Diet has neither been rejected nor endorsed by health organisations. Some health experts see some elements of the Zone Diet as favourable, especially the low-fat content. The ADA (American Dietetic Association) sees the Zone Diet as just another fad diet. Some health experts argue that there are safer diets such as the ‘5 A Day’ program (which encourage people to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables a day).
The Zone Diet: For:
  • The Zone Diet features good amounts of fruits and low starch vegetables and is low in saturated fats;
  • Restricts low nutrition carbohydrates; and
  • If followed correctly allows for steady weight loss.
The Zone Diet: Against
  • Complicated and scientific;
  • Restricts calorie intake means it’s hard to stay on
  • Eliminates some essential vitamins and minerals found in certain founds;
  • Expensive to follow
  • Time consuming and inconvenient

The Basic
Calories are distributed as 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat, and 30% protein at every meal and snack. In contrast, most "healthy diets" recommend calories be distributed as 55-60% carbohydrate, 12-20% protein and 20-30% fat.

How A Person Can Lose Weight On This Diet
Calories eaten must be below calories needed to maintain weight (i.e., low calorie). This is a low calorie diet. The higher protein level of the Zone Diet can also provide more satiety with meals and snacks. High carbohydrate food portions and sweets are restricted, so blood sugar surges after a high carbohydrate meal or sweet do not occur. This also helps control appetite.

Meal Plans
Protein needs are based on your lean muscle mass and physical activity level. Then you divide your protein into blocks, each block of protein equals 7 grams of protein. Once you know the required number of protein blocks you give yourself one carbohydrate and fat block for each protein block. Each meal has the same number of blocks for carbohydrate, protein, and fat. For example, lunch may include 3 blocks of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You must keep this ratio for all meals and snacks. One block of carbohydrates is equal to 7 grams of carbohydrates while one block of fat is 1-½ grams.

Special Concerns
People who engage in endurance exercise are at risk for poor energy levels and muscular fatigue due to an inadequate carbohydrate intake.

The Zone recommends that alcohol may be good for you if taken in moderation (~1 drink per day) preferably red wine.

  • To be in the Zone you need a diet that is exactly 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat, and 30% protein at every meal and snack.
  • Insulin causes people to gain weight.
  • It is easy to lose weight on the Zone diet with "easy" rules.
  • A moderately active, 5-foot, 4-inch woman weighing 125 pounds with 23 percent body fat should eat just 775 calories per day.


  • Promotes eating fat and protein in the diet.
  • Addresses the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Recommends exercise in combination with diet for weight loss.
  • Recommends snacking throughout the day.
  • Promotes low-fat protein foods.


  • Limits many grains (pastas, cereal, breads, potatoes), fruits (bananas and orange juice), and vegetables (carrots and sweet potatoes).
  • Complicated rules govern the diet. Dieters must calculate protein requirements based on complex charts and tables. Must also follow the "macronutrient block method" to determine how many "blocks" to eat per day and when to eat them.
  • Strict, controlled diet which does not work for the fast-paced lifestyles of today.
  • Recommends that for the average person a Zone-favorable diet should contain no more than 800 to 1,200 calories a day.
  • Food is treated like a medical prescription. "You must treat food as if it were a drug. You must eat food in a controlled fashion in the proper proportions- as if it were an intravenous drip."


  • Excess calories cause weight gain not specific carbohydrates.
  • Not one of the studies that Sears conducted to prove his diet works has been published.
  • Diets recommending less than 800 calories may be dangerous and should be medically supervised.
  • Anyone on a low-calorie diet is likely to lose weight.
  • May impair athletic performance.


What You Can Eat on The Zone Diet

The Zone diet does not recommend that you eat fewer calories than you're currently consuming, just different ones. Although the book has a more complicated and exacting measurement of what to eat, it can be simplified as:
  • A small amount of protein at every meal (approximately the size of your palm or one small chicken breast) and at every snack (one in the late afternoon, one in the late evening)
  • "Favorable" carbohydrates twice the size of the protein portion -- these include most vegetables and lentils, beans, whole grains, and most fruits
  • A smaller amount of carbohydrates if you have chosen "unfavorable" ones -- these include brown rice, pasta, papaya, mango, banana, dry breakfast cereal, bread, bagel, tortilla, carrots, and all fruit juices.
Dairy products are not verboten, but The Zone diet devotes little time to them, except to explain how quickly they release glucose. Sears prefers egg whites and egg substitutes to whole eggs, and low-fat or no-fat cheeses and milk.

The Zone diet keeps saturated fats to a minimum but includes olive, canola, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Certain unfavorable carbohydrates are restricted because they release glucose quickly: grains, breads, pasta, rice, and other similar starches, a deviation from conventional definitions of a good diet. Overall, the diet is higher in protein and fat than traditional diets, which would have us eat nearly three-quarters of all calories as carbohydrates.
Sears is fairly rigid about the amount of protein/fat/carbohydrate each of us needs, and takes the reader through a short course in determining our protein need, based on size, age, and activity, which then determines the amount of fats and carbohydrates we should be eating.
Happily for those of us who would be depressed at the thought of forgoing desserts for the rest of our lives, his list of allowable foods includes, among others, high-fat ice cream. Why high-fat? Because the fat retards the rate of absorption of carbohydrate into the body, according to Sears. Alas, the recommended portion is a mere half-cup.

Food For Thought

The 40-30-30 ratio of The Zone diet applies to all meals all the time, and a broad range of foods are allowed, so there are no confusing schedules or conditions that need to be memorized. Though dieters should find it easy to follow, nutritionists give The Zone diet mixed reviews.

Pros: great idea for healthy bodies.
Cons: Nothing everyone shouldn't already know.
The Zone Diet is pretty muck just a book that will tell you what you should already know. Eat right and exercise. 


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