Zone diet is one of the weight-loss diets, developed by Dr. Barry Sears more than 30 years ago. It helps you to improve your health as well as mental health. This diet is based on strong science to reduce diet- induced inflammation. For the past 25 years, millions of people have been following this zone diet but the question is does the zone diet really delivers the results on the scale and promotes overall health and longevity?
In this article, I will be discussing the zone diet that how it is effective for your health and for your mind.
What is Zone Diet?
Food is like a drug said by Barry Sears, the creator of the Zone diet. You have to take the right dose at the right time. While you are in a Zone diet, you limit the hormone- triggered inflammation that is the major cause of weight gain and premature aging. A combo of high insulin (which has been linked to weight gain and certain cancers) and high omega-6 fatty acids in the body are two culprits that can lead to inflammation, and later, obesity, according to Sears.
Pros of the Zone Diet
Following are some of the benefits of the zone diet:
- It loses excess body fat at the fastest possible rate
- Maintains wellness for a longer period of time
- Performs better
Working of the Zone diet
The zone diet does not exclude any food groups. If you want to reduce fat from the body, you need to reduce inflammation throughout your body. In zone diet, you need to balance your plate at every meal and snack with the following nutrients:
- Protein: 1/3rd of your plate, add some lean protein, about the size and thickness of your palm. This could include egg whites, fish, poultry, lean beef or low- fat dairy.
- Fat: Add a little bit of monounsaturated fat. This could be olive oil, avocadoes, or almonds.
- Carbohydrates: 2/3rd of your plate, add a lot of colorful vegetables and fruits only you need to avoid fruits that are high in sugar like bananas, raisins, etc and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn.
Foods to be added in the Zone Diet
Carbs, proteins, and fat are all allowed on the diet zone, but in very specific ratio. If you are on a zone diet then you are supposed to limit carbohydrates that are high on glycemic index. You have to eat at least every five hour according to the Sear. The foods that have to be included in the zone diet are as follows:
- Certain whole grains: Barley, oatmeal, etc
- Low-sugar fruits and vegetables: apples, berries, broccoli, and kale
- Lean protein: fish, chicken, and egg whites
- Low- fat dairy
- Fish oil, and supplements containing fruits and vegetable extracts.
Foods to be avoided in the Zone Diet
Following are the foods that have to be avoided in the zone diet:
- Processed grainslike white bread, pasta, and rice
- Foods considered high in sugarlike sweeteners, desserts, juice, and certain fruits including bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon, mango, and pineapple
- Starchy vegetableslike corn, peas, and tubers like potatoes
- High-fat and processed proteinslike marbled steaks, hot dogs, and hamburgers
There has been very little research on the Zone Diet, and the small studies that exist don’t live up to all of the diet’s claims of improvements in blood sugar, reduced inflammation, or weight loss. For example, a small 3-week study from 2004 found that people on the Zone Diet showed no added improvement in blood sugar or weight reduction compared with people eating their regular diets.
Admittedly 3 weeks is a short time. However, two other studies found that people who were overweight who followed the Zone Diet for a year did not improve blood sugar levels and only led to only 3.5 pounds in weight loss.
If the Zone Diet fits with your lifestyle, there is no harm in trying it, says Harris-Pincus. However, you may want to alter the diet to leave in healthy carbs like whole grains and fruits or opt for a healthier eating plan that’s actually recommended by experts like the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet.