Rating the Zone Diet: Advantages and Disadvantages
The Zone Diet, created by Dr. Barry Sears, is based around consumption of the correct ratio of carbs, fats, and protein. According to Dr. Sears, sticking to the pre-calculated ratios will help to control insulin levels, which in turn will speed up the fat burning process within our bodies.
The theory behind this diet is that the daily calorie intake should be split into a 40/30/30 ratio. This means that 40% of the daily calorie intake should be made up of carbohydrates, 30% of the daily calorie intake should be made up of protein, and the remaining 30% should be made up of fat. The amount of food eaten is also an important factor in this diet, and dieters are encouraged to carefully assess and monitor their food portions.
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The Zone Diet also allows for two snacks per day. Dr Sears' book on this diet gives a listing of foods that can be enjoyed, both at mealtimes and as snacks.
Although this diet does not cut out carbohydrates, it demands that the 40% of carbohydrate-rich foods that are consumed each day are 'healthy' carbs such as those found in fruit and vegetables. Bread and pasta lovers will be disappointed to know that the diet does involve avoiding starchy carbohydrates such as those found in bread and pasta.
Like many other similar diets that involve a massive reduction in a certain food groups, this diet by default ends up robbing dieters of some valuable vitamins and minerals that are healthy and good for us. Also by default, calorie intake is reduced whilst on this diet and this is possibly the main cause of the weight loss rather than the 40/30/30 ratio.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to the Zone Diet, a few of which are listed below. Advantages include:
The diet teaches good eating habits such as portion control and sugar reduction
The diet does allow for a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet
Dieters report that cravings for processed carbs begin to disappear after a few days
This diet can help with rapid weight loss for a special occasionf
...although rapid weight loss
is listed as an advantage, most habitual dieters will know that rapid weight loss is often swiftly followed by rapid weight gain!
On the other hand, disadvantages to this diet include:
Rapid weight loss: although this is also listed as an advantage, most habitual dieters will know that rapid weight loss is often swiftly followed by rapid weight gain!
This diet is not practical for many people, and some report that it is difficult to
fit around their lifestyles
This diet can be expensive to follow
The restrictions on this diet involve cutting out some valuable vitamins and
This diet can be very time consuming
One of the advantages of the Zone Diet is that, unlike some of the other fad diets, it does allow for some carbohydrate intake in the eating plan even if it does place restrictions in terms of the type of car-rich foods that are eaten. For dieters that thrive on carbohydrates, this is good news. It means that they can continue to consume reduced levels of carbohydrate at every meal.
However, reviews from many people that have been on this diet relate mainly to the time and effort involved in working out portions and ratios. It seems that this diet is time consuming and not really practical for people who lead busy lifestyles. Jan Mcbride, M.D., who published a scientific analysis of this diet, stated that: "...the Zone formula is extremely complicated."
This diet could be ideal for those people who are allergic to grains, wheat, or yeast. Because the nature of the diet involves cutting out these food groups anyway, sufferers of allergies to them will be able to diet with confidence in the knowledge that the recipes and meal suggestions will not include things like bread and pasta.
However, an adverse reaction to fruits (such as citrus fruit) is not uncommon, and as stated previously this diet is rich in both fruit and vegetables. It is therefore worth having tests to identify any potential food allergies such as allergies to fruit or vegetables, prior to starting this diet.
By identifying any allergies, dieters will be able to eliminate food from their diets accordingly. By doing this, their eating plan will be far more effective and will have no adverse effect on their health. This diet, as with all diets, can be greatly enhanced by ensuring that the foods that are right for your body are included in meal plans rather than ones that may make the plan ineffective or even be harmful.